Thursday, January 10, 2008

Women Over Forty

The NY Times today has an article about how older women (> 40 years old) may be more supportive of Hillary Clinton than are younger women. The author of the article attributes this split to the fact that younger women have "grown up in a world of greater parity " and therefore "seemed less likely to allow gender to influence their vote".

The article quotes a 73 year old former professor of women's studies; she is a Clinton supporter. Her 39 year old daughter, who works for a "nonprofit feminist organization", is not because, as she (the daughter) says: “Senator Clinton’s struggles are not my own, and they are not those of my generation of women,” and “The idea of a woman being president just does not seem to be as powerful or as revolutionary to me as it does to feminists of my mother’s generation.”

This blog post is not about Clinton vs. Obama vs. anyone, and I am not proposing that women vote for Clinton because she is a woman. Nor I am implying that I will vote for her. I am writing about this article because the quotation above from the 39 year old woman made me wonder whether I somehow missed an important event in American history: has there been a woman president before? I am quite sure there has not been. How would it not be revolutionary to have a woman president of the United States?

And why would a "nonprofit feminist organization" even exist if the US were really a society in which the gender of politicians truly didn't matter? I wonder what this organization does. I wonder if this woman ever reads the news. Is she aware of all the sexist comments that have been made about Clinton? Methinks these indicate that gender is an issue in this election.

The part about Clinton's struggles not being this younger woman's "own" and not of her generation really annoyed me. I am apparently showing my age by my reaction, but is it only the > 40 year old women who still struggle to be taken seriously, to be paid the same fair wage as men for the same job, and to have the same opportunities? This younger woman can vote for whomever she wants, but if she thinks that the struggles of oldsters like her mother and me are confined to our generations, then I hope she gets a clue for her 40th birthday.


hypatia said...

So I'm a woman under 40. And I'm not voting for Hillary. Not because she is/isn't a woman, but because she doesn't actually support very many female friendly policies. (Edwards is much better at this).

I think the distinction I would make between my mother's generation and my own is that I don't believe that having a woman as president (breaking the ultimate glass ceiling) is going to end the struggle for women's rights. I'm a bit afraid that will allow lots of people to actually say "see we've solved it all. A woman is president. What more do you want?"

I think having policies in place that support women's rights (human rights) and family friendly policies (employee friendly policies) is going to end the struggle for women's rights.

alh said...

I'm 29, I am most likely going to vote for Hillary. Her struggles are my struggles. Maybe some will see a women president as the end of the struggle. But I think the greatest barrier to women's rights isn't policy, but women themselves. Until ALL women believe that they should be treated equally, there will be a struggle for women's rights on some level. If a women president makes a few more women believe that equality is right and deserved then it's worth it to me.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree, FSP. How can she not see the sexist crap that is being slung at Clinton?

Also, why does everybody refer to her as Hillary and not Clinton? We say 'Bush' 'Obama' and 'Edwards', why not 'Clinton'? And don't tell me that it's because of Bill, because if that were the case, why don't we refer to Bush as George W Bush always to distinguish him from his father?

Jackie M. said...

Age 31. I'm not sure who I'll vote for--I'd be happy with anyone who's not Republican, frankly. But I admit I'd really, really happy to see either Obama or Clinton as president. Because of race, because of gender. I'm just not sure which is more important, more revolutionary... it's a pity I can't have both in one candidate.

Anonymous said...

A book that I think may help explain why young women don't feel the need to support a woman president is "Female Chauvinist Pigs" by Ariel Levy. I think there is a lot of dangerous backsliding in terms of feminism among women under 40 (and especially under 35 or so). I'm not saying women should have to vote for Clinton at all. However, their unwillingness is a symptom of this backslide, I think. (BTW, I'm 30, female, and supporting Clinton.)

ScienceGirl said...

I'm under 40 (under 30 actually), and I am voting for Clinton. Not because she is a woman, but because she has my views AND my struggles. The hypothetical 39 y.o. is either very naive, or just that - hypothetical.

Anonymous said...

