The XX Factor

Let Rick Perry Have a Boys’ Night

Margaret , I’m having a hard time getting worked up about Rick Perry’s dudes-only dinner. Maybe it’s just that I’d rather listen to Pat Green (the post-dinner activity approved for the “wives/significant others”) than dine on pheasant with the governor, but if I were dating a filthy-rich Rick Perry booster (unlikely), I’d be happy to be excluded from the sausage-fest.

I think the fundraiser and its unfortunately worded invitation are more about Rick Perry wanting to have a certain type of fun than an indication of how he feels about women in the public sphere. Social situations are just different–and, frankly, sometimes better–when they’re sex-segregated. If the makeup of, say, Perry’s campaign staff resembled the guest list for the pheasant feast, that would be a problem. But two of his four director-level staffers are female. Four of his 10 regional coordinators are women. He treated his Republican primary opponents–both of whom were female–with the utmost of seriousness.

Complaining about not being invited to a party would only undercut the assertion that women are a serious part of Texas’ political life. That’s an assertion that hardly needs to be made; Texas women have been a force in politics for a long time. We elected the country’s second female governor in 1924, and in the early ‘90s, Ann Richards ruled the executive mansion (where she occasionally hosted women-only events). I’m glad Texas women haven’t used this as an occasion to flog the governor. Besides, he’s providing them with plenty of other material .

Photograph of Texas Gov. Rick Perry by Dave Einsel/Getty Images.