If Hillary Wins…

hillary_clinton.jpgMORE magazine, one of the best women’s magazines for high quality writing and a complex take on women’s lives, has a fascinating feature up on their website: If Hillary Wins… A range of feminist authors, politicians, and activists weigh on what they think a Hillary Clinton presidency would be like. Some samples:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, especially chosen to administer the oath of office, in place of the traditional Chief Justice, did not produce a Testament, Old or New. Instead, she pulled out a tattered copy of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and held it to the new Commander in Chief to swear her oath upon.
-Linda Hirshman, Get to Work
After Hillary is elected, she will realize that male presidents have been too freaked out about their own sexuality to help others. She however, having had to think long and hard about how sexuality has affected her personal and political life, will be ready for some national action on the topic. Given her personal experience with a sexually undersocialized husband, she will correct two administrations of neglect and opposition to sex education and make it a serious priority.
-Pepper Schwartz, Prime: Adventures and Advice on Love, Sex, and the Sensual Years
I was sure the first woman president would be to the right of Dick Cheney, that she’d appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and that we’d later find out she herself had had an abortion for tangled reasons that would rival Larry Craig for hypocrisy. The anti-woman woman — like Nixon going to China. So imagine my delight that we’ve got Hillary as our first! You can call her ‘establishment’ all you want, but believe me, the establishment never had cleavage.
-Gloria Feldt, Send Your Self Roses, mentor extraordinaire to so many young feminists

Why can’t the gals at MORE start a substantive, little sister magazine for us whippersnappers?

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51 Comments

  1. prairiefyre
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Why can’t us whippersnappers start our own magazine?

  2. noname
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    “one of the best women’s magazines for high quality writing and a complex take on women’s lives”
    What are they missing?

  3. CDob
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This might be totally irrelevant, but Hillary looks strong, pretty, and just plain gorgeous in this picture.

  4. KittenFluff
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’m not in love with the idea of swearing in on The Feminine Mystique, as bell hooks et al. already covered the problems with that text.

  5. viceabbess
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    um, hate to rain on the feminist parade here, but i don’t think that a hillary clinton presidency would be all that remarkable or radical…while a very capable person, she is an entrenched washington politician who is very pro-corporation and a little to hawkish in her foreign policy for my taste. need i remind you of her awful, apologetic speech she made on roe v. wade day, was it last year? or a few years ago? alas, cleavage does not a radical make.

  6. raven
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I am affirmed by this post and by so many of the other comments that have been made here that your feminism has nothing to do with me. What passes for feminism is interest group advocacy. Privileged white women wanting their slice of a rotten pie and openly not giving a damn that the rest of us are choking on it. I am a Black woman and Hillary has run a relentlessly and insidiously racist campaign up to this point. Bill Clinton would not shut up about identity politics in South Carolina and how Black people would invariably vote b/c it is good old racist strategy. In so doing,he simultaneously “ghetto-izes” Obama’s candidacy (Black candidate for Black people) and cultivates a backlash among white voters to kill the Black candidate on Super Tuesday. And I can assure you that when a white southern man calls a 46 year old U.S. Senator a “kid” he is touching a benchmark feature of american racism and he damn well knows it: white man seeking to relegate Black man to the status of “boy.” Apparently as long as the racist patriarchy benefits her, Hillary will accept and defend it. My family was poor and my community disenfranchised and she sat on the board of Walmart that openly despised labor unions and the efforts of workers to organize for their own protection. A cursory examination of the legislation passed in the Clinton years belies excessive notions of Clinton humanity and compassion. Hillary does not seek justice and she does not personify change. She wants her place in the history books. I’m not mad at her. It’s not like she’s started any unjust wars or burned down churches. But, if feminism is inclusive and transformative at its core, hers is not a feminist cause and I don’t understand your insistence on embracing it as one. Perhaps I presume too much.

  7. Commodore Angryy
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Just going to a specific part here. “After Hillary is elected, she will realize that male presidents have been too freaked out about their own sexuality to help others. She however, having had to think long and hard about how sexuality has affected her personal and political life”.
    Ok, now that i’ve isolated that part, does anyone else see something wrong with it? I’m sorry, but am i to understand that it is a feminist belief that American Presidents have been confused, and incapable throughout history due to the fact that ehy’re male? Personally, i don’t find myself confused, or freaked out by my own sexuality, and i doubt very much that many other males are either.
    May i just ask, what exactly is the guarantee that Hillary will make a better president than Obama? Is it truly just because she’s female that she’ll radically change the country? Beccause Obama is black, and there’s never been a black president before, so i’m sure as long as we’re going along with ‘opressed minority’ groups, he’s do a pretty cool job too.