Note that she has printed her campaign signs as Hillary and not Clinton. There are a lot of people in the country who are concerned about the family lines in the white house at this point - dynastic politics. There was a Clinton president 8 years ago.... Bush/Clinton/Clinton/Bush/Bush/-? The last name is not a help in this campaign as it is a reminder of that, which in itself is an issue for many. I think the use of first name is more tied to that than anything else. Other factors related to her personal life with Bill come into play because, fair or not, they present themselves in the minds of some people in a negative way. The first name use defines her individually from Bill in both those instances. It may only be superficial - or subconsciously affect people who don't think too deeply- but it does serve a purpose that benefits her.

Anonymous said...

Just a little bit of trivia -- an American woman was president of a country, just not the USA. Janet Jagan, born in Chicago, was elected president of the South American country of Guyana in 1997. She served until 1999.

Anonymous said...
The NY Times just ran a piece by Gloria Steinem about this, and she makes some great points. I strongly recommend reading it.

But her reasoning is slightly faulty in at least one respect: she says that "male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t." I would point out that Black voters have also been "seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t."

Me, I'm thrilled that for the first time we have even a *chance* of a President who looks like some of us in the rest of America. I think if we go the next, say, forty terms without another white protestant male in the white house, it'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Haydin--NPR addressed this very issue not long ago (on Morning Edition, as I recall), I think pointing out that even they had referred to her as "Hillary" in some pieces where other candidates were called by last names. They actually traced it back to her own campaign, which is almost exclusively using her first name, and asked the question of whether it was fair for them to potentially *help* her campaign by buying into the first-name branding.

Change said...

I agree with Haydin. I noticed that too.

The other day, I watched the NH primary news on TV when I heard one of the sexit question from one of my friends: "Why does she want to be a president?"

I replied, "Why does Obama, Edwards, or Huckabee want to be presidents?"

Change said...

And, I (and the friend) are under 30.

Maxine Clarke said...

You might want to consider the effect of Thatcher in the UK -- voted prime minister in the 1980s, and staying there for almost 10 years. Not quite the president, but not all that far off in our terms.
I was proud to have a woman prime minister for our country, but not so proud at some of her policies and actions. But what politician does not disappoint individual and collective members of the electorate at one time or another? Although it was revolutionary to have a woman prime minister, I am not sure that it by itself changed anything permanently: the number of women MPs for example is pitifully small, still, even when the labour party had its policy of woman-only shortlists for local MP selection, before the EU equal opportunities leglislation declared it illegal. And I would not say there are any woman MPs in any of the parties in senior positions whom I would like to see in an even more senior role- - though there are many excellent women in very senior roles not in politics of course.

As I am British I should not comment on who I would vote for in your election (and that isn't what your post is about anyway, as you write). And I am a woman over 40, so although I resonate with what you write, I am not so sure that my daughters (age 16 and 12) woudl do -- though they are taking a great interest in the election, particularly the eldest, who is studying US politics at school. I know that they would both like to see a woman president of the USA ;-) Maybe the younger generation does not see the women's struggle in the same way that ours did and does, but I believe that they do carry forward the essential philosophy of women's rights. I sure hope they do, anyway.

Anonymous said...

The NYT often has interesting and infuriating coverage of women's issues.

In my twenties, I was much less sensitive to gender equity issues. With each decade, I become increasingly aware of and personally affected by gender inequity.

One possibility is that inequity is worse for older women.

Another possibility is that as women advance in their lives/careers, the inequities become worse. I think there was evidence for this in the MIT report:

A third possibility is that gender inequity has a cumulative effect. Low level, barely noticeable, easily ignored instances of biases and/or unfair behavior add up. For example, vehicles traveling at 59 mph and 60 mph have approximately the same instantaneous velocity, but after a year the faster car has traveled thousands more miles. I know there have been studies on this.

In terms of politics, I would love to see a Clinton/Obama ticket.

sandy shoes said...

Right on, FSP.

