Hillary Clinton Isn’t Particularly Good for Feminism
by Benjamin Studebaker
In reply to my post from the other day about the differences in economic ideology between Bernie Sanders (the Keynesian egalitarian) and Hillary Clinton (the neoliberal), some are replying that Hillary is still worth supporting because a Hillary presidency would be an important victory for feminism. Indeed, there are prominent women accusing female Bernie supporters of being traitors to feminism. Madeleine Albright says that women who don’t support Hillary are “going to hell”. Gloria Steinem says that female Bernie supporters are doing it to chase boys (she has since apologized for that remark). Yet in some places, Bernie continues to enjoy the support of the majority of women under 45–winning as much as 64% of that demographic. These women are making the right choice. Hillary’s feminist credentials are much weaker than is popularly believed, and if elected there are strong reasons to think that she would do little for the feminist political cause.
To evaluate whether Hillary Clinton will accomplish something for feminism, we need to know what it is that feminism is or ought to be trying to accomplish in the first place. Feminist theory doesn’t have one exclusive answer to this question, but I’d like to offer an aim for feminism that I think will be broadly appealing to most people who identify themselves with feminist theory.
On my view, feminism is or should be about reducing the influence of gender norms. Gender norms are behavioral expectations we have for people based on whether they are male or female. Feminism recognizes that these expectations limit people’s freedom by boxing them into gender roles that they do not choose for themselves. Gender norms are almost always the basis for gender discrimination. Women who are paid less or denied opportunities to fight in combat roles or discouraged from asserting themselves are treated this way because people have internalized expectations that women are meant to be less capable, weaker, or more emotionally sensitive. Many feminists refer to this system that puts social pressure on men and women to conform to gender roles through the propagation of gender norms as “patriarchy”, but if you’re a man and that term makes you uncomfortable because it feels like you are being personally blamed for a system of norms you also oppose or find constraining, you can just call it “the system of gender norms”. After all, this system limits men too–men are expected to be stoic, unemotional, less nurturing, physically strong, and so on, and many men find this role uncomfortable for them as well. As Emma Watson likes to emphasize, everyone potentially benefits from feminism. That said, the system of gender norms tend to limit women more than men, because the female gender role has often denied women political, social, and economic power. This legacy of sexist oppression continues to influence modern societies, and contemporary feminists are right to be vigilant about sexism.
If you largely agree with the conception of feminism I’ve laid out above, it should be clear to you that it is not feminist to praise women for being good listeners or more cooperative than men–this only serves to reinforce the traditional gender norms that women are more emotional and interpersonal while men are stoic individualists. It is not feminist merely to reverse which traditional gender norms are praised. From a feminist standpoint, praising women for conforming to traditional female gender norms is no better than condemning women for conforming to traditional female gender norms. The goal of feminism is not to change our attitude toward specific norms, but to challenge, subvert, and eliminate the system of norms altogether, so every person is free from social pressure to conform to any gender role. This does not mean that men can never be stoic and women can never be empathetic, but it does mean that these behaviors should not be the result of gender-based social pressure to conform to these behaviors as norms.
So with all of this in mind, I found it really disturbing when Hillary Clinton said this:
I just think women in general are better listeners, are more collegial, more open to new ideas and how to make things work in a way that looks for win-win outcomes.
By essentializing women in this way, Clinton is propagating female gender norms. She is underlining and supporting traditional beliefs about what women are good at and what they are not so good at. This reinforces the patriarchy. If it’s unclear what’s so anti-feminist about this remark, imagine if instead Clinton said this:
I just think men in general are better at math, are more assertive, more competent at implementing new ideas and making things work in a way that looks for efficient outcomes.
That’s clearly really sexist, isn’t it? This is the same kind of remark as the first remark. It says that men are better because of the ways in which men conform to male gender roles. The first remark says that women are better because of the ways in which women conform to female gender roles. Both of these remarks support the patriarchy.
