What developments in the last sixty years of American history invented modern American presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? How have cultural and popular opinions shifted so that leaders like Clinton and Obama can so effectively organize, woo, harness, and mobilize popular opinion and sentiment while winning the “hearts and minds” of Americans and the world?
“The Home Run That Tours America” describes what my opinion is of the shift by using a baseball metaphor. But doesn’t this pose a problem for feminist readings since baseball has no female players?
Why doesn’t America have a woman president and why have we not had one yet? I am writing this because as a woman who is extremely educated in literary theory, feminist writing and gender studies, I feel that I must defend my choice of male characters for my book. We were encouraged in gender studies to seek out characters that empower women. One of my favorite all time theoretical readings in all of college was described by Cixous and Clement in “The Newly Born Woman.” The authors describe how women’s cycles have been described as having the power to “immobilize” the world or “throw the world into chaos.” Wow. If that’s the case how come women don’t actually rule the world in most governments?
As I wrote the book, I constantly questioned the need to create characters that empower women and girls’ concept of themselves and their roles. I wanted to make Joe a female character, but I wanted to remain authentic to our real history. This is the same history that will deliver us a female president (despite the book’s masculine overtones) though this has not yet been realized.
The book uses baseball as a metaphor, but take a closer look at baseball. No women play professional baseball. The majority of women in professional baseball are relegated to the sidelines where they describe the achievements of men. However, this is not a reason to limit this book as a book for boys. Perhaps, on the contrary, understanding this book can help empower young women to break through to the presidency and high levels of elected office, and give all students a greater understanding of the history of upward mobility and its effects on the psychology of achievement. The book uses a metaphor that is effective at teaching a concept and instilling an idea of empowerment that is culled from a male dominated structure, but not necessarily an endorsement of the literal adoption of that structure. Anyone who reads this book can be empowered by the knowledge it teaches regardless of their gender.