  8. viceabbess
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    well said, raven! hear hear!

  9. CourtneyEMartin
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I’m not endorsing Hillary or any of the excerpts, just pointing them out because I thought some of them were insightful, and others, well pretty damn hilarious.
    Obviously this feature wasn’t focused on the issues, more of an exercise in fantasy and fun.

  10. Commodore Angryy
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Raven, i also congratulate you on pointing out that Hillary isn’t the greatest thing to ever happen to feminists. I do beleive that it is merely the fact that she’s a woman, that people think that she will do something for the cause. She is bound by the same laws, rules, and regulations as every president before her. She may in fact do absolutely nothing. She is just as likely to fail as any male candidate, or former president.

  11. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    raven,
    Hillary has the most racially diverse campaign staff, which means many minorities are her friends and chief advisors. She has fewer blacks than Obama, but well, they’re comparable.
    And Hillary has always throughout her career had a very strong stance on reproductive rights. She wants the government to make forms of contraception more affordable to low-income women, and she wants to force health insurance companies to cover it as well. When Hillary first got out of college she worked in the non-profit sector defending poor people. I feel pretty safe saying she’s got some progressive sympathies.
    But politicians do not always campaign on their truest beliefs. Look at all the stuff George W. changed up about his policies /after/ he got into office. He turned out to be a good deal more conservative than many of the people who voted for him had expected, but if you had wanted to know the truth about where his heart lie, all you would have had to do was look at his career record…
    It’s true that whoever wins won’t be able to do everything they want to do, b/c they have to work with Congress, the Supreme Court, etc.
    You can say “just because Hillary’s a woman doesn’t mean she’ll do stuff for women” Fine. fair enough. You could say the same about Obama and helping minorities. And Obama has no stance on helping women as a group… Fact is, both of these candidates are all-around fairly liberal, and both of them are going to have to work within the confines of an established, fairly conservative system.

  12. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Here go to this link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_Clinton
    And read the “College” section. Civil Rights was a big deal for Hillary.

  13. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Now please note, I’m not saying I out-and-out support Clinton over Obama. I haven’t quite made up my mind. I just think that they are obviously both very smart, liberal people, who’ve got to try and appeal to some moderates in the election. And I think to describe one as great and the other as awful just really doesn’t make any sense, b/c they are both similar in so many ways
    (neither grew up exactly poor, with the benefit of top-tier private college educations. Both have some history in large business and some history in the non-profit sector. both want universal healthcare. both are pro-choice. I don’t know Obama’s stance on reproductive rights and women’s issues in any detail, just as I don’t know Hillary’s current stance on minority issues in any detail, etc.)

  14. AndromacheLamenting
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Whatever HRC’s past history with civil rights may have been, that does not excuse the racism she has harnessed in her campaign so far. It is silly and partisan beyond belief to ignore that racism, or to deny people the right to reject HRC flat out for her use of that racism – just as many of us have rejected other candidates on the basis of their sexism.

  15. raven
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Ninapendamaishi:
    I’m bored by the condescension. Hillary’s Black “friends” are apparently not near and dear enough to change her commitment to running a racist campaign. And instead of directing me to the websites that you think are important, try and actually hear what it is that I’m saying. Pretend that Obama does not exist b/c your jockeying for Hillary’s place in the race/gender hierarchy catapulted you over my main point: Is a woman who uses the racist patriarchy as a shield and a weapon and who sits happily on the board of a company that pisses on workers rights where the working poor in this country are disproportionately women; is such a woman appropriately embraced by the feminist community as a symbol of achievement? As a feminist success story? If the answer to those questions is yes, than so be it. Just tell me that I am correct that there is no intended place in your “feminism” for women like me. Does she have transformative power or is she a lovely symbol of the possibilities of comparably privileged women? Maybe these questions are dispositive of nothing for you but I’m not looking for more benevolent masters. I want to be free and the master’s tools can not dismantle the master’s house. She is too adept in and comfortable with the use of the those tools (dialing in for patriarchal privilege when she needs to, race-baiting, fear mongering for votes…). And so, she is an appropriate feminist symbol why???

