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Kamala Harris Invited All the Female Senators Over for Dinner, Which Is an … Interesting Idea

Kamala Harris speaks from a table, viewed through the shoulders of the people sitting across form her.

Kamala Harris invited all the female senators to dinner at her home Tuesday night—the first social event held at her residence since assuming her new role as Vice President.

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According to Politico, the dinner is a tradition that started in the 1990s, with all the women meeting at a different senator’s house every six weeks for a potluck. In recent years, though, the event has fallen apart. One of the founding creators of the dinner retired in 2017, and then during Trump’s presidency, the divisiveness between the parties only became more contentious. Plus, in 2020, a number of those women were running against each other in the Democratic presidential primary. And there’s also the simple fact that in the 90s, there just a lot fewer women having to coordinate their schedules.

But they made it work this week. Or rather, most of them did. Three of the 24 senators missed the dinner—Republicans Cindy Hyde-Smith and Cynthia Lummis, as well as (yup!) Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema.

There is, obviously, something to be said for increasing bipartisan relationships. Plenty of people saw these pictures from the event and thought it looked like a great idea. Sure, Harris’ promotion left a void with exactly zero Black women currently serving in the Senate, a glaring reality seen in these pictures. And yes, maybe it’s incredibly weird to see so many people have to pretend to enjoy sharing a room with Marsha Blackburn. But still, yay women, right? Sisterhood!

Or maybe not. Maybe you see these pictures and you wonder why we need to be chummy with women who work so hard to deny so many of us our basic human and civil rights.

Putting party aside to celebrate “sisterhood”—even when the opposing party opposes reproductive justice and civil rights, votes to confirm Supreme Court Justices that also oppose those rights, and continues to support the baseless insistence that Donald Trump won the 2020 election—isn’t noble, it’s reinforcing systems of white, non-intersectional feminism.

Meanwhile, we would much rather be attending this dinner:

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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