I'm undecided for whom to vote, but I have been appalled at the horribly sexist coverage of Sen. Clinton's campaign. (haydin, I'm with you on the first name thing. It bothers me. But it bothered me more before I saw Mrs. Clinton's own web site is bannered "Hillary for President." Still, from the major media? It bothers me a lot.)

I think that nobody is going to say we've "solved it all" (!) if a woman becomes President. Feminists know it to be otherwise, and misogynists will use it how they will, and the vast apathetic majority will remain the vast apathetic majority.

Anonymous said...

female,age 34.

i don't want to be treated "equally."

i want my husband to earn more money than me so i feel like i don't have to work as hard. i don't want to be on the frontline in a war. i don't want to take the trash out. i don't want to mow the lawn.

i do like to cook. i do laundry. i also have a ph.d. and don't mind that men make more than me as long as i don't have to deal with all the pressures from their jobs and society that they do.

i do think having a female president would be different, even revolutionary, but perhaps the girl meant that it really wouldn't change things very much.

i am voting for john mccain for the same reason i voted for bob dole. someone with morals, values, and integrity. i think these men are great deliberators. they don't think they know everything like the rest of the candidates and they are okay to say "hey, i don't know the answer, but let me think about that awhile."

Anonymous said...

I think that the "her battles are not my battles" from young women (and 39 is some kind of transition) has to do with the characteristics of the battles, not the delusion that there are no battles.

The perception is that that generation fought to get through the doors that were closed to them (Harvard, for example). The current generation is trying to get the rules of the game changed, and they think that battle might be, at times, in fundamental conflict with the Steinem style battles. So, I think the comment can reflect a more sophisticated reality than a 39 year old without a clue.

I personally admire the women who have fought those battles, and admire the one that Hillary is fighting now.

Anonymous said...

age 25. As a woman, I would be thrilled if Hillary became president. Politically, however, Hillary doesn't best represent my views. And I don't think of myself as representing a backlash against feminism by voting for a candidate who better represents my views. Rather, I view that as my responsibility as a citizen.

Lisa said...

Like you, I am not giving indication of whether I will vote for Hillary or not, but I can't help but notice how vexingly subtle the media can be in pushing her down.

Obama and Edwards referred to as "Senator Obama" and "Senator Edwards" and Clinton referred to as "Mrs. Clinton" or "Former First Lady." Did I miss something? Is she not currently a Senator? Whether I like it or not, Mrs. Clinton and Former First Lady make her most salient status to be a woman behind a man, and it drives me crazy. It's so annoying.

That said, I don't know if I will vote for her. But I do think it's encouraging she's actually in the running, that's some progress I guess.

Anonymous said...

re: 'more than a woman'

You have every right to be comfortable with lower pay and inequality. The thing is, a woman who DOES want equality should have every right to it. Your acceptance and agreement with gender roles should not require all other women to be similarly content.

Amanda said...

I'm 25. Hillary isn't getting my vote, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she's female. She just doesn't support my views as much as the other candidates do.

I am not, however, under the illusion that sexist forces aren't at work. Some people I know aren't voting for Hillary because "she's a bitch" or "I just don't like her." And those opinions aren't really backed by evidence...

May said...

I'm only 26 and there's no way in hell I was raised equally with men. There's tons of divisions and most of us younger women are well aware of it... but I don't think most of them equate that with supporting Hillary because we consider more issues than that in choosing a candidate.

I, however, AM gunning for Hillary because I agree with her politically AND I want a woman in power.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing that a lot of anti-Hillarism is essentially sexist in nature, I think it is important to acknowledge that 1) having a uterus does not make one a feminist, 2) women in power do not necessarily work to advance women's issues, 3) there are many many more issues that would impact women's advancement in society (e.g. humane maternity leaves; quality daycare for all children) that have little to do (directly) with having a woman in power.

I don't know where Clinton stands on these things (I'm not American, FTR), but it is not a given that having a woman in power--however *novel* it might be, will be *revolutionary* in the real sense of the word

Anonymous said...