  16. Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t the gals at MORE start a substantive, little sister magazine for us whippersnappers?
    Um, there are two of them already–Bust and Bitch! They’re the best!!! :)

  17. CourtneyEMartin
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I love Bust and Bitch, but it would be nice to have a well-funded, mainstream magazine that pulled the “I’m not a feminist but…” types in with their glossy spreads and then taught them about feminism.

  18. aliciadk
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Raven: You are so on point that it’s not even funny, but trying to get the feministing crew to get it is probably a futile endeavor.
    It does not matter whether the poster of these “fantasies” is actively trying to endorse Hillary – these are quotes are. “Call her establishment all you want, the establishment never had cleavage!” Are they not all gender essentialist in their perspective that a woman president would be drastically different from a man in fundamental (though frivolous) ways? Her campaign has been blatantly racist, and as such these quotes that endorse her endorse racism, leaving no room for those of us who call ourselves feminist without being racist (or, like, war supporters…). I know everyone is really excited to have a female nominee, but it’s got to be acknowledged that Hillary is not progressive or all that different from what’s past.

  19. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    raven and aliciadk,
    If Clinton’s campaign has many blatantly racist quotes, could you please find them for us? I’ve seen one or two quotes of hers that were taken completely out of context in order to be called blatantly racist.
    And Obama has not done much for women or reproductive rights in his career, and he doesn’t have concrete policy proposals for those, with the exception of being pro-choice. So does it not make you nervous as to whether or not he would help out women once in office? Clinton’s proposed reproductive rights policies are for all women, not exclusively or even primarily priviliged women.
    I’m not asking you to support Clinton over Obama. I am just saying that I think to glorify Obama and demonize Clinton is misguided.
    And to continually make such a big deal over Clinton being priviliged, when for most of his adult life Obama too has been priviliged, doesn’t make much sense to me either.

  20. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m also not saying that Clinton has lots of cred on Civil Rights. I don’t think she does. I also don’t think Obama has much cred on reproductive rights and women’s issues. And neither of them have as much cred on either of those issues as my ideal candidate would. Unfortunately, we do not have a political climate in this country that would support my ideal candidate.
    I find it difficult to prioritize one of those issues over the other, however (Civil Rights vs. Women’s issues and poor women’s access to contraception), or to see Obama and Clinton as some kind of polar opposites.

  21. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    And I’m sorry, raven, if you felt I was being condescending.
    However, I think it’s condescending of you to assume that Clinton supporters are priviliged. I grew up in a low-income community. I have been abused. Sure, I do happen to be mostly white. But it’s not that I can’t relate to or that I don’t think minority issues are very important and in need of being seriously addressed. I happen to be an Africana studies minor. I happen to think it’s very sad that minority issues, like women’s issues, are no longer being championed by liberals (especially white liberal men) on a mass scale.
    Fact is, our congress people are nearly all millionaires who’ve had easier lives than most people, whether they be black, white, purple, what have you… I guess I’m a little tired of Clinton being scoffed at as a “white priviliged woman” because fact is, I know through friends who’ve worked there that the culture in Congress is a very sexist one, and I’m sure she’s experienced some harassment and discrimination first-hand.

  22. raven
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Never said that all Clinton supporters are privileged. Never even said it was wrong to support her. Never once “glorified” Obama. Only said that a vagina can’t reasonably be the basis for defining her presidential bid as important from a feminist perspective.

  23. Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    If MORE Magazine is, as you say, “one of the best women’s magazines for high quality writing and a complex take on women’s lives,” well God help us. The first issue of MORE I read left me feeling disappointed but hoping for better in the future. The three or four issues I’ve subsequently tried to read have left me feeling dirty and insulted. Maybe I’m alone in my middle-aged disinterest in dating and makeup advice. If I want to know what to wear or who to be seen with, there’s not shortage of advice out there in the market, I had really hoped that MORE would recognize that I’ve got bigger and better fish to fry at my age. And frankly I don’t find the quotes you’ve pulled inspiring or exciting, but facetious and insulting. Which brings me around to why I’m much less interested in H Clinton as a candidate than I am in Barack Obama, than I was in John Edwards — I believe that both of these men have the good of our country at heart. I’m afraid H. Clinton only has room in her heart for what’s best for Hillary.

