- Ingvard Ashby
A state representative’s first week of the legislative session was bogged down by sexism. In the sea of white affluent men that is the Oklahoma Capitol, Chicken-Fried News is disappointed but not terribly surprised.
State Rep. Kelly Albright ran a successful campaign and beat her Republican opponent by about 5 percent of the vote, but men on both sides of the aisle diminish her presence as a lawmaker with their actions. Albright took to her personal Facebook page in February to vent about the series of microaggressions she faced in just one week. She recently sat down with KFOR to discuss diversity at the capitol further.
Most of the actions boil down to male colleagues being surprised that she is even a representative. And before you ask why our politicians are not caught up on who their fellow members of the Legislature are … well, we are not actually sure, but they could probably mansplain it to all of us and somehow blame Albright in the process. Our guess is they simply do not care.
Other actions include male colleagues giving unsolicited advice and even taking credit for a bill Albright authored. Some might wonder what the big deal is with giving her advice, and it is really very simple: She did not ask for it. While she might look young and (gasp) be a woman, Albright is an adult who knows what she is doing, and – based on what running a campaign is like – she is probably willing to ask for help when she needs it.
The representative even almost got escorted off the floor while preparing to present a citation. A sergeant approached her and asked if she was a legislative assistant because as we know in the year of our lord 2019, women are only around to assist the men. Yeah, no.
Albright said it best on Facebook: “My fellow female colleagues and I did not come here to be pretty adornments in the landscape of white men. We did not come here to be undermined and underestimated. We came here to be a beacon for the marginalized, to demand an audience for a perspective that has been sorely missing in that building.”