This is not the first time that Clinton has said things that reinforce traditional gender norms. Some feminists consider themselves “sex positive”–they take the view that one of the best ways to undermine the system of gender norms is to undermine norms about female sexual behavior, i.e. that women should be abstinent, chaste, submissive, and heterosexual, and that women who deviate from these norms are sluts, while men are permitted to be sexually promiscuous, more assertive about sex, and so on. Hillary Clinton has consistently taken the view that teens should be encouraged to remain totally abstinent.
In a book published in 2007, Hillary Clinton is quoted blaming young women for failing to exercise sexual self-control:
The first lady of Arkansas launched a public education campaign to highlight problems faced by modern teens. She singled out sexual content, stating that society was “bombarding kids with sexual messages on TV, in music, everywhere they turn.” In a throwback to the Park Ridge of the 1950s, she said that both parents and churches were failing teenagers in not doing enough to help them just say no to sex. “Adults are not fulfilling their responsibility to talk to young people about the future, about how they should view their lives, about self-discipline and other values they should have.” She stated, “It’s not birth control, but self-control.”
In 1996, she said:
After many years of working with and listening to American adolescents, I don’t believe they are ready for sex or its potential consequences–parenthood, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases–and I think we need to do everything in our power to discourage sexual activity and encourage abstinence.
In 2005, she expressed support for abstinence again:
Research shows that teenage girls abstain because of their religious and moral values. We should embrace this and support programs that reinforce the idea that abstinence at a young age is not just the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do.
Worldwide, the countries with the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy are places like the Netherlands, where sexuality education begins at age four and abstinence is not encouraged:
By normalizing sex and removing the stigmas surrounding it, European sex ed programs not only help young people have safer sex, they help erode traditional gender norms. Another way to erode those norms is by allowing people to sexually express themselves through a diverse array of identities and orientations. Yet Hillary Clinton consistently and explicitly opposed gay marriage until 2013, and she supported the Defense of Marriage Act. She said:
Marriage has historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.
On many occasions Hillary Clinton has made statements that sound like they came from Mike Huckabee:
When pressed on the point in interviews more recently, Clinton gives poor rationalizations that do not withstand sustained scrutiny.
Another way to challenge gender sexual norms is to refuse to stigmatize abortion. Yet Clinton has consistently spoken of the choice to abort as sad and regrettable. This puts her more in step with the mainstream, but it hardly reinforces her feminist credentials. Here are a couple examples of that:
We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women.
I have said many times that I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected.
Clinton did vote against the ban on late term abortions except in cases where the health or life of the mother was in danger, but her willingness to pander on the issue publicly damages the choice cause in the long-run. Clinton does not seem to be much of a feminist. She doesn’t undermine gender norms as a system, preferring merely to change which norms are praised and which are not. She comes across as sexually quite traditional.
But perhaps the biggest stain on Clinton’s record when it comes to feminism is her support for welfare reform, which crippled poor families and left more mothers at the mercy of abusive or absentee fathers. Here are just a few of the horrible consequences for poor families:
- Mortality rates among welfare recipients likely rose by at least 16%.
- By keeping single parents in work and away from their children, welfare reform adversely affected the development of adolescents, particularly those who were pushed to care for younger siblings, significantly decreasing academic performance.
- The percentage of poor children receiving food stamps fell from 88% to 70%, and the number receiving cash assistance fell from 57% to 40%.
- By making payments contingent on seeking employment, it reduced the probability that women will go back to school by 20-25%.
- The percent of deeply poor households with children who report having insufficient funds to cover essential expenses rose from 37% in 1995 to 48% in 2005.
Welfare reform also substantially increased the number of children living in extreme poverty:
Clinton continues to defend this policy:
Welfare should have been a temporary way station for people who needed immediate assistance. It should not be considered an anti-poverty program. It simply did not work.
This policy continues to force single mothers from poor communities to work multiple low wage jobs, robbing their children of the parental attention they so critically need and making it more difficult for these families to climb out of poverty.