  24. waxghost
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    “I’m afraid H. Clinton only has room in her heart for what’s best for Hillary.”
    What do you base this on?

  25. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    raven,
    I guess I read that into it because of comments like these:
    “Does she have transformative power or is she a lovely symbol of the possibilities of comparably privileged women?”
    I certainly don’t think Clinton would help only priviliged women. I think she would aim to help poor underpriviliged women and other women alike. And I think that not on the basis of having a vagina I would agree with you, but rather on the basis of her track record and current stance.
    And as to the accusation of her running an “insiduously racist” campaign. The subconscious or passive racism that exists almost everywhere in this country is one thing, but “insiduously racist” is a pretty strong term. I just haven’t seen anything that makes me feel that’s the case. Not to mention as a politician, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want to come across that way publically no matter what her personal beliefs. But then again I haven’t been following the news very closely. So if you wanted to provide some links, you’d be more than welcome…

  26. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Then of course, there is the unfortunate fact that the people who can get the most done as President of the good ol’ USA are not necessarily the people who have the purest heart, but rather the people who can play the game and make most of the big players feel like they’re getting something they want…

  27. Elianah
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    “Hillary has the most racially diverse campaign staff, which means many minorities are her friends and chief advisors. She has fewer blacks than Obama, but well, they’re comparable.” Sounds like the ‘I have black friends” approach.
    I’m still not sure what I think (although I’m swinging toward Obama) but I think it’s disgusting to think her ‘femaleness’ will rule her presidency over what she might actually think. Give her more respect then that, please. H. Clinton has the ability to make decisions based on reasons, not gender.

  28. Elianah
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Hillary has the most racially diverse campaign staff, which means many minorities are her friends and chief advisors. She has fewer blacks than Obama, but well, they’re comparable.

  29. Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    waxghost, I base that assessment on over 20 years of watching Hillary compromise what I once believed were her principles — what may indeed have once been her principles — in order to achieve and maintain political power. Her Senate votes supporting Bush are the most obvious example. Bill didn’t get into it with Iraq, depsite Hussein’s despicable human rights abuses, because he was advised that a war with Iraq was virtually unwinnable, would do more harm than good. If there was only one person in the Senate who knew that invading Iraq was a damned fool idea, it was Hillary, and yet she voted for it, IMO because she was more concerned about voting against popular opinion than she was about doing the right thing.

  30. Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Hillary Clinton gets a lot of criticism for being hard driving, calculating, politically ruthless and focused on winning at all costs.
    I don’t have a problem with any of those characteristics in a political leader. I don’t vote for people based on whether or not “I want to have a beer with them.”
    In fact working class people could use a tough President who has been battle-tested by years of savage attacks from all sides.
    The trouble with Hillary Clinton is that she’s not on our side…. she’s on the side of wealthy corporate power.
    The BobboSphere
    Bob Simpson

  31. DaveNJ17
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks this whole, “Getting sworn in by Ruth Bader Ginsberg on a copy of the Feminine Mystique” is exactly the kind of stereotyping that Clinton doesn’t need? I mean, I understand that a woman president would be unprecedented in our history, but to say stuff like that just seems a little off.

  32. waxghost
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    dampscribbler, let’s be realistic: that’s what politicians do, sell out on their principles to retain power. Unfortunately, that is how politics work. If you don’t have power, you can’t get anything done, but if you refuse to waver on your principles, you will probably not retain power.
    Accusing Hillary (and only Hillary) of that only makes me think that you can’t handle the idea of an ambitious woman.

  33. Posted February 1, 2008 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I never accused only Hillary of that. I’m aware that politicians do that kind of crap all the time, but I think Hillary compromised her positions when she didn’t need to. Maybe she considered her positions strategic, but I’m allowed to think of them as spineless. I think the positions that she chose to take against the words she tossed around for two decades belie the fact that she’s not comfortable with her power –she simply doesn’t believe she can maintain her power in the face of challenging times. John McCain has pulled the same kind of crap during his campaigning over the last year, and it’s caused me to distrust and dislike him. Gender has nothing to do with it, though since I’m new to posting here I’ll forgive you (this time) for suggesting I “can’t handle the idea of an ambitious woman.” What I want is a candidate who will clearly state his or her convictions and then stand by them — through the campaign and through a Presidency. In the case of some of the Republican candidates, that’s also exactly what I most fear. If the candidate’s convictions are similar to my own, then I don’t care if the candidate is man, woman, black, white, hispanic, gay, or some combination of the above, that is the person I want to be behind. There are exceptions, however — I voted for Nader in 2000, but his candidacy in 2004 appalled me because it so obviously siphoned desperately-needed Democratic votes for Gore.

