Monday, February 15, 2016

Feminism and the Democratic primaries

Peggy O'Donnell analyzes the support that Bernie Sanders has won from younger female voters that recently led to stunning gaffes from Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright: Feminism’s fault lines: understanding young women’s support for Bernie Berkeley Blog 02/12/16

The financial crash of 2008 was a defining moment of many millennials’ lives, women and men alike, arriving just as they were entering college or the professional world and profoundly redrawing the map of their future. In failing to account for why young women would support Sanders for economic reasons rather than Clinton for gendered ones, Steinem and Albright’s comments fail to acknowledge the part of recent history where capitalism failed people, young people and women in particular, whose Great Recession reality hardly matches their parents’ and grandparents’ upwardly mobile hopes.

And they miss the part of feminist history where the system women fought so hard to participate in — the same system that Clinton, with her financial ties to Wall Street, and Albright, a former board member on the New York Stock Exchange, do participate in — not only failed to deliver liberation and equality, but actually blew up in their faces. ...

Or maybe young women are more radical than Steinem gives them credit for. Are we really to believe that Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, is more radical than a wild-haired socialist from Vermont? In Thursday’s Democratic debate, Sanders shrugged off the notion that his candidacy would ruin the opportunity for America to have its first female president. “I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment, as well,” he said, to loud applause.

Perhaps Steinem and Albright’s comments sparked such an outcry because the historical moment for educated, white, well-off women to claim a uniquely oppressed status solely on the basis of their gender has long since passed. The power they fought for — the power to participate in professional and political settings on the same footing as men, or to build their own equivalents — may not be the power many millennial women value most. For many, non-white women, single mothers, and others who feel economic hardship, power comes with economic security. The more difficult truth for feminism is that wage equality isn’t enough if men and women alike don’t make a living wage.
Amanda Marcotte provides a complimentary view, warning of the chronic media "hags-vs-bimbos narrative." (Dowd, Steinem take the bait: Sexist “catfight” narrative around the Clinton campaign takes hold in latest case of nasty gender politics Salon 02/08/216)

Also, in totally unsurprising non-news, Maureen Dowd is still totally demented on any topic involving the name "Clinton": The Political Economy of Interest Rates Revisited New York Times 02/12/20169

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