Now, none of this makes her worse on feminist policy than the likely republican candidates by any means. But is she worse than Bernie? Absolutely. Bernie was consistently against banning late term abortions. In 1997, Bernie was opposing homophobia:
It is vitally important to the future of this country and our state that we defeat the Republican agenda, and that we prevent the republicans from recapturing the Congress and taking the White House. That is enormously important. But it is even more important that we as progressives and as Vermonters hold on to that special vision that has propelled us forward for so many years.
A vision which says that we judge people not by their color, their gender, their sexual orientation, their nation of birth– but by the quality of their character, and that we will never accept sexism, racism, or homophobia.
Bernie voted against DOMA in 1996 and against “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 1993, both policies Clinton supported. Dubiously, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Clinton even though she has never enjoyed a rating higher than 89% from them, while Bernie rates 100%. Bernie voted against welfare reform and his support for a higher minimum wage will help many mothers living in poverty achieve economic security. Bernie has sponsored legislation on gender pay equity and has tried to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment. As mayor, Bernie supported his city’s first pride parade in 1983.
There is no policy basis for thinking that Hillary Clinton is a stronger opponent of gender norms than Bernie Sanders. The only basis for preferring Clinton on feminist grounds is that Hillary Clinton is a woman, and the first female president has representational value. But it’s not at all clear that this representational value is worth the cost if the candidate doesn’t deliver on the rhetoric and on the policy–no self-respecting feminist could possibly support Carly Fiorina.
There will also be a political cost for feminism associated with the first female president. Consider Barack Obama–Obama is the first black president, but while that is inspiring and has representational value, it is also used as an excuse by the right for opposing policies that would reduce the many large inequalities that remain between blacks and whites. The right argues that if a black man can be president, society must be equal and any black person who is unable to succeed has no one to blame but themselves. This is a false and manipulative excuse for institutionalized racism, but it is a very effective attack line that people on the right use against Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizations and policies. The first female president will be used in the same way, to silence and exclude legitimate female grievances. So she had better be a much stronger advocate for feminism than Obama has been for anti-racism. After the 2008 economic crisis, white median family wealth began recovering while black and Hispanic median family wealth continue to decline:
The fact that the president is black only makes it easier for the right to rationalize the continued growth of this disgusting disparity. It does not stop or reverse this repugnant trend. It may mean a lot to affluent pundits, but it means nothing to poor families on the ground.
The UN ranks countries by gender equality based on maternal mortality rate, teen birth rate, share of seats in parliament, equality in level of education among the genders, and equality in the labor force participation rate. Sweden, which has never had a female head of state or head of government, ranks 6th. Britain, which was led for 11 years by Margaret Thatcher and has been ruled by a queen for decades, ranks 39th (the US ranks 55th–we have a long way to go). A female president will not by itself substantively diminish the legacy of female oppression. It will only hand reactionaries another tool with which to marginalize feminism from the public discourse.
We should choose a female head of state some day, but that female head of state should be chosen not just because she’s a woman but because she is the person who will most actively and robustly oppose the system of gender norms at every level. Hopefully she’ll also stand up for other marginalized groups too. Hillary Clinton has shown time and again that she doesn’t really understand gender norms in a systematic, feminist way. She is too often more than happy to reinforce traditional norms, and her willingness to use traditional norms to disparage men for short-term political gain only feeds a false reactionary narrative that feminists are reverse sexists who wish not to eliminate gender norms but to make them benefit women at the expense of men. Feminists are not reverse sexists–but Hillary Clinton is not really much of a feminist.
Hillary has drawn praise from Henry Kissinger, and she recently won the endorsement of Madeline Albright. The amazing thing is that her campaign believes this is good news. I’m waiting for Margaret Thatcher to arise from the grave and weigh in for HRC.
You are right on! So true and funny,by the way. I dont think having a man who specialized in coups is a good idea, nor sends a message of reassurance that HRC will pursue an enlightened foreign policy.
Thank you for using your expertise in this reasoning for why Hilary isn’t, politically, the best choice for the first female president. I’m tired of people scolding me for not supporting her for that reason, but I’m rather politically ignorant when it come to how it all works; I’m just capable in doing research and analyzing trends. This really helped me understand the background of political decisions so I can better explain why her trends aren’t a great thing for what I desire for this country’s future. Do you have any recommendations for reading material or resources for a politically interested but ignorant person?