  34. iheartben
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Raven – Yes. Yes. Yes!
    and oh my god…
    “a vagina can’t reasonably be the basis for defining her presidential bid as important from a feminist perspective.”
    YES!!!

  35. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    “Sounds like the ‘I have black friends” approach.”
    I would agree with you, if Clinton herself was going around pointing that out. But she’s not, I brought it up… And I think that if she has a significant number of behind-the-scenes trusted advisors (which are essentially what a campaign staff is) that are of minority status, it’s harder to accuse her of being “insiduously racist”. That was pretty much my only point.
    ‘”a vagina can’t reasonably be the basis for defining her presidential bid as important from a feminist perspective.”‘
    Well, I think on one level it undoubtedly is: that is, can a woman yet be elected President in this country? But as far as particular issues go, I think everyone at feministing is smart enough to realize that individual stances matter…
    But I insist that it’s tough with all these politicians to know exactly what they’d really stand for if they could do anything they wanted… While I don’t exactly support the whole “war on terror” thing, if supporting it is the only way Clinton can be taken seriously as a woman candidate for office (which I’ve heard theoroized) and she gets elected, she’d then be able to withdraw troops if she wanted. Obama hasn’t exactly been talking much about the whole Civil Rights thing, either, even though I believe he probably cares about it. Both these guys have to work extra hard to not scare off the moderate Americans (primarily white men)
    I agree I don’t like the fact that Clinton is associated with Walmart. But I don’t honestly know what decisions she makes as a board member, as opposed to other people on the board, or what her motivation for it is…

  36. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    This is even more philosophical, but if Clinton beats out Obama for the nomination and then goes on to win the presidency, and her moderate (even what could be seen as shifting) stances on certain issues while campaigning have something to do with that, who’s to say she wasn’t being quite deliberate all along?
    At the least, a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a large improvement over a Bush presidency, and probably a little improvement over a Bill Clinton presidency (Bill has reportedly said that up until when he was president he felt that Hillary always cared more about the issues and was more dedicated than he was)
    Would Clinton or Obama have more chance at winning over the whole of America? I honestly don’t know… I’ve heard arguments in both directions… I’ll be happy if either wins…

  37. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    Actually, here is an interesting article regarding Clinton and her Walmart affiliations:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/us/politics/20walmart.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
    Basically comes to the conclusion that her actions were too liberal for the Republicans, and not liberal enough for the very liberals. Not too surprising, really.

  38. amanohyo
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the link to the Walmart article and the reasoned responses, Ninapendamaishi. I agree that there is some subtle racism on the part of the Hillary campaign as Raven’s examples show, but calling it “relentlessly and insidiously racist” is excessive. All of the “racist” Clinton quotes I have heard need to be presented out of context to even qualify as racism.
    It’s really, really hard to look at Hillary and not see yet another incredibly hard-working, over-qualified woman who has to work three times as hard as the guys around her to reach her goals. I know she’s wealthy and white and the former first lady, but in the absence of any significant platform differences, it seems obvious to me that having a vagina IS a reasonable basis for defining her bid as important from a feminist persepctive.
    As intelligent people, we all understand that issues and experience should trump gender and/or race, but over two hundred years of American history, and human history in general has shown that this is not the case. It baffles me how any woman, much less any feminist could take a good look at these two candidates and come down strongly against Hillary.
    Do you honestly think that Obama can singlehandedly enact more changes than Hillary? If so, what personal qualities does he possess that give him this edge? Does anyone seriously believe that anything either of them says now has anything to do with what their position will be in the general election, to say nothing of what they would try to do if they were elected, to say nothing of what they would actually accomplish in office? They are both skilled politicians, they will both have to make compromises in order to nudge the country to the left.
    I hate to state the obvious, but the US population is 51% women and 12% african american, yet women received the right to vote after african american men. I understand frustrations about feminism primarily benefiting wealthy white women and it’s clear that race is a huge issue in America that still needs to be addressed. However, gender is to race as Hillary’s political experience is to Obama’s. There’s just no comparing the two. Hang a noose, and it (rightfully) becomes national news. Threaten to rape and kill a woman? Nothing. Actually rape and kill a woman (who isn’t beautiful and young and/or pregnant)? Yawn… happens all the time. Maybe you’ll get a blurb in the local paper if she’s white and well connected. Gender inequities are far, far more ingrained in our society and in humanity in general than race is or could ever be.
    In the end, we have two politicians with similar platforms who will have to work in a difficult, constrained environment to solve important problems. One of them is less friendly with big business, opposed the war in Iraq before it started, opposes it now, and has facial pigmentation. The other is more friendly with big business, has much, much more experience, may not have been strongly opposed to the war before it started, opposes it now, and has a vagina.
    As crass and simplistic and sexist as it may be, given these two candidates, Hillary wins my vote hands down not only because she has a better shot at enacting change, but because she has a vagina, just like 51% of the country. By no means should the possession of a vagina be the only valid criterion for judgement (there are plenty of anti-women, women out there, and some of them are politicians), but any feminist who claims that it isn’t an important factor in this election after researching these two candidates is delusional or willfully ignorant about the patriachal world we live in and have lived in for all of recorded human history.