Yaay FSP! I agree with you 100% though I am not really a Clinton fan. Struggle schmuggle. The question is, who will be the best president? Why are people of 39 so solipsistic?

P.S. "more than a woman"
You are joking, right?
Also, the shift key works for capitalizing letters.

Irie said...

I remember sitting in a college class when a TA asked how many of the young women considered themselves feminists. I was the only one that raised my hand. One young woman said that she didn't know anything about feminism. (Which also meant that she had skipped the required reading for that class)

I'm 30 and will vote for the candidate that I feel will do the best job. I don't know who that is yet.

Anonymous said...

What if she was on the other side of the aisle, would that still be the expectation? I wouldn't vote for a female Republican just because she is female, so why would I vote for a Democratic one just because she is female? I'm not against Hillary but I think you should support the candidate that you believe in based on the issues and your own criteria (change, experience, values, etc)

Cherish said...

I can't say I've seen a huge difference among Obama, Edwards and Clinton. I'll vote for whoever is the candidate.

However, I know a lot of people who don't like Clinton because they view her as "power hungry". Had it been a man who did the same things she did (moving to NY to get elected), I don't think there would have been quite the fuss that there has been with Clinton.

I also see that younger women feel like our nation has reached gender equality. They see women in positions of power (Rice, for example) and probably have never experienced a lot of sexism. When I was not involved in science and engineering, I certainly didn't encounter nearly as much. I can imagine why young women don't think gender inequity is a big much as I don't like it.

Brigindo said...

i think the reasons why women under 40 are uncomfortable with feminism, as those of us over 40 know it, are complex. i agree that part of the answer has to do with the cumulative effect of sexism. i also think part of the answer may have to do with the fake power given women in our society, which is associated with sexual appeal and motherhood. Over 40 one or both of these sources of "power" may be waning. most importantly however i think we do a disservice by lumping all under 40 women together, which is the problem with the feminist movement of mine and my mothers' generation. the younger women i know who are aware and concerned and radical are concerned with issues of race, gender, class and sexual orientation and the intersection of all these social locations. the Gloria Steinem piece is rather old school feminist - pitting race against gender and essentially ignoring people who fit into multiple categories. do any of the candidates speak to them complexity inherent in our society, i think not but i'm not surprised the Hilary isn't seen as the ANSWER to younger women.

Anonymous said...

The thing that worries me most about her becoming president or even nominated is 'the masses' will blame her gender on anything they disagree with or anything that goes wrong. If she wins the nomination and doesn't win the presidency I fear the undertone will blame her gender. Hearing the gender undertones in the campaign makes me worry about what will be said of her as president when the masses disagree with her and therefore what will be thought of all women of power. But I suppose if we don't try then we'll never know.

On another note, why doesn't anyone ever say anything negative about a white male voting for her or Obama - that they didn't support someone who they looked like? If it's totally insane to say that, then it's totally insane to say all women should vote for a woman and all African Americans should vote for an African American. I mean, what on earth are the female African Americans to do?!?!?

Drugmonkey said...

Who gives a crap if Hillary "doesn't support female-friendly policies"? Do you think Giuliani, Thompson or McCain will? Huckabee??? Romney??

Good gravy get over it.

Look we have an historic farking opportunity here to elect either a black man or a white woman President. Image. Is. Everything. You know this. The next administration will have 4, 8 yrs tops. What is 8 years of minor policy wonkery differences versus the historic opportunity to have something other than a white man in the Oval Office?

This is speaking as someone who is damn glad Condi's lustre (remember that?) dimmed so far. Otherwise we might be facing Condi versus Edwards or some crap and even though politically diametrically opposed to Condi...the political sociology was going to make things really tough.

Anonymous said...

As a 30-y-o woman, I'd echo the comment that the older generation had to fight different battles. It's not like sexism has vanished, but it's not like women aren't allowed into medical school, either.

Steinem's article drove me AWAY from Clinton, because of her attitude that black men have it *easier* than white women. Yikes. Driving while black gets you pulled over; driving while female, not so much. But regardless, I'm voting Obama because of the war. It has nothing to do with my perceptions of Hillary (and yes she presents herself by first name, don't chalk it up to sexism) as female, and everything to do with my perception of her as conservative and/or idiotic enough to vote for that war.

