The old one-dimensional female archetypes -- the soccer mom, the starving artist, the successful-but-lonely boss lady -- are dead. Women are creating new, multidimensional archetypes and defying stereotypes. The most fulfilled women are constantly creating in multiple areas of their lives, whereas burnout often happens when we feel like the routine of our day job is all we have time for. The Archetypal Woman Series is a tribute to inspiring women who rearrange time and space to explore and excel in a range of activities. May their stories encourage you to expand into your own uniqueness for the benefit of you and everyone in your orbit.
Editor's note: Victoria Moran is a mother, wife, poet, and psychotherapist. She has been trained in psychology at Howard University, Texas A&M University, Pepperdine University, and Stanford University. A passionate advocate for women in politics, she was proud to support U.S. Senator (CA) Kamala Harris in her bid for the U.S. Presidency.
Additionally, Victoria has completed the Women's Campaign School at Yale, and the She Should Run Incubator programs.
In short, she is "legit", as they say.
Read on for her thoughts on the importance of women in politics and why she will launch a campaign within the next two years. There is something here for you no matter where you are on the political spectrum.
~ Mary Margaret
What drove you to participate in the She Should Run Incubator and/or Virtual Cohort program?
I was at Stanford University, as a 2016-2017 doctoral intern, when I learned of She Should Run. It was after Trump was elected, and I was at Stanford’s Women’s Community Center (helping to facilitate a workshop). I began my on-line relationship then with She Should Run in November 2016. I attended She Should Run’s “Road to Run” in NYC in November 2018, and that cemented my desire to run for office.
Seeing the 125+ women that were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and more women of color (WOC) than I had ever seen in my lifetime, made it seem possible for me to run for office as an African American woman and to win.
I applied to the spring 2019 Virtual Cohort, and was ecstatic to be selected. I met Heather Wolf [a She Should Run ambassador] in the She Should Run cohort. Both Heather and I attended the Women’s Campaign School at Yale together. The She Should Run incubator was fabulous in that it really had me think, write, process, and share my reasons for seeking public office.
When I headed to the Women’s Campaign School in June of 2019, weeks after the She Should Run virtual cohort had finished, I had my “why” crystallized and it helped to provide the motivation to wake at 6:00 am after staying up until 2:00, 3:00 am day in and day out at the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. Heather Wolf and I were also on the same team (designing a Maine U.S. Senate campaign) while in New Haven, Connecticut.
Why do you think programs like the ones She Should Run has are important to getting more women into politics?
I believe that She Should Run is absolutely vital in getting more women into politics. Before a woman can run, she often has to wrestle with her “fears.” Many of the fears are unfounded, but a woman running for office, despite the relative increase in female politicians is still considered to be a “non-traditional” role for women.
The political system was really designed for men who had wives to plan the birthdays, pick up the laundry, and whatever else needed to be done to run a household. A female politician is not only going to need the support of her family, she will need the support of her community to fill in “these gaps” at home.
I have a strong cohort of women around me that help me with my 11 year-old daughter, as well as my husband who is all-in both supporting me as a future candidate and with the “weight of household tasks.”
In the She Should Run virtual cohort, we had a chance to meet with women “all on the continuum” of age, race, occupations, and sexual orientations. In listening to one another in regards to the solutions that we were “creating” for our lives, and for our future political lives it made the impossible seem possible.
Why do you think it’s important to get more women into politics?
It’s important to get more women into politics because we as women have a different lens in which we’ve experienced the world. Those differences will impact policy.
Watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford saddened me and encouraged me, as I remember watching Anita Hill, Esq. in 1991 and the optics of a primarily all-male panel were so similar. There was an exception though: the presence of two WOC U.S. Senators: Kamala Harris (CA) and Mazie Hirono (HI). That made me imagine a future where at least half of the U.S. Senators were women.
How would that impact both the nature of the questioning, as well as the confirmation process?
Like Dr. Blasey Ford, my background is in psychology. Like Dr. Blasey Ford, I have also survived sexual assault. Many colleagues, friends, and associates called me the day of the testimony because they felt “safe” calling me to disclose of their own experiences around sexual assault.
Presently, we have an empathy gap in the political landscape. More women in office, will bring different and varied solutions to long standing problems of gendered violence (among others) that disproportionately impact women.
U.S. Congresswomen Maxine Waters, Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, Shirley Chisholm, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sheila Jackson Lee, Barbara Jordan, Lauren Underwood, Lucy McBath, Nancy Pelosi, Diane Watson, Ayanna Pressley, and Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton are all role models to me. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s fight in the '70s for “equal pay” still resonates today. I know that all of these aforementioned women have had hurdles, but nevertheless they persisted to change the landscape of politics in the United States of America.
Why do you think it is important for people to invest in programs like She Should Run?
