Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

24 November 2009

Oh WaPo, you got me good.

Yes, I entered the Washington Post's Next Great Pundit contest. I cobbled together a piece about adoption, abortion, feminism and my undying love for Dawn Friedman. Then Latinos in America was on and I sent in an entry about how much I did not appreciate that series. I knew it was a publicity sontest for WaPo, but the fact that they excluded already published op-ed'ers made me believe I had a decent shot.

When I saw that the ten finalists were 5 men and 5 women, I was fairly happy. Four of the dudes appeared to be white. Strike. The women seemed fairly diverse in ethnicity as well as kinda age. Althou someone on one of the many listservs I'm on said they felt the candidates skewed young. Point taken.

Then the final two came down to a white dude, Kevin, and a woman of color, Zeba. I guess I thought the feminist media community would throw it's weight behind Zeba - She worked on Obama's campaign and while her pieces weren't screaming feminism, she fit what I thought we'd want to see in a new op-ed voice. I admit that before the final two, I tweeted the contest without backing anyone. I was leaning towards Zeba, but also thought that having Courtney win would be fine too. Honestly I didn't have a horse in this race, but did think that if we could will it, a woman of color should win. Once it was a two person race, I tweeted my support for Zeba. Alas Kevin won. Zeba came up 600 votes short.

If Zeba had been a contributor at Feministing or Feministe would she had kicked ass in the final vote? Did we get tired of all the voting? On the last day? She was disconnected, from my POV, from the feminist media community despite having gone thru the Op-Ed Project and thus we didn't rally for her. Perhaps many of us were just disappointed that Courtney had been eliminated.

I am eagerly awaiting Courtney's reflection post on the whole process. She was called perky and I believe I read some comments about her voice. All things that are rarely, if ever, mentioned about a man.

As I said, I know that this whole thing wasn't set out to find that hidden jewel of punditry, but to jack up the hits at the WaPo. But they did have a golden moment when it had the opportunity to anoint Zeba or Courtney (the second runner up) as the next great pundit. A lot has been said about the contest and the quality of the finalists, but I still held out hope that the result would be different.

Or maybe America really does just want to hear from white dudes...But I highly doubt it.

1 comments:

Yup. Big publicity stunt. No, it didn't stop me from entering either, but I had a funny feeling a guy would win. I wonder if women not rallying around the final woman in the competition comes from the same place of women not supporting women candidates?