The soccer mom was an explicitly political creation — a supposed swing voter in the 1996 election. The Times published at least four articles on soccer moms in 1996 alone. The Boston Globe declared it “The Year of the Soccer Mom.” The Associated Press named her a top trend of the year.
"It would have been easier to honor Fox’s stories, maybe, if she’d framed herself as a devastated victim. But she told her stories the way she told all the others: with confidence, as jokes. Fox’s legendary “unlikability” was not just the result of her criticizing powerful men, it also stemmed from the way she confounded then-popular ideas about womanhood. She threw people off because as much as she physically resembled the cheesy, lad-mag sex symbol, she was more interested in making fun of that ideal than living up to it."
Women gain legislative power the same way anyone else does — by getting as many seats in the legislature as we need to make things happen. If that sounds overly ambitious, ruthless, individualistic (even though it is, by definition, the opposite of an individualistic endeavor) that’s only because we’ve been raised in a culture where women are discouraged from attempting any direct access to power.
In the #MeToo era, the call to believe women has become ubiquitous. It’s used, quite rightfully, in the context of sexual assault and harassment, where our tendency to dismiss women’s accounts of the harm they’ve suffered can give active cover to rapists and harassers. But our tendency to dismiss female survivors springs from a broader cultural tendency to find women’s voices less credible and less authoritative than men’s. We don’t just disbelieve women about rape, we disbelieve them about everything, up to and including their own bodies.
For equality to happen, we have to rebalance the scales, which means more women calling the shots—telling their own stories, controlling the narrative, joining and, yes, even dominating the conversation. After all, the problem isn’t that we don’t know women exist. The problem is that women’s lives and worth are still controlled and defined by men. It’s men who decide which issues matter, who counts as a “great artist,” whose story is worth listening to.