Monday, January 21, 2008

Addendum--The Steinem stew

Just minutes after posting my op-ed rejoinder to Gloria Steinem and the other second wave feminists for their blinkered view of America’s race-torn society—for those not caught up in the fray, Ms. Steinem posits that women are a more aggrieved minority than African-Americans in Why Women are Never Front-Runners —I received an email from a friend, a woman of “good politics.” With a subject line, “How it would feel if Hillary is elected president,” I opened to a video of a woman standing over a man on the floor; she is kicking him repeatedly in his private parts while he doubles up to shield himself from the assault, groaning in agony.
It gave me great pause. Although I still think Steinem’s argument skewed, divisive and inappropriate, the video made me realize that what many of us see as Senator Clinton’s unpleasant and aggressive personality has been used by Hillary haters of the Stone Age and the Right to evoke and legitimize deeply-held misogyny. What’s very often relegated to personal bad behaviour—and misogyny--in personal relationships has been projected onto Clinton as a very, very dangerous emblem of “all women” or all women who don’t know their place. Yep, along with the racists, this campaign is bringing them out of the woodwork.
So, heads upped, I’ll have to give Steinem’s victimization some wiggle room. But, I must still ask her to talk to women of color, not just from Smith or Smith-Barney, and to African-American men of all stripes, before she again sets back the cause of progress.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekend Focus: Race, Sex and Hillary Clinton

Starting this weekend, a couple of features on the Women's Village and elsewhere across the IMDiversity network attempt to look back at the week's hub-bub surrounding the race-gender split arising in the Democratic Presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

First, we track a series of Clinton-Obama analyses of from the Associated Press that provide different takes on the tit-for-tat between the campaigns, and looking at how race and gender, racism and mysogyny, play into the coverage. It also looks at the impact of women voters, as well as the importance to the campaigns of parsing out that vote by generation, class, race and philosohpy.

In another feature, Hispanic American Village Editor Carol Amoruso reflects on the (false?) dichotomy threatening to divide voters' loyalties in the party, in Race and Gender at Odds Again as Steinem Wades into the Clinton-Obama Fray.

On the African American Village, frequent contributor Kam Williams looks back at the N.H. results and seeks to put the focus elsewhere: on the Diebold Corporation. "For, while the punditocracy has been busy dubbing Hillary Clinton the Comeback Kid and attributing her surprise victory to women rallying to her support in the wake of her eyes welling up on camera, no one’s looking for a more plausible explanation than that overly-publicized Muskie moment.," Williams writes. Suspicious of dubious vote tallying, Williams concludes "we’re again in dire need of U.N. observers during the 2008 primary season, just to give an the democratic process a chance to unfold untainted by fraud."

Additional features will unfold, as our editors and visitors try to interpret the events in what is becoming an unhappily tense time in an otherwise historic election. One reader said that she liked Obama and Clinton "almost equally," and would support either in a general election, but "as a woman, I have to go with Clinton now."

Another wrote that she "resented having to choose" between candidates who each represented a historic political milestone she'd been "waiting for my whole life."

And, should it matter?

We ask in our blog poll for the week: Would you lay issues aside and vote for Hillary Clinton for president for the historic precedent of having a woman in the White House?

What do you think?