  39. lyra27
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree, amanohyo. To the patriarchy, gender-blindness by feminists looks like apathy to, and complicity with, the status quo, even when motivated by idealism.

  40. aliciadk
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    “I hate to state the obvious, but the US population is 51% women and 12% african american, yet women received the right to vote after african american men”
    I thought this was corrected after Gloria Steinem’s really misguided op-ed? Men were given the “right,” but with literacy tests, lynchings, and the Jim Crow Laws they couldn’t actually vote until the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
    Were white women ever segregated from men? Were they ever slaves? Say it’s a matter of degree, but your whole argument for how sexism trumps racism discounts the fact that our country’s history with race has been so fucked up that we just have to act like it doesn’t exist anymore lest people bring up that past from which we are sooooo detached, right? Obviously sexism exists, is prevalent, is systemic, and is disgusting. But, um, the fucked up way brown, black, and yellow people have been treated and are treated through imperialism, internment camps, etc… it’s all been pretty fucking serious. So just think about that next time you wanna say racism loses the oppression olympics.
    And your girl Hillary voted for Iraq and won’t say it was a bad idea. What the fuck is up with that? Cause I think that totally trumps the magic that is her vagina. She does not “oppose” the war now, she does not admit it was conceptually wrong from the start – she only wants the troops out because it’s the politically sound thing to do. But what about Kyl-Lieberman? What about her rather right-wing views on torture? What about NAFTA – will she fix the mess Bill created with that? Obama has addressed these things and more in a manner that is befitting of a democrat, no matter the skin color, no matter the genitalia.

  41. raven
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    amanohyo & ninapendamaishi:
    I haven’t addressed your questions about where the Clinton racism is b/c I don’t like to waste my time. Without the noose that you referenced, a quote, a burning cross or an ugly epithet, you just can’t see it. Which would be fine, except you then presume to tell ME that’s it’s not there. You are your father’s child. You’ve inherited and embraced his essentialist ways and his pathological blindness to his own biases. And like him, your arrogance deafens you.
    “Bill Clinton would not shut up about identity politics in South Carolina and how Black people would invariably vote b/c it is good old racist strategy. In so doing,he simultaneously “ghetto-izes” Obama’s candidacy (Black candidate for Black people) and cultivates a backlash among white voters to kill the Black candidate on Super Tuesday. And I can assure you that when a white southern man calls a 46 year old U.S. Senator a “kid” he is touching a benchmark feature of american racism and he damn well knows it: white man seeking to relegate Black man to the status of “boy.” Apparently as long as the racist patriarchy benefits her, Hillary will accept and defend it.â€? Look up insidious. It applies.
    That’s me in my initial post explaining to you where you would find the racism if you had the eyes and inclination to see.
    “…gender is to race as Hillary’s political experience is to Obama’s. There’s just no comparing the two…. Gender inequities are far, far more ingrained in our society and in humanity in general than race is or could ever be.â€?
    That’s you talking about something you clearly don’t understand and-from that place of ignorance-insulting the intersectional, cross-edifying, both/and existence of Black women and other women of color.
    Finally, let me clarify the vagina comment for you. It wasn’t about questioning Hillary’s qualifications aside from having one. It certainly wasn’t about questioning women’s support of her on the basis of them having one in common with her. What I have been futilely trying to get across is the question of whether or not feminism is interrogating itself. Can the cause of a white WOMAN with values and choices that are no less threatening to the inclusion and well-being of Black people (one half of whom are Black WOMEN) be legitimately embraced as a feminist cause? If the answer is yes (and your comments strongly indicate that answer) than isn’t what you are calling feminism just sustained advocacy for a subset of women-mostly the more privileged white ones. What keeps tripping me up is this expectation that I have for some reason that something called feminism would be about so much more.

