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.