But I have trouble understanding how any woman, including those who didn’t support her, cannot empathize with the sadness of women who supported her at Clinton’s loss.
Answering for myself...first, because there is little about Clinton that bears any resemblance to feminism, unless by "feminism" we mean "white, middle-class, imperialism," which I do not.
Second, because of the things that were said by the Clinton campaign and by some of her more vocal supporters over the course of the campaign. When the racist comments came out of the Clinton campaign, that is when her campaign, for me, stopped being revolutionary. There is nothing revolutionary about trying to step on someone else in order to get to the top. I have trouble seeing past the racism of the Gloria Steinems and the Robin Morgans. And very often, what I hear from the white women I know who supported Clinton, is that there *was* no racism in the campaign.
So yes, I have trouble understanding this sadness, because in order to understand it I have to frame the whole situation as one in which racism isn't a big deal, as one in which women of color simply do not exist.
Second, in order to understand this sadness, I would also have to frame the whole situation as one in which biology is the only thing that matters. Electing a woman president is only radical if the woman herself is radical. I don't care how many yahoos you find who say that America isn't ready for a woman president. It wasn't radical to appoint Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, either (and you know who were, for the most part, the ones having a conversation about whether or not it was? WHITE PEOPLE! Black lawyers were fit to be tied as White people put this man up and argued it was a strike against racial injustice to appoint him!).
And while HRC and Thomas are clearly worlds apart, you cannot selectively pick and choose among Clinton's accomplishments and leave out the yucky bits. Yes, she gets points for some of her wonderful work on behalf of women, but she also loses points for her war vote and for many of her foreign policy positions.
For my part, I cannot understand why seeing Obama as the nominee would bring any feminist anything but joy. Had Clinton won, this feminist would not have felt that women as a group had made a step forward. But because Obama won, I feel that all of us Americans have moved forward, and this has a lot to do with the kind of campaign he ran and the kind of presidency I believe he will have.
Edited to add: two other posts on this issue that I really like:
ProfBW's and BFP's.