09 January 2008

And BTW, Don't Ever Tell a Strong-Willed Little Girl, "You Should Be a Lawyer When You Grow Up." Just Tell Her She's Awesome.

I'm feeling a little under the weather today, though less disenfranchised than yesterday afternoon, when elections felt like they were being decided distantly far away in time and space. I'm still entirely undecided between the leading contenders (Kucinich, anyone?), but there is a large piece of my heart that desperately wants there to be a woman president. And every piece of me would really love it if a woman could run for president without her gender getting in the way. Sadly, as the world, and my dad, remind us, we're not there yet. (Me: Okay, but why do you hate Clinton so much? Dad: She's power-hungry and selfish. She's just doing this because she wants power for herself. Me: But they *all* are! That's what a politician does! Dad: I'm allowed to hate her!) Feministing* is doing a "24-Hour Hillary Sexism Watch." It ranges from subtle to outright vile, but whomever you support, even if you don't know yet, it's important to be aware of how Clinton's gender gets brought into play, and to get in the habit of noticing.

(And yes, that's why she's "Clinton" and not "Hillary" for me.)

*"I don't have a feminist obligation to vote for Hillary Clinton, or donate money to her campaign, or show up at her rallies. My obligation is to support her right to compete on an equal playing field. To decry the disgusting amount of sexism she faces every day. (We've done so again and again and again.) And then to vote for another candidate if I feel he would make a better president. That, too, is a feminist act." [here]


anna said...

ah, but have you read rebecca traister's new column?


she is so totally right on.

Isaac said...

Did you see the video from one of her rallies yesterday in NH where some guy stood up and started yelling "Iron My Shirt!" It was awful, but she handled it well.

Adam said...

Two things:

1) The title of this post is amazing. No, awesome.

2) I'm totally fascinated by "the moment" with the welling of the tears and the emotion:

First, the way it's been a life raft for political analysts who refuse to admit that they underestimated the Clinton machine in NH (clearly we didn't get our prediction wrong...something must have happened! recently!).

Second, this engaged/engages the gender question on a level that we're just not talking about. Put aside for a moment whether or not the President ought to be the sort of person who shows emotion under pressure (regardless of which set of naughty bits that President has, or (to be less flip) with which gender that President identifies). Put aside the Edwardsian douchebaggery and not-so-veiled misogyny:

What would have happened if a male-gendered candidate had given the same display of emotion?

His campaign would be over, that's what.

Why is it a totally plausible (if probably false) story that Ms. Clinton's campaign be boosted by this moment of 'weakness'? (and, of course, it's an open question whether admitting that campaigning for the presidency is wearisome is weak...sounds more like honesty to me)

Why would the same story be implausible of a male candidate? Why would the victory of a male candidate be framed as 'in spite of' rather than 'because of'?

And now I'm thoroughly and irreparably off-topic. Apologies.

But right...thanks muchly for the links...it made the last couple of hours of work bearable, and gave me something to think about when I got home.