Thanks for reading–I’m happy to give resource recommendations. Is there any particular area you’d like to read up on?
Would never vote for Hillary just because she is female. I would love to see a female prez but not her. I will vote for Bernie — 65 year old yuppie
Great article Benjamin. If only the media was more critical like you and really did their jobs, the Regular American would be better informed. I first learned about Bernie a year ago in my human rights class. We were talking about inequality in the USA. I’m a 31 year old woman and I’m with Bernie because he connects with my struggles.
I would never vote for Hillary, or anybody else, simply because she is a woman. This is part of the problem. Women believe that because they are a woman that they should vote for Hillary. Yes, it would be pretty cool to have the first female president but maybe if there was less emphasis on her being a woman and more emphasis on the rest of what makes Hillary Hillary then people would actually see that she is not the best choice. I do not trust Hillary one bit and I felt the same way about her in 2008.
“We should choose a female head of state someday …”
Wow, what a courageous, bold statement. Thanks so much for that. When do you propose this revolutionary action? When the perfect woman descends from the clouds? The perfect feminist? A being so intellectually and temperamentally superior to all her male rivals that even hyper-critical ideologues go gender-blind and are forced to accept her?
You are a very smart fellow, and a wonderful and persuasive writer. But you have some serious blind spots, especially about the skew in your own perspective. Well, don’t we all?
Do you not recognize that your pompous attack of Hillary’s character and the impurity of her feminist credentials is, in and of itself, a testament to your own gender bias? She is a product of her time and place. I share her demographics and I understand what that means. You clearly do not.
You cannot possibly understand what it took for women in my cohort to succeed in a male dominated society that paid lip service to women’s rights while simultaneously undermining them at every turn. It was hard, it was exhausting, it left scars on our souls. It created a class of successful women with hard edges, women who made their way up the ladder in direct proportion to their ability to dance like men — in high heels, backwards.
I have so much more I want to say about this issue, especially my total disagreement with your simplistic definition of feminism as merely a fight to “reduce the influence of gender norms,” with its absurd underlying assumption that men and women are really all alike, except for their physical reproductive organs. News flash: the brain is our most prominent sex organ, with glands and associated hormones a close second. Men and women are biologically inclined to see and do things differently. This, to me, is the real goal of feminism: recognition that women’s most valuable contributions to society arise from their feminine perspective, not from their ability to act more like men. Would women run the world differently? Yes. And I think that’s a good thing.
But I won’t go on, because my patience on this issue is running out. I’m not willing to wait for that perfect woman we should choose as head of state “someday.” We’ve been putting imperfect men into the White House, the Senate, the House, the Governors’ mansions, the pulpits, and the board rooms of the nation for decades. Let’s put more women into power now, perfect or imperfect. Could they possibly make more of a mess than the men have?
This is a simple, obvious, and, I believe, deeply feminist idea.
Thanks for this opportunity to vent.
Silk, I could not agree with you more. I like both Hillary and Bernie. I am voting for Bernie because I really want to see the corporate grip issue addressed and he’s pushing so very hard for that. However, Hillary is a good choice. Reading this also very much annoyed me. Hillary isn’t just a feminist, she IS feminism. She’s been cracking the glass ceiling for us her whole career. Yes, feminism changes. Yes, things that were suicide to say years ago are now the direction of the party today. Let’s not forget America voted George Bush into the white house almost entirely over a religious conservative viewpoint. That is who was voting. That is who won. We are seeing strides faster than we have seen before, and Hillary is not rejecting them.
It’s so clear to me a man wrote this article, as he has no perspective of what it’s like to be a woman, walking the line between being tossed out of credibility for being “a radical feminist” and still saying what needs to be said.
Hillary would not BE where she is today if she was forcing things down America’s throat before they were ready to hear them and still vote for her. However, she continued to embody them to fight to where she is.