Ms.PhD said...

Wow. Maybe it's just the way you wrote this, but you seem to have a lot fewer right-wing conservatives and extreme lefties reading your blog than I do. I got a heckuva a lot of people writing that they would never vote for Hilary and the various reasons why. Your readers seem more positive and feminist in general.

I think the point someone made about women having 'fake power' in this country via sex appeal and motherhood is right on, and I had never heard it put that way before.

I've heard the 'what if she fucks up?' argument many times as the rationale for not voting for her.

Science magazine ran nearly a whole issue this week comparing the candidates side-by-side.

I'm just terrified we'll get another Republican!

(your John McCain supporter is exactly the kind of person who gives me nightmares)

Schlupp said...

'More than a woman',

Why is it important to you to get lower pay FOR THE REASON that you are a woman? Couldn't you be O.k. to just get lower pay, because you decide to choose a lower paying job?

Sorry, but you 'argument' doesn't work. You would still be free to live your life for OTHER reasons than your gender. Your wanting to make gender the reason probably just means you want to feel right about your decision, holier than me. I.e, might it be that you are just a tiiiiny liiiitle bossy?

Anonymous said...

I never get it. A female candidate is minority, represents change and has the same struggles as rest of women in the country. But... a black candidate is just like the rest of the candidates, just another man. I am not endorsing one or the other, at the end I think it should come down to policies and plans of action. I am just saying there is a misperception about change. The next president is not going to fit your needs because she is a woman or because he is an african american man. It takes a lot more than that. I am not saying the rest of the candidates have what it takes, I actually think it should be between one of these two. Just making a point

Regarding the Hillary instead of Clinton references to her: It is her plan, she wants people to consider her differently, she is taking advantage of being a woman. Obama could make a big deal about being an african american but I think he's wants to keep it out of the picture (not sure if possible, I just think he tries).

I think women have similar (maybe the same) struggles as the african american community. Both are undervalued in our society. Choosing the candidate that looks like you is not going to make a difference, just go with the one with the better plan. Whatever his race, whatever his gender.

Anonymous said...

More than a woman: John McCain is not a man with "morals, values, and integrity." He's an adulterer. And he doesn't say: "hey, i don't know the answer, but let me think about that awhile." He admits he knows nothing about it, and then tells us what he thinks anyway.

Anonymous said...

27 and a feminist, but I'm not supporting Clinton in the primaries. She's far too moderate/conservative for me, though I'll probably vote for whoever gets the Dem nomination come November.

I can't speak for the daughter in the original post, but for me, separating out women's rights and placing them above sustainability and other global labor and health issues would be a mistake. While I wouldn't say a woman being elected president was a non-event, I don't see it (in and of itself) as a sufficient or necessary step toward solving any of the problems we've created.

I'm also unconvinced that this sort of powerful/revolutionary/symbolic event is a good way to bring about long term cultural change. In my experience at the community level, that sort of implied hero-worship is part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

"Who gives a crap if Hillary "doesn't support female-friendly policies"? "

I dunno. Women?
and some enlightened men?

Anonymous said...

this is the same Clinton who let her husband humiliate her and did nothing about it, instead using the sympathy from other women to gain senatorship in NY? And the same Clinton who plants questions in the audience, or refuses to answer questions altogether? The same Clinton that accused Obama (or had others do the dirty work) of being a muslim and a drug dealer, and tell the country we don't need "false hopes", "fairy tales" and takes cheap shots at Martin Luther King (while comparing herself to LBJ)?

I think the poster above is right - if you wouldn't vote for a republican just because she was a woman, why would you do that for a democrat?

Would we all vote for an atheist or a scientist for a president, just because they are an atheist or a scientist, and overlook some serious flaws in their character or their plans?

