It’s hard to get people to leave their desks

A couple of weeks ago the Secular Coalition for American held a briefing for Congress to introduce the “Model Secular Policy Guide,” a book of separation-of-church-and-state policy prescriptions. They chose a rather…strange way to go about it. USA Today reports:

It had all the makings of a Christmas party: sparkling cider, cheese, chocolate-covered strawberries, even fashion models wearing sparkling gowns.


Yes, you read that correctly: fashion models wearing sparkling gowns. USA Today has a picture of them, sparkling. They look very nice, no question, but is that really the best way for the SCA to promote its work? No, it’s not. It’s a good deal too much like draping a hotty in a bikini over the hood of a car as a subtle way to draw the attention of buyers who think the hotty goes with the car, or makes it hot, or something.

The models, the sushi, the strawberries were the brainchild of executive director Edwina Rogers, a veteran Republican lobbyist who took over as the organization’s head last year. Having worked for four senators in the past, she knew that her policy book needed to be handed down with pizzazz.

“It’s hard to get people to leave their desks, they’re all very busy, very competitive and so it helps to have some food and have something interesting for people to see,” Rogers said.

It helps to have some food and some young women in sparkly dresses.

Oh Edwina. Really.


  1. says

    This is one of the many reasons why I’m okay with the gender imbalance in congress being completely reversed. I just want to puke thinking that the zeitgeist of our governing body is influenced by the sexual attractiveness of individual briefing meetings.

  2. Konradius says

    I am trying to recall if I ever found a good story that contained the name Edwina Rogers… Can anybody name one? I’d love to be wrong thinking there never was any.

  3. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    the zeitgeist of our governing body is influenced by the sexual attractiveness of individual briefing meetings.

    Some people claim that women are disqualified from the exercise of responsibility by the emotional effects their genitals have from time to time. On the other hand, the fact that men seem to be perpetually and powerfully affected by their genitals is regarded as unimportant.

  4. Al Dente says

    I’m the Banquet Manager for a large hotel. I know how much that sort of spread costs (however I don’t know how much a fashion model in a sparkly gown goes for). SCA must have some deep pockets or else they put on a show for a very small number of people.

  5. Beth says

    They pay her to run an effective campaign for their policy. I understand your point, but I’m not sure it overrides the importance of having a successful introduction for their policy recommendations. You don’t have to like the fact that it is a successful strategy in order to employ it. Or more likely, she simply isn’t bothered by that approach. If she was, she likely wouldn’t have lasted in D.C. or hold that position.

  6. thephilosophicalprimate says

    No, Beth. Just no. Whether it’s successful or effective or not — and really, I doubt it is particularly effective in terms of actually getting anyone to pay any attention to the CONTENT of the message — if you think you have to sell out women to sell your message that is ultimately and fundamentally about EQUALITY, then YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    Which brings me to a question I’ve asked here (FtB) before, with no response: Has Rogers (the only woman not named Rebecca Watson heading a national secularist group) ever spoken out about the intra-atheism turmoil about feminism/sexism?

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Simon @ # 14 – good point, and thanks for the reminder.

    Has Gaylor said anything publicly about the Great Rift of 2011-13-and-couinting?

  9. Robert B. says

    Also, Beth, there’s something inherently troubling about the idea of a leader who “isn’t bothered by that approach.” It implies a culture in the organization, a hostility toward women that I don’t want to see leading my movement or representing me to congress.

    Unlike thephilosophicalprimate, I’m tolerably sure that booth babes are a fairly effective strategy in their way. I just don’t care. If the most effective way to advocate for secularism is to backstab feminism, then I want to advocate for secularism in a less effective way, because, 1: there are more women then secularists, and more importantly 2: the actual goal is a principle of equality which gets applied to everyone, not just the minorities with the sparkliest, sexiest bribes – anything else is just passing the grenade along.

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