Men behaving badly

Exploring the gender problem on the San Francisco left


The fiasco that was the candidacy of Julian Davis for Supervisor has shed a spotlight on the long simmering sexist underside of progressive San Francisco politics. For years, men have dominated elections and institutions; the lack of women in progressive leadership has been obvious, but too often unaddressed.

San Francisco has a long history of electing women to high office — Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Louise Renne, Kamala Harris ... it's not as if politics in general is controlled by men. But most of those women have been from the more moderate (in some cases, conservative) side. The elected officials who are leaders in the progressive movement have, for most of the past decade or more, been overwhelmingly male.

And it's hard to ignore the obvious questions: How could so many progressives get behind a candidate with such a history of poor treatment of women? Why did it take so long for the truth to come out? When did attitudes on the left devolve to the point where groping was considered a minor detail?

More important, where are we going from here? How is the progressive movement going to encourage a new generation of women leaders? How are we going to address the perception, and sometimes the reality, that the politics of the San Francisco left is not a welcoming place for women?

It's going to take a while to talk all of this out, but this week, we want to start the conversation.

>>A NEW FEMINISM FOR SAN FRANCISCO: Community activists on a guide to compassion, redemption, and accountability

>>THE "HEIGHTENED SENSITIVITY" BLUES: Hey progressives, why don't you stop being such idiots? (An angertorial)


Hmmm... who controls the Guardian's endorsement process? Bruce, Tim, Steve - three white men. Maybe the Guardian could put its money where its mouth is (at least for one issue) and change the power dynamics within its own organization?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 8:16 am

Perhaps The SFBG should ask Savannah Blackwell and Sarah Phelan for their opinion on all of this?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 8:32 am

It is absolutely Orwellian how the Guardian, along with so many so-called progressives can turn so quickly from campaigning for a person actually convicted of domestic violence to demonizing one accused of groping.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 9:17 am

Great point. Lets see some real proof and get some corroborating statements before listening to every porn star tries to smear someone with this type of claim with this type of suspicious timing.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

Guest, please brush up on your facts and your grammar before posting. Thanks. Funny how someone so concerned with "real proof" of alleged misbehavior is so quick to incorrectly label the bringer of allegations a "porn star".

Posted by lw on Oct. 25, 2012 @ 11:11 am

Great point! I presented no proof of her being a porn star, and you called me out on it as you should. If only everyone cared as much about proof, this whole thing might settle itself out.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

Looks like a great movie from the reviews. A masterpiece. Oscar material!

Well maybe not... but it does have cult classic potential. I actually want to see it now.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 27, 2012 @ 7:47 am

Men have always behaved badly.

The Berkeley Free Speech and the Oakland Black Panther Movements, really had men behaving badly toward their "comrade" women. It is lucky Angela Davis survives with an academic credibility.

Women as Victims has nevertheless produced a secretary of state that the republicans would love to own. Her agenda is education for the women of the world. I'll buy that! Remember Hastings in the 70's was threatened with women potentially outnumbering men based on academic statistics for entry. Men thought that unfair. Women were not smarter, they just studied longer.

How about State Chief Justice Rose Bird? A brilliant woman brought down by petty men behaving badly.

A poignant article, a real issue.

Now is that 1966 hot tub party going to get me in trouble when I run for Mayor?

Posted by SFreptile on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

"Why did it take so long for the truth to come out?" What truth? While I agree that progressives need to get serious about promoting women, you haven't even begun to spell out the "evidence" or the source of this whisper campaign. You're essentially saying, "just take our word for it." I'm sorry, but that's not good enough.

Posted by Maia Thiebaud on Oct. 25, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

It seems that the SFBG has alligned itself with the late Arthur Evans and his war on testosterone.

Are those prostitution ads in the back pages????

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2012 @ 1:38 pm