Newsflash - feminism is NOT being FOR any woman and AGAINST any man at all cost. Or maybe it was the old-school "us vs. them" feminism.
The new-age feminism is that women should be able to do what THEY think is best for the country. Even if it means supporting Edwards or Obama or McCaine or Huckabee for that matter.

Support a presidential candidate ONLY because this candidate just so happens also has a vagina is so 1970.

C W Magee said...

"Had it been a man who did the same things she did (moving to NY to get elected), I don't think there would have been quite the fuss that there has been with Clinton."

Can you name a single male politician who started his career by coat-tailing on his wife's previous political career? Do you think there would be no suspicion of Mr. Pelosi or Mr. Rice suddenly started looking for possible senate seats in far-away states?

It may be that younger feminists are still idealistic enough to believe that the first woman president should not be someone who got her political start by shacking up with the right guy.

Not Important said...


When Representative Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, most of the news outlets that I saw were a-twitter about what a change this was going to be in American history. I never really felt that moment of change inside, and I discussed it with some friends to try and figure out why it didn't feel like a big deal to me.

I ultimately realized that I have interacted personally and professionally with strong women in positions of power for my entire life, so seeing a woman ascend to SotH wasn't something that would be surprising for happening, but perhaps surprising for not have happened yet.

Similarly, it may be that women under 40 don't see *overt* discrimination as much and so don't have the cultural experience of the feminist struggle from which to draw in order to feel that Senator Clinton's possible election to President would be as revolutionary as older women might believe.

I see a similar disparity (different context) in the LGBTQ(etc.) community. The old fogeys see the young pups as absurdly privileged in the ability to be out at work and with family, whereas the younger folks see the oldsters as scared closet cases. Each position has some merit, because the young people *do* have more visibility and less overt discrimination against them, but there is still institutional discrimination they don't see until they try to form a family, when they find that laws support an almost crippling hurdle to same-sex couples.

For demographic purposes, I'm a 37 year old white male, so put on whatever color lenses will help you interpret these comments.

Haydin, I noticed the same thing a while back. I try always to refer to Senator Clinton as exactly that.

Marcelle Proust said...

Mid-forties. Feminist. Democrat. Not fond of Clinton. Not willing to vote based on sex when I don't like someone's stance on various issues.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone,
Im 44 and I know lots of young women (18-24) who are crazy for Mrs. Clinton.

And could people start showing her some respect.!
I think she should be referred to as Mrs. Clinton, not Hillary. We don't refer to any of the male candidates by just their first name. As women this should be a priority...

Anonymous said...

I agree; the undertones of the campaign are deeply disturbing enough to question not only the manner in which it is conducted, but to also reassess the security offered to Hillary, despite that of her status as First Lady. But who knew?

The nation recognizes the extra security required for Obama because of his race. Do they recognize it for Hillary about gender? It's doubtful.

The course of this campaign is such that it will given scholars years of research into reviewing how race and gender are different as hate crimes, and how even age is a factor that doesn't yet register on the public as a problem. Misogyny is a term not yet fully understood, studied, or examined for the harm it does this nation, in addition to the harm to individual women and their potential to earn respect. From an objective view, there doesn't appear to be the potential for women to earn respect, regardless of their views or competence. The misogyny displaces it. For younger women, it is an even worse problem. If women aren't political, there is definitely a reason; the chilling of the atmosphere is suffocating.

Racial inssues and performance are obviously little more than political, and well schooled in the mechanics of dominance and the use of pressure groups to be heard.

One would think that over race, sentiments are overly sensitive, and over gender, not nearly sensitive enough. But it is unlikely that women will carry on the fight for self empowerment that the blacks have carried on for 30 years to be heard through the civil rights program.

That reality suggests that racial issues can drown out gender issues, but should they? With such a huge headstart, not even normal civil protocol expected of Americans is enough to equalize the atmosphere when race and gender are positioned opposite one another.

If younger women learn anything, it should be how low a status their concerns are to the nation, and for no other reason than this, should be "for Hillary." But, younger women are definitely not seeing this aspect of the effort to allow women to be heard, or participate in politics, or to even be taken seriously and legitimately. It's a serious blow to women's credibility.