  42. raven
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Aliciadk:
    Is it too late for you to get in the race? You have SO got my vote!!!

  43. aliciadk
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh Raven, you’d totally be my running mate!

  44. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    “I haven’t addressed your questions about where the Clinton racism is b/c I don’t like to waste my time. Without the noose that you referenced, a quote, a burning cross or an ugly epithet, you just can’t see it. Which would be fine, except you then presume to tell ME that’s it’s not there. You are your father’s child. You’ve inherited and embraced his essentialist ways and his pathological blindness to his own biases. And like him, your arrogance deafens you.”
    Umm… and /that/ isn’t condescending? Don’t go lumping me in with the chick above who was trying to argue that sexism was worse than racism in this country… I think the two are conceptually similar in some ways and different in others, and I have no desire to rank one as a bigger deal than the other.
    I never said Bill Clinton’s remark wasn’t racist. I think Bill Clinton is sort of a jackass, personally, beginning with the Lewinsky scandal.
    I said, find me quotes where /Hillary Clinton/ said blatantly racist things. And I don’t think you should assume for me that I wouldn’t see them. And even though I’ve seen a couple of quotes of hers that don’t look good as sound-bites, they hardly seemed like they were things meant to be either reflective of her general worldview, or things that would persuade voters one way or the other…

  45. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Also, just out of curiosity:
    How do you feel about the fact that Obama doesn’t support universal healthcare, and isn’t prioritizing providing universal access to contraception?
    Does this mean he doesn’t care about poor women (of all races, obviously)?

  46. amanohyo
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    I admit that I am troubled by the “boy” comment, and I think Clinton is smart enough to know that it was a racist thing to say. I’m not sure what you reasonably expected Hillary to do about her husband’s words though. By saying that I find the racism subtle, I am not presuming to tell you it’s not there. I am saying that characterizing it as “relentless” is kind of extreme. Although, now that I look up the word insidious, I think that is an accurate adjective.
    Your basic claim is that the values and choices of Hillary Clinton are more threatening to the inclusion and well being of black people than the values and choices of Obama. I don’t really understand how Hillary’s presidency is going to damage the lives of black people to any greater extent. I actually think her health care plan serves the needs of black people slightly better than Obama’s.
    As far as the oppression olympics go, I didn’t mean to insult the “intersectional, cross-edifying, both/and existence of Black women and other women of color.” At least… I don’t think I did. But I stand by the conclusion that gender trumps race in this election and in general, based on my admittedly anecdotal evidence as a non-white male who has lived and worked in small and large cities in Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, California, and Maryland. People have become very skilled at spotting racism. It rears its ugly head far too often and inspires passionate responses and denials, but at least it gets recognized. The thing about sexism is that most of the time it is completely unnoticed and is almost universally denied or excused.
    What really confuses me is that so many idealistic, inspired people seem to believe that there are significant differences between these two candidates as far as what they will try to do when they are in office. I just don’t see it.
    They are both politicians. They do not base their actions solely on their personal beliefs. Obama took a political risk when he opposed the war, but he took the position knowing full well that there were potential political rewards. Hillary decided that it was politically dangerous to appear weak as a woman, and she supported the war.
    I guess I still cynically believe that only ignorant, stubborn, self-righteous fools like Bush can actually force the government to conform to their own personal ideals. Reasonable people like Obama and Hillary, listen to others, make compromises, and try to represent all of the American people as best they can, even those they disagree with. Bush made such a dramatic change because he is such a lousy politician. Obama and Clinton are both excellent politicians, so it doesn’t make a huge difference to the country which one of them is in office on a policy level.
    However, on a social level, the fact that the president finally is a woman will make a far greater positive impact than the fact that the president is finally nonwhite. I understand that black women will not feel this positive impact to a very large extent, and I agree that feminism shouldn’t be about continuing to privilege wealthy, white women over poor women and women of color, but there will be a benefit to all women in the world. Laugh if you will, but that vagina does have the ability to work some powerful magic for all women simply by belonging to the “leader of the free world.”
    It’s not like I think sexism will magically vanish when Hillary becomes president, but it will put a pretty big crack in the foundations of the status quo. If Obama was actually able to deliver on everything that he’s promising, quite a few large cracks would appear during his presidency, but I listen to him speak, and I just don’t think he has the ability to execute.
    He’s done a great job of inspiring young people and the NPR crowd, but pragmatic people have heard grand promises about changing the way Washington is run too many times to get caught up in the excitement. He’s black, he’s young, he’s charismatic, but I’m still waiting to hear how exactly he is going to be able to actually push through his policies any better than Hillary.
    Underneath it all, I’m probably afraid that this is the only chance in my life that I’ll ever see a qualified, liberal nonmale candidate with a real shot at winning. I am much more confident that there will be another qualified liberal black, male candidate sometime in my life. This fear could be the result of sexist expectations on my part, but I can’t help it. It’s just too ridiculous that we haven’t had a woman as president yet.
    Sorry about the long post, I really am trying to understand the appeal of Obama. I would be proud to have him as our president, but he just seems a litle too naive and vague to be as effective as Hillary, who is usually much more specific and has made universal health care her life’s work.

