Robin Abcarian has written a devastating opinion piece in the LA Times in response to the Hilary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Madeleine Albright, “I’m a real feminist” debacle.
Abcarian aregues that, as I suggested on Friday (https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/20-somethings/), the flow of history has moved on. The Hilary Clintons, Gloria Steinems and Madeleine Albrights of my generation have failed to notice that, as Abcarian writes, “the old order no longer obtains.”
This became even more obvious when
Clinton compounded the insults on Sunday, when she was asked about Steinem and Albright on “Meet the Press.” “Good grief,” she declared disingenuously, “we’re getting offended by everything these days. People can’t say anything without offending somebody.”
It is hard to imagine Clinton being equally sanguine of comments like those made by Steinem and Albright, had they been made by a man. Imagine a man saying, “Women are only voting for Bernie Sanders because they are hoping to get a date.” The backlash would have been ferocious. It makes one’s heart stop.
Clinton needs to step away from her knee-jerk “feminism” and understand that as the LA Times comments,
Feminism is not a battle between the genders. It’s about ideologies that support equality and womanhood. Several commenters said feminism does not require a woman in office at all.
Feminism has moved on. Clinton has not moved on with the young women who are able to see that true feminism can be reflected in the political position of a man more accurately than the ideology of a woman just because she is a woman.
The LA Times went on the report feedback from readers:
“It is extremely patronizing to women to assume and frankly expect their vote simply because of gender. It should be based on the issues, including who will be a better advocate for women,” Sarah Michael wrote on Facebook.
“Feminists choosing her just because she is a woman, is the opposite of what feminism means. A ‘person’ should be elected by their records, not their gender,” Melissa Pugh wrote.
‘Vote for me because I’m a woman’ is cheap and condescending. Proud of these young ladies for voting on issues that matter,” “attorw1″ wrote in the comments.
And Daily Kos offers a devastating critique of those who assume that young people should be coaxed to vote for a woman simply because she is a woman.
Millenials and GenX women see people as equals and because they do, they can judge people and politicians by the content of their character and not by the nature of their genitalia. They aren’t as concerned as older feminists about electing “the first female president” because they have full confidence that they will see that in their lifetime, as they have grown up with female role models all around them, from doctors, executives, scientists, supreme court justices, and secretaries of state. They know it will come. So they aren’t as willing to grade on the curve when it comes to women running for President. They fully expect those women to meet the challenge on their merits, and if those merits are found wanting or lacking, they judge that as equally as they do for men. These young women are smart too. They know how to find out what they need to know about the people who are vying for their votes. Hillary Clinton has a searchable, verifiable history and good or bad these young women are capable of perusing it and seeing if they find it acceptable or not, just as they can do with any of the other candidates who are running. Because of technology today, these generations are easily more informed and knowledgable , and know where to go to research a candidates history. They can also research Bernie Sanders history, and find out if he is someone they would trust to be the President of the United States, and if he is someone they can trust to work for their interests.
Your dismissal of these young women as just being horny and supporting Bernie simply to find boys, is sooo disappointing on so many levels. But it isn’t just you. It’s so many feminists of your generation. Older feminists have been fighting for so long for equality for women that they can’t see that so many of their battles have been WON!! Not all, but so many battles have been won.
Shame on you, Gloria, and all baby boomer feminists for slut shaming the younger women for following their own judgement. You do a disservice to yourself and all you’ve done as well when you insist that all women should want to vote for a woman, simply because she is a woman.
The universe of gender relations has shifted. The LA Times concludes:
For many, when it comes down to it, the vote for or against Clinton has nothing to do with feminism.
How ironic if it is in fact the twenty-something young people who have matured into adult feminists while the “radicals” of my generation are being left behind currying favour by fighting old battles that are no longer relevant.
if the Letters to the Editor at the NY Times are anything to go by, the Steinem/Albright approach to dialogue with 20-Somethings may be a less successful strategy than they had hoped and Hilary might be wishing she had done a little more to distance herself from her henchwomen:
“Letters to the Editor” NY Times
To the Editor:
Re “Female Icons Tell the Young to Get With It” (front page, Feb. 8):
As a female college student preparing to enter “the real world,” I find that there is little that is more important to me than feminism. But I am tired of being condescended to by other women about the presidential election.
I find Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright’s arguments that young women who support Bernie Sanders need to wise up incredibly offensive. (Ms. Steinem has apologized.) How dare these women imply that young women who vote for Senator Sanders are simply too immature and absent-minded to understand that Hillary Clinton is the better candidate?
Is it possible that some young women are voting for Mr. Sanders because they agree with his policies more?
Sure, to cast a vote for Mrs. Clinton is to support a woman. But she is not a messiah, and her presidency would certainly not be the end of a long road for feminism.
Ms. Steinem and Ms. Albright are reacting to Mrs. Clinton’s lack of support among young female voters by slinging insults at the women who have supported and looked up to them for years. If we are going to assume that women are intelligent enough to form their own opinions, then women must respect other women’s choices.
A woman can be a feminist and vote for Mr. Sanders, and no amount of tantrum-throwing from powerful women will change that. When it comes down to it, Ms. Steinem and Ms. Albright’s inflammatory claims will serve only to further divide feminists, as they perpetuate the very chasm they lament.
To the Editor:
Although a 67-year-old feminist, I am horrified and angry that Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright think that Hillary Clinton should be nominated because she is a woman. That is no different from losing because you are a woman.
Choosing the Democratic presidential nominee is not and never should be a feminist issue. The nominee must be the best person for the job: the person with the most experience and the ability to be elected. Mrs. Clinton has the most experience to run the country and a greater ability to win the election than Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
In 1972 George McGovern was the Sanders of his day, handicapped by the perception that he was a left-leaning extremist. McGovern lost all but one state, and a landslide victory (and mandate) ensued for Richard Nixon and the Republicans, ushering in a shameful period of American history.
The stakes in this election are extremely high and will determine whether the United States will move further right toward an oligarchy or left toward greater democracy.
To the Editor:
If ever there were an opportunity to alienate young women voters, Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright are carrying the torch with their bewildering reprimands of young female supporters of Bernie Sanders. The cluelessness of these feminist elders is astounding.
Senator Sanders is appealing by virtue of a progressive message that resonates deeply with younger people of both sexes. As a woman over 50 with deep affinity for the feminist movement, I support Bernie Sanders. I am also embarrassed for the Clinton campaign and the message these endorsements evoke.
We need to encourage and inspire young women who are enthusiastically embracing a social justice platform, not scold them. More important, if social media is any indication, the insulting messages that young women who do not support Hillary Clinton are going to a “special place in hell” (Ms. Albright) or seeking the attention of boys (Ms. Steinem) is backfiring terribly.