Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Feminist defends Franken from ‘misogynist’ label

In the wake of Planned Parenthood’s condemnation of Al Franken, the leader of Minnesota NOW comes to the U.S. Senate candidate’s defense.

It shouldn’t be news that a DFL U.S. Senate candidate has a feminist defender. But in the wake of this morning’s news that Planned Parenthood leaders condemned Al Franken, it’s worth knowing that the leader of Minnesota National Organization of Women still supports the satirist.

Responding to a May 22 GOP press conference — not Planned Parenthood’s later communique — state NOW President Shannon Drury issued a statement yesterday (reprinted below) blasting Republicans as hypocrites given party policies.

Muddying Drury’s argument: Planned Parenthood’s praise for the GOP and reinforcement of the “misogynist” rap.

I am Shannon Drury, President of Minnesota NOW. I am a lifelong feminist as well as a wife and mother of two young children.

Article continues after advertisement

I am outraged that Senate candidate Al Franken is being attacked by people who are using the language of feminism to further their own ends. Al Franken stands in support of Minnesota women, and I stand in support of him.

Al Franken wrote a satirical article for “Playboy” magazine in 2000. Now its content is being used as an excuse to label him a misogynist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, Al Franken will be a senator who will work tirelessly in support of women’s issues. After meeting with Al personally, I found his honesty and openness refreshing, his intelligence and perserverance inspiring.

In their May 22 letter to Al, [state] Rep. Laura Brod, Dr. Laura Dean, Sen. Michelle Fischbach, Mary Igo, Annette Meeks and Laura Merickel use their idea of feminism only to attack and provoke. In truth, these are the women who do not, in their words, “get it.”

In attacking Al, these six self-proclaimed GOP leaders claim to care about the epidemic of eating disorders among young women, but have they supported mental health parity so that women suffering from these illnesses can be treated? No.

They don’t even support universal health care. That’s an outrage.

From the start of his campaign, Al has made clear that universal health care is one of his top priorities. The cost and availability of quality health care is of urgent, daily concern to Minnesota women. Al understands and will fight for universal coverage in the Senate.

I think Norm Coleman, these women’s endorsed leader, is the one showing “flagrant disregard for women” with his anti-choice voting record.

If Sen. Michelle Fischbach thinks Al Franken’s satirical article “demean[s] and degrade[s] women as thoroughly and disrespectfully as any article we’ve ever seen,” then she needs to re-read her own bills in our state Senate. Fischbach has worked tirelessly to strip away Minnesota women’s reproductive options guaranteed by Rowe v. Wade. I find that offensive.

Article continues after advertisement

As part of their attack, the women of the GOP express concern in their letter about women worldwide being “second class citizens,” failing to mention the work they do to undermine Minnesota women’s right to self-determination.

Minnesota women will have a pro-choice Senator in Al Franken.

As the saying goes, feminism is the radical notion that women are people. Whole people, who make mistakes, who laugh at jokes, who see things within their greater context.

The women of Minnesota deserve better than attacks that are not based on reality, nor are they based on the issues that face Minnesota’s women.

I want better for my state’s future. That’s why I support Al Franken.