Hillary never has been a social rights activist. She is a politician, and she’s been pushing for change her whole life by simply fighting for it herself. Why would anyone ever question that, when looking at her life? When looking at how she was so heavily scrutinized for simply keeping a job and focusing on her career while she also supported her husband’s? You expect her to have said things that were more radical than that, and still get where she is today? COME ON. That was not gonna happen.
The complexities of this matter are overlooked in this post, I totally agree with you.
Thanks Nearly Farley (love the name) for your heartfelt comments. I also love Bernie, but my biggest priority for 2016 is keeping either of the toxic republican frontrunners out of the White House — whatever that takes. I just hope that neither Trump nor Cruz get the chance to teach dems a bitter lesson about the dangers of choosing an ideologically pure candidate over practical one. For me, a democratic win trumps everything else (pun not intended). And by the way, when are dems going to wake up to the 50-state imperative? They’ve got to have a strategy to regain governorships, state legislatures, and especially the US Senate and House. Without that support, a presidential victory is almost cosmetic. The recalcitrance of Congress during Obama’s term is, in my view, absolutely treasonous. It’s so hard to be creative and get things done, and so easy to be destructive and stop progress.
Elizabeth Warren would be an excellent choice for president. It’s a shame she didn’t run. Hillary Clinton is a bad candidate because her policy commitments increase inequality.
Nicholas, I like Elizabeth Warren a lot too … but she’s not in the consideration set, so comparisons aren’t very useful. However I disagree that Hillary is a bad candidate. But that’s what makes horse races …
I don’t regard your position as feminist, you’re engaging in the same gender stereotyping feminism exists to reject. I support the candidates who advance the ideologies I believe in, who have the right beliefs, priorities, and policies. If an old man wants to get behind feminism and egalitarianism, I will support him over a woman who refuses to do the same. If their ideological positions were reversed, I’d support Hillary. If Elizabeth Warren were running, I’d support her.
A study recently came out indicating that there is no biological difference between the male and female brains:
Differences between people who identify as male and who identify as female are almost entirely the result of socialization, and any person who boxes anyone in or automatically identifies any man or woman with any trait purely on the basis of gender is contributing to the patriarchy. Even women can contribute to the patriarchy, and when they do they won’t get my support.
Well, Benjamin, you certainly have your position nailed down intellectually, and you seem to be convinced, on the basis of one study, that science is on your side. I’m sure you know there have been many studies on this matter yielding a range of interpretations, however, so confirmation bias is always something to be cautious about.
I respect your opinions, and appreciate the chance to have this discussion. However, I disagree that I’m “engaging in the same gender stereotyping feminism exists to reject.”
My views are from the heart, and based on a lifetime of, well, being a woman. Obviously, feminism is something you’ve thought hard about, and maybe women like me don’t live up to your expectations, which are, you must admit, quite doctrinaire.
Fortunately, one thing my many years of standing up for myself as a woman has given me is a very good sense of who I am, and I make no apologies for it. Label me as you like, if labels are your truth.
One thing we definitely share is a rejection of social systems that box people in, limit their opportunities, or define them based entirely on criteria of gender, race or other characteristics which do not inherently constrain their abilities.
I think it’s important to recognize allies.
Happy to agree with the principle of rejecting boxing people in on the basis of their group identities. It’s okay to have internal disagreements–that principle is the most important one here.
Your views on feminism aside, I cannot for the life of me understand why you vote for HRC. You haven’t really answered above why you support her. You’ve just been bashing the author for being inadvertently sexist when he hasn’t written anything of the sort above.
