Friday, June 06, 2008

Hillary feminists and Obama feminists.

So, hopefully we won't need to be talking about this for too much longer (if Hillary concedes and releases her delegates, that is, but that remains to be seen), but I was explaining this to a friend the other day, and I thought it was a helpful way to understand it. I used to think it was a generational divide, and certainly, it does sort of seem to play out that way, in general. But then I realized that it has less to do with generation and more to do with what kind of feminism one subscribes to. If you see gender as the central feature of feminism, then you are likely to be a Hillary supporter. If you see race, class, and other issues as intertwined with gender and equally important to your feminism, then you are likely to be an Obama supporter.

I think that's a pretty good description of the division.

Meanwhile - is it wrong for me to be thinking about how effing revolutionary and awesome it will be to have a Black First Family?! So much, so much will be different from here on out.


Trinity said...

I was a Clinton supporter until a while ago when her campaign just went bonkers over the top with its racism and grabbiness.

I supported her for several reasons, some more logical and some more emotional:

1. From her previous political history, I deemed her confident, experienced, capable, and savvy. While she's more centrist than I'd like, I fondly remember her husband's administration, especially for foreign policy that emphasized negotiation in a way than Bush clearly has not and for economic surplus. I felt we could do far worse than have a similar (though likely not exactly the same) administration.

2. I felt really, really put off by early Obama rhetoric. It seemed to me he spoke in glittering generalities about "change" and "we can do it" but when I looked at his actual platform, I didn't see much glaringly different from Clinton's anyway. In *early* debates, I also felt that Clinton answered questions with detailed answers I could research, and Obama tended to appeal to "hope" and "change." This especially bothered me because Bush got elected on "charisma," on making people feel he had the "personality" to "get things done." I felt as if the Obama campaign was similar but lefty, and the knowledgable and no-nonsense vibe I got from HRC reassured me. (In later debates I felt Obama sounded far more detailed and less I AM SUPERHOPEMAN! I don't know if this was changing perception on my part or tighter precision on his.)

3. She's a woman. That resonates personally for me in a way Obama being black does not. I don't know what it's like to feel it is impossible *as a Black person* that someone like me will be President, and then feel overwhelmed with hope seeing a Black person run. I DO know what it's like to feel, as a female, that I never could comprehend why this moment hadn't come before. I do know what it's like to feel overwhelmed with hope *as female*.

4. While others seem to sometimes think of Clinton's being a baby boomer as making her the status quo or out of touch with people like me, I tended to think of her age as an asset. I tend to think of elections as people applying for jobs; my vote, then, is not based on who "gets me" or "groks my generation" but on the person who I feel is best qualified for one of the most important jobs in the nation. Age and experience, even if her First Lady-dom was not time as an elected official, struck me as pluses, not minuses. (I'm still REALLY bothered by people's use of "She's a baby boomer" as some kind of insult. It strikes me as ageist at worst and divisive at best.)

5. I've also lived all my life as dominant and female, and there's a very particular way the society demeans that. I saw this particular form of demeaning and disrespect constantly aimed at Clinton, day in and day out. It made me want to fight for her with all I had, because I knew exactly what it was like: You're a usurper. Therefore we have to paint you as unemotional, hard, somewhere between a snarling she-wolf ("bitch") and a cyborg.

I'm not saying Obama didn't face the racist version of exactly this, but I haven't lived it, so I wouldn't have seen it as easily or had it resonate as much.

Due to the Clinton campaign's utterly shameful behavior I have changed my mind, but these were my reasons. I'm still uneasy about *some* of the strains of anti-Clinton sentiment I've heard.

Trinity said...

oh, and

6. I really, really, REALLY wanted her to run. I was ecstatic when I heard she was running.

bobvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bobvis said...

PF, that's a great description even if it's a bit less judgmental than the way I would put it.
is it wrong for me to be thinking about how effing revolutionary and awesome it will be to have a Black First Family?!

Not nearly as wrong as my own secret desire that Obama drops the whole I'm-black-but-not-one-of-those-scary-ones routine and reveals himself to have secretly been a ghetto gangsta rapper the whole time. After he's in office, he retroactively legalizes only crack while imposing the death penalty on anyone using that candy-*** stuff like Ecstacy. He calls all other world leaders his b****s and h**s--except the female ones because that wouldn't be cool.

Now if you wanted *that*, that would be wrong.

Actually, the main reason I'd want to see this happen is so people could have the satisfaction of going onto Fox News and saying, "I *told* you what would happen if we elected a N*****. He turned out to be a real ****ah!"

Then he turns back and says "see? I told you they were all racist!"