That racial freedom has displaced gender freedom is understandable. To ignore gender freedom is unforgiveable - by whites or by blacks, by males or by females.

Hillary will be lucky if she doesn't get drowned out by the noise of these forces.

It will generate entire divisions of that study more than women's studies. Courses must be devoted to women's power of credibility, or lack of it simply because they are female.

Anonymous said...

"Shacking up with the right guy"--this is a spurious argument for several reasons.

One: it's very hard for women to get far enough in politics to have any kind of name recognition at all. Any female politician married to a male politician is going to be assumed to be coat-tailing on her husband--it's hard to imagine the opposite being assumed, even if it were true. (Just as the usual assumption about academic couples is that the male's job comes first and the female is an appendage, whether or not this is actually the case.)

Two: ok, so if she were a politician who *hadn't* been married to a president, it would--for deeply-entrenched cultural reasons--have been harder for her to get to this point. (Which is just one aspect of the misogyny that this post and the discussions are at least partly about.) But Chuck is using the very fact that she was married to a politician to say she's unqualified--she can't be president *because* she happened to be partnered to another successful politician. How does that follow? Being married to a successful politician disqualifies a woman from having her own political success?

Three: Did her "start" in politics actually come from "shacking up" with Bill Clinton? My understanding (someone please comment if I'm wrong) is that she was politically active before they even met. By Chuck's reasoning, she shouldn't have married Bill so that she could have her own political career without being accused of riding his coattails. Or, in marrying him, she should have given up her own career aspirations and been happy to live in his shadow.

Chuck--do you realize at least some of the inherent sexism of your comment?

chall said...

I wonder how much of this "the struggles of women in my mother's generation is not my reality" is based on a (imho) naïve idea that we are almost out of the black forest... which we aren't.

Then as well, the younger women of today, as I am one, seem to be much more 'individual' and not wanting to identify with the collective women - as the older might do. I do wonder if it is an age thing. When one is old and wise, will one see ones errors??

I am happy yopu write this blog and I find it very inspiring! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

First, disclosure-I'm male, 30s, and I'm on the fence between Obama and Clinton.

Strangely, I don't think it's a big deal that we will probably elect a woman or African-American in November. I think it's a big deal that a lot of people don't think it's a big deal. I'd agree with the woman who said that the battles of here generation were different, and it plays in here. The battles of the Civil/Women's Rights generation, above all, were battles of access-to have *entry* to that workplace, that career, that position. The battles of the following generation (and the battles of the earlier generation ever since) have been battles of equal respect and treatment. The "first generation" however, I've noticed, is more likely to *think* in terms of access, even when their day to day struggle is to be treated as an equal human being.

The real issue is that Clinton is the target of a bunch of sexist &%$^, whether or not she gets elected. If she does get elected, it doesn't change the &%$^. Nobody questions that she has access, so proving that it's possible for a woman to be elected isn't as big a deal. I just wait for the day when gender has as much salience as music preference in elections.

As for the name thing, well, I've been using Bush the Elder/Younger to distinguish those two for years, and have pretty religiously used Senator/President Clinton to distinguish those two. To those who would say that my tastes are picayune, I would point out that "Dubya" has borne fair currency, especially in the early days of Bush the Younger.

That said, it's almost certainly partly her gender that is responsible for "Hillary", but not entirely. I'm old enough to remember that Thatcher was almost always Thatcher, and Bhutto was never Benazir, even when she was doing something truly historic (giving birth as a Prime Minister in a country not known for its gender equality). On the flip side, I can remember when our President was "Jimmuh" despite that other chromosome. Clinton's campaign has certainly wanted to make her seem familiar,likeable, someone "you'd want to have a beer with" as the pollsters say, and getting yourself on a first name basis with the electorate is an effective, if cheap, trick.

Anonymous said...

You don't suppose that those "struggles" that you're referring to might have something to do with things such as women posting blogs full of hate towards men, and people, in particular men, reading them?