Friday, September 05, 2008

Steinem gets it right

i was really disappointed in the overall response from feminists at the beginning of obama's campaign. it was flat-out sexist that so many of them were pro-hillary simply because of her gender. in gloria steinem's new york times article, she stated that "gender is probably the most restricting force in american life" -- implying (unintentionally, she says) that white women have it harder than black men. boy, did that kick up some dirt. interestingly enough, geraldine ferraro backed her up and went even further, saying "if obama were a white man, he would not be in this position and if he were a woman of any color he would not be in this position. he happens to be very lucky to be who he is."

not surprisingly, no feminist has mentioned anything at all about white female entitlement.

as an african-american and as a woman, congresswoman shirley chisolm's presidential run in 1972 was the historical first that both parties are appropriating ad nauseum. what really infuriates me is that beyond mentioning her name in passing, no major media outlet has noted this fact. thank goodness for the documentary shirley chisolm: unbought and unbossed. it should be required viewing for anyone who calls themselves an american.

she misfired when she wrote of obama but in her critique of alaska governor/vice-presidential candidate sarah palin, gloria steinem gets it right. here's an exerpt from her article in the la times -- palin: wrong woman, wrong message:

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

to read the article, click here.

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