You say, ironically in fact, that “You cannot possibly understand what it took for women in my cohort to succeed in a male dominated society that paid lip service to women’s rights while simultaneously undermining them at every turn.”. What this seems to say (and forgive me if I’m wrong), but you seem to be justifying that Hillary Clinton and her political shortcomings (which are numerous and rather horrendously indicative of a mediocre, flip-flop polition) are simply because she had no other choice but to “play the game” and play it like any other politician, through thinly veiled lies and deceitful propaganda. Now, Im all for a female president in the White House. I really and truly am a supporter for gender equality. However, I am sick and tired of so many women saying the same ridiculous argument; Hillary Clinton had no other choice BUT to make these decisions in her life, that being in the time period she was in and the country she was in has made her like this and we should just accept it? That despite the many terrible policy decisions she has made in her lifetime, its not because shes a bad person but because society and the crushing patriarchy made her so? This is a EXTREMELY poor argument virtually bordering on sexism. HRC is a terrible politician hands down, a neo-liberal war hawk who has shown that she will only support real change and real feminism movement support to grab polls and convince plain voters. She is influential due to the Clinton legacy and decades of influence peddling, and has used both in 08 and the current election race disgusting race and sexist tactics to garner support or shock people away from the winners. Remeber the picture of Obama in a muslim type outfit pushed around by the Clinton campaign picture? That shows you EXACTLY what kind of person she is. Campaigning brings out the worst of us (for most politicians resort to more and more mudslinging to win), and the worst thing about HRC is that she is a piss poor candidate for actual change, something that is desperately needed in America to retain its superpower status in the global community in the years to come. If she was a MAN, I GUARANTEE you that she would have 0% chance to win the election if she was running for the Democratic party. Wake up lady, and dont think for half a second that we should expect anyone less then perfect for a president, both male or female. Politics has made it out so that its extremely difficult to think of a perfect candidate, thats true. However, its not a reason therefore to condone a cackling past secretary of state who has supported too many wars and wrongdoings socially and economically and think she is anything but a obnoxious candidate who is basically just a worse off version of Obama for the next 8 years.
I feel many of your frustrations, Taek-Yeom, but I find your clear hatred of Hillary (and apparently Obama too) alarming — and depressing. I’ve never seen anything good come from hate, no matter who it comes from or what generates it.
By the way, if you read my comment more closely, you’ll see I did not declare my vote for Hillary, or anyone else.
What I said was “let’s put more women into power now, perfect or imperfect.” I stand by that. My comment was mainly a disagreement with what I perceived (rightly or wrongly) in the original post as an unintentional bias that demands a higher standard for women in politics than for men, by failing to recognize the additional barriers and prejudices women must overcome to compete in the present system. (I think this phenomenon can also be seen sometimes with respect to minority politicians).
I wish I could see someone, anyone, who’s “perfect” in the political race right now — but I don’t. Unfortunately, I do see a lot of candidates I consider perfectly horrible. My concern is keeping a dangerous madman out of the White House. Take your pick, the Republicans have several on offer who are exploiting prejudice and hatred every day in their quest for power.
Putting more power into the hands of women is something too I incredibly support full heartedly. If I ranted too much above, it was because of the frustrations of the gender cloud that HRC has shown off. I would definitely support a female candidate who runs for presidency right now….if she is a person who has enough conistency to prove in their political career that they will at least vigorously attempt to Implement the changes that they promise to make. Power to women now is a sentiment I really do share, but at least on a individual level for me I dont think HRC is the choice for this. While abstaining from an electable female candidate may be pushing the issue away, and that definitely is a minus, I just feel with the record of going back and forth “Just in time for the election” doesnt seem to justify pushing her NOW for the Oval office. All I wanted to say(and I do apologize for the ranting above) is that empowering women is something we should indeed implement now but not through the current candidate who claims to speak for this right now.
I have spoken to many professors at my university in Korea, most of them are American and nearly all of them share to certain degrees what I have said above; HRC is not the right candidate to push for female influence and rightful empowerment right now.
No, I dont “hate”Obama. Im only disappointed and a little upset that a man who held such promise in 08 couldnt deliver much during his 8 years. Again, ranting doesnt help and I apologize for radicalizing my words in too much of an agressive posture. Im still not great with stringing words together without putting emotions in them sometimes, and that never helps keep a level mind in discussions.
Taek-yeom — thanks for your thoughtful reply. I respect your opinions and I do share your disappointment that the struggle over the past 8 years to advance liberal policies has had such limited success (though I would blame an obstructionist Congress for this more than Obama). Good luck in your studies and I hope you continue to have a passion for politics!