  47. raven
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    “Your basic claim is that the values and choices of Hillary Clinton are more threatening to the inclusion and well being of black people than the values and choices of Obama.”
    Amanohyo:
    Not so. Not so. I do support Obama, but none of my posts have been about how or why I think he would make a better president than Hillary. None of them. I’ve been talking about feminism, who it stands for, and what it stands for. Is it inclusionary or exclusionary? If it is the latter, than can it be legitimately called feminism or shouldn’t it be called something else? I haven’t asked anyone to justify her support for Hillary Clinton and have not shared any critiques/opinions of her policies. My initial and consistent inquiry has been about whether her candidacy can correctly be identified as a feminist cause where her values and choices have not promoted concern/inclusion for considerable segments of the female population.
    “Laugh if you will, but that vagina does have the ability to work some powerful magic for all women simply by belonging to the “leader of the free world.”
    Listen, if having a vagina is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Not hating on the vagina. Simply saying that a person with one-generally speaking-could also conceivably be oppressive, inhumane or exclusionary with respect to other women. Such a person may symbolize achievement, but she is not a feminist and to embrace her as one is to embrace the inhumanity, oppression, and exclusion as feminist values. That really is what I’ve been talking about. Thanks for your comments.

  48. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    amanohyo,
    I think it would be really interesting to hear more about your experiences in politics, and with sexism and racism in that arena…
    I’m sure you have an interesting perspective.

  49. raven
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Ninapendamaishi:
    1.I believe Obama’s position is that there should not be a federally regulated mandate for purchasing health care. Seems to think that when it is made affordable, people will voluntarily purchase it because people actually want to be able to go to the doctor when they get sick. I honestly don’t know if that would turn out to be a better plan than what Hillary is offering, but you’ve misrepresented his position.
    2. I don’t think “chick” is a feminist term.

  50. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really have a problem with people calling me “chick” but I would would agree with you that it’s not an inherently feminist term (the male equivalent for me would be “guy” or “dude”). I tend to use casual speech and copious amounts of slang and profanity (I mean, I’m in college, not the professional world yet)
    I would also agree with you that I don’t know all the implications of Obama’s position. I believe one thing it would do, though, is to keep health insurance privatized, which keeps a lot of power in the corporate hands, uses up a lot of money, and tends to affect the decisions doctor’s make. And if he really thought everyone would purchase the health insurance, why he wouldn’t just want it to be universal is beyond me… I’m thinking it’s so that rich people can purchase their own health insurance and demand higher quality or something (I’ve heard people complain that the problem with a system like Mexico’s is that while everyone is covered, everyone is covered /at the same level/, better than the U.S.’s worse but worse than the U.S.’s best, so rich Mexicans fly to other countries to receive higher quality care (or expensive procedure’s with low success rates), on par with rich people in the U.S. and Europe) But this is just speculation on my part…

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