Anti-feminism '08

So I still haven't decided whom I would rather see win the Democratic Primary (since Michigan's primary is so FUBAR-ed, it's not really a question of who I actually ended up marking on my absentee ballot), but there've been some great on-line pieces regarding how Hillary Clinton did in the New Hampshire primary and the media's reaction to it that I thought I would round up and post here for any of you who are interested (hi Lyn!).

Feminist activist Gloria Steinam wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that provoked a lot of blog discussion about the intersections of race, gender and age in the primaries. "What worries me," she writes, "is that [Barack Obama] is seen as unifying by his race while [Hillary Clinton] is seen as divisive by her sex."

Rebecca Traister of Salon.com wrote a powerful piece on the sexism directed toward the Clinton campaign and why it matters--whether or not you're a Clinton supporter. Her conclusion?: "Here's a message from the women of New Hampshire, and me, to Hillary Clinton's exuberant media antagonists: You have no power here."

And lest you think it's only the women who have anything to say about the anti-Clinton hysteria, Jon Stewart has this observation: "I'm glad no one here ever sees me get a flu shot."

Plus, I can't shake the echo of this blog post by a father whose daughter asked him who the first woman president was. While I would not vote for a woman simply because she was a woman (I had zero interest in Elizabeth Dole's candidacy), in a field where most of the Democratic front-runners seem basically acceptable, what weight should I give the chance to vote into office the first woman president--if only so the answer to this question won't have to be "well, there hasn't been one yet"?

I'm particularly troubled by the way "women voters" (who of course are a singular entity, ha ha) are being painted as wishy-washy, fickle (read: "hormonal") girls who are reacting emotionally (read: "for shallow, irrational reasons") to the sexism of the media and Clinton's political opponents. The "women are voting for Hillary Clinton" post-NH storyline--regardless of whether it is true or not--has turned into another story about how reactive and emotional we women are, rather than a story about how legitimate our reaction against misogynist vitriol is, in the polls and elsewhere! The hatred directed toward Clinton as a woman is a stark reminder of the way all of us are still judged on the basis of our sex and gender. To respond to such hatred with anger, sadness, and activism is not irrational.

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