I do resent the take your pick comment as well. Being annoyed with my post is one thing, offering me a choice of the current GOP seems that you think just because I harbour an intense (and fully deserved) dislike of Hillary does not mean I look towards racists and sexists for my political views. While Im not an american citizen and cannot vote directly, my personal vote is with Sanders on the Democratic party, and im not joining on the hype train either. I just believe, as the auther states in other articles, the shift in the economic stance of the USA is necessary as neo liberalism is indeed a dying fire trying to keep its own embers alive with a dissatisfied public.
I wish I could like this comment a thousand times.
I supported Bernie during the primaries. I want an end to the neoliberal thought project. I don’t support the Democratic party as it is currently organized. I enjoyed your piece that made explicit the differences between Bernie and Hillary beyond their voting records. So what I’m about to say next is not an endorsement of Hillary as a representative of her party.
I hope the author will one day from a more mature place look back on this piece of mansplaining and wince. Feminism as a fight to reduce gender norms is a slap in the face to the women who have been beaten, tortured, jailed and persecuted in the name of the dismantlement of systemic oppression of half the world’s population.
And yes, I will proclaim my power as a woman and a listener, a listener for that which is beyond content. As someone with characteristics that, at this point in time, whether because of biology or brilliant survival strategy, are often well-developed in women. I will say with no apology that these are exactly the qualities the world needs to start valuing and recognizing along side the women who excel at bringing them.
Don’t tell me that Hillary can’t be feminist enough when she adopts and plays by patriarchy’s rules and also can’t be feminist enough when she brings the transformative qualities that have historically been embodied, developed and given primacy by women.
To quote the late great Audre Lorde — The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
Please fellows if you’re going to tell us what feminism is and what its aims ought to be your analysis better be sophisticated and humble so as not to offend the legions of women who’s bodies bare the scars of patriarchy.
Excellent analysis. Thank you, Benjamin Studebaker.
Hillary. Same sex as myself, but way different ethics. I read that when she was a senator, her female staff only made 73 cents to the dollar for the male staff. I’ve known many women like Hillary – the type that are out for themselves only and screw anybody and everybody who gets in their way. Yes – I agree that we women have to support each other, with discretion though. She is not for me. I am for Bernie Sanders.
[…] Source: Hillary Clinton Isn’t Particularly Good for Feminism […]
Oh, okay — why not jump in with both feet!
I’m from Barbara Jordan’s generation, race, and gender. I suspect she would agree with me that *poor* white and black women fought these battles long ago.
My godmother couldn’t join the WASPs or WACs because she was black. She became a high school science teacher and taught her black students (from a segregated DC high school) how to fly on weekends thus enabling some of them to become Tuskegee Airmen when that opportunity arose.
I wanted to fly with the Hurricane Hunters, but the Air Force didn’t have women pilots when i was that age. Male pilots had forced the closure of the WASPs and WACs when it became obvious that they would have to become ground-pounders unless they could snatch those women’s jobs.
When we couldn’t get what we really wanted, we could work around it, and, yes, oftentimes accept less — money, position, etc. But we raised our sons with different “behavioral expectations” than our fathers and husbands had. And we rejoiced to see our daughters not need to make as many compromises as we did.
Bernie has already tried to resurrect the Equal Rights Amendment. We have many more women in state legislatures than when it was proposed in 1923 or in 1972, so there is every reason to believe it will receive the necessary state ratifications in a timely manner.
Because i identify with women, with blacks, and with the poor, i’m voting for Bernie, not Hillary.
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cable connection, or examine the cable connection to the camera itself.
Anonymous — I’m sorry but I think you interpreted my “take your pick” comment literally, when it was meant as a figure of speech … in other words, “look at the alternatives” in the general election. My point was that the Republican frontrunners are truly scary. In my opinion, as flawed as either of them may be, both Bernie and Hillary are a hundred times better than any of the Republicans. A thousand times better. In fact, any of the top three candidates on the right are, for me, absolutely unthinkable.
[…] histories and what they are proposing now–Sanders’ policies are objectively better for women, for African-Americans, for poor whites, and for the mentally ill. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has […]