When you invest in She Should Run, you are investing in a United States of America that can and should look more representative of the U.S.A. Women need to be asked to run for office (an average of six to eight times) due to internalized barriers of what a woman “can or should” do occupationally. Women are not groomed to lead in the same way men are, so we need institutions to fill in the gap.
Nina Shaw, Esq. stated that “Empowered women, empower other women.” This has been the case for me, when I met women in NYC at She Should Run’s “Road to Run” event. I flew from Los Angeles to New York (for less than 24 hours) for the opportunity to meet women that had run for office at all levels of government.
Additionally, authors and fellow WOC--Nathalie Molina-Nino of the book Leapfrog, and Soraya Chemaly of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger provided theoretical underpinnings to my quest to run for office. To hear Nathalie Molina-Nino give tangible tips for “breaking” the political boys club, and Soraya Chemaly name the gendered differences in which we “allow” anger in our society.
In the Dr. Blasey Ford testimony, she was measured and controlled verses Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh’s privilege to let his unbridled anger be “readily apparent.”
I, as a 49-year old African American woman, have never felt the privilege to be publicly indignant in the same vein. It is important to have forums in which we deconstruct what “has been” so that we can “create the new.”
Hearing CEO of She Should Run Erin Loos Cutraro state She Should Run’s goals of females holding 50% of public offices (250,000) by 2030 gave me a blueprint of what I wanted to help create, by running for office myself.
I used to anchor the 4x400 in track. Anchoring is not an enviable position because you have to “take responsibility” to bring the baton home. Whatever happened in the first 300 meters is irrelevant. You, as an anchor, have to run until your chest is on fire, and your legs don’t have strength. In short you have to “leave it all on the field.” I was not the fastest on my track team. I perhaps was willing to endure the most.
I, as a 49-year old African American woman, will run for office with that same fervor. I will run until my chest is on fire. I will campaign with everything that I am, with everything that I possess. I have an 11 year-old daughter that still believes that all of her dreams can come true. When she and I knock on doors together in the city of Los Angeles, I will help to keep her dream(s) intact.
The dream gap in girls was referenced at the November 2018 “Road to Run.” I will run for office for all the dreamers, those little girls that have doubted themselves and for the little girls within all of us as women that needed to hear “YOU should run.”
She Should Run is an invitation, as well as a mandate. It is a whisper that began in November 2016, at Stanford University’s Women's Community Center, that has now become a roar in my life.
When my daughter met U.S. Senator Kamala Harris in July 2019 at a fundraiser in which I was a co-host, she stated (unprompted) to Kamala, “The dreams for my life have now changed today meeting you!” I want to be that same dream-keeper for my 11 year-old daughter, Amanda.
As a WOC I am also interested in the “sticky floor” in which many of my brown and black skin counterparts occupy. I was raised (in part) by my maternal grandmother that was a domestic. I will never forget that my grandmother left school at 13 years old to clean homes. I will run for public office, for my grandmother’s Mama Tressi’s unrealized dreams as well.
What do you think is a barrier to people giving to organizations like She Should Run? How can people move past these barriers to participate as an investor in the movement?
Internalized racism and sexism are barriers to people giving to She Should Run. It can be tremendously scary to believe in the beauty of your dreams, because belief--true belief--will lead to action. It is that “true belief” that has led me to take the steps towards my own candidacy and political future.
Dancing with our fears and moving forward gives other people license to do the same. Each one of us was born from a mother. We honor all of our collective mothers when we give women the much-needed support to run for office. It will not be easy to change the collective consciousness that got us to where we are now.
As an African American woman, I do not want to hold power in the same way in which it was held over me. I wish to have a “seat at the table” with men and women of all different hues, sexual orientations, and backgrounds. I believe that for some who have had privilege, parity may feel like prejudice. I firmly believe though that parity, and “sharing in power”, is what we need to solve the education, health, homeless, and climate crises.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and her emphasis on mental health, providing equity to indigenous people, and her exhibited grace after the Christchurch shootings are an example which I would like to emulate. Before we can see that in more of our U.S. politicians (as well as her decisiveness in enacting gun control laws); not to mention giving birth in office in 2018, like U.S. Representative Kirsten Gillibrand in 2008 and Prime Minister (Pakistan) Benazir Bhutto (nearly 30 years prior to Ardern in 1991)--by giving to She Should Run this will become the norm and not the extraordinary.
I had a neighbor who knows that I have become more politically active ask me last month, “Don’t you think it’s all happening too fast (in regards to women holding elected office)?” I thanked him for his opinion, and indicated that the health of our country, let alone the world mandates things move even faster in regards to the quest for parity.
I believe that when people realize and value that differences in backgrounds will yield a “more perfect union”, giving to organizations like “She Should Run” will be at the top of their lists. It certainly is at the top of my list.