The Littlest Meap

In which I betray my gender for common sense

Posted by: meaplet on: June 6, 2008

I am a Registered Female, and so naturally I get regular email from NOW in my college email account (I think I may have been signed up when I participated in a pro-choice rally at some point?) Periodically I agree with what they have to say; periodically I roll my eyes. Never have I been made more angry by NOW than I was this morning.


Hillary Clinton’s campaign inspired millions of women across the
country, and the increased female voter turnout has helped many women
running for office – but will those women candidates now face a media
gauntlet that is more about their gender than their qualifications?

I understand NOW endorsing Hillary Clinton for no reason other than her gender. They are, after all, the National Organization for Women, not the National Organization for People Whose Politics I Agree With. But to continue blaming her gender for the fact that she lost after the last six months is dishonest self-victimization.

Clinton ran a close race; she lost relatively narrowly. The media dismissed her EXACTLY as they would have dismissed a man in her position. It is not her femininity that made people predict that she would lose; it was the fact that she spent most of the last six months behind in votes and behind in delegates. Before Iowa she was the media’s darling, and the fact that Barack Obama took over that position has entirely to do with their relative position in the race and nothing to do with either his skin color or her gender. (The decisions of a lot of the voters were doubtless affected by these things; both issues came up frequently in the news; but they did not affect the relative assessment of who stood where in the race)

I look forward to voting for a woman candidate for President, but I will do that only when there is a woman who I agree with running for office.

ETA: Ok, I just re-read the original statement, and it was probably not worth nearly as much anger as I threw at it just now. The real thing I’m upset about here is the fact that NOW doesn’t seem to be seeing the victory of a woman getting as far as Clinton did. They, like the Clinton campaign in general has been doing since she fell behind, have resorted to gender-based victim playing rather than taking an honest look at the race and the many other factors that have resulted in Obama winning.

1 Response to "In which I betray my gender for common sense"

I don’t have much patience for those expressions of feminism that consist of obscuring what progress has been made in order to emphasize the problems that exist. Not that every discussion of women has to start with “thank goodness we can wear pants and vote and retain property when married and get professional educations,” but a serious discussion of women in public life really ought to take the success stories into account. There are success stories because feminism works, you’d think organizations like NOW would want to acknowledge that.

The strain of criticism of this election that dismisses the strength of racism in order to play up sexism also drives me crazy. The discussion about feminism being only for white women was such a big part of the transition from second-wave to third-wave feminism, and now a bunch of the second-wavers seem to have forgotten all about it. The demographic issues were SO complicated and difficult to accurately pin down in this race that analyses like Gloria Steinem’s (so many months ago) are just irritatingly reductive.

ALSO, completely unrelated to this post, you know that Steampunk article in the NY Times you have in your bookmarks? Did it seem strange to you that it never mentioned clockwork? Or do I have a stilted sense of the importance of clockwork in the steampunk aesthetic?

(You don’t have to reply to all of this. Self, stop blabbering and go back to work.)

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