Feminists Miffed At Hillary-Hating Ms. Magazine

Illustration for article titled Feminists Miffed At Hillary-Hating Ms. Magazine

Ann Bartow at the Feminist Law Professors blog and Amy Siskind at The Daily Beast have their collective (organic cotton, sweatshop-free) panties in a wad over this Ms. magazine cover.


Bartow says:

This seems designed to mock people who supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primary.

What? Really? Labeling a President who supports the Ledbetter Act and reproductive choice a "feminist" is mocking Hillary Clinton (and her supporters) how exactly? Bartow is also upset that Ms. editors Photoshopped Obama's head onto a guy making like Superman because 37 years ago Ms. had a satirical cover with a cartoon Wonder Woman nominating her for President.

Amy Siskind has essentially the same reaction.

The current women’s rights movement is hardly recognizable to those of us who are truly trying to advance the discourse on gender. Exhibit A, the planned “special Inaugural edition” cover of Ms. magazine. I will readily admit, when this visual first hit my inbox, my first thought was that it was a hoax or a joke. But it is not, and this is hardly a laughing matter. The current vision of “feminism” is a man striking a Superman pose.

Okay, seriously. The image has one really obvious meaning that has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton supporters (note to world: once again, not everything is about you... or Hillary Clinton) or about fucking over feminism. Mild-mannered Clark Kent has a secret, world-saving identity that he wore under his clothes — and the image is communicating the idea that, under Barack Obama's workaday clothes lies a man who believes in gender equity, promotes women to prominent positions in his Administration and is working to advance a feminist policy agenda. Yes, God forbid.

Siskind, sadly, though, continues:

Witness the rebirth: the start of the fourth wave of the women’s rights movement, a big tent movement that invites women and like-minded men of all political parties and views on reproductive rights. A women’s movement that stands up and speaks out for the women of this country when other groups will not. A women’s movement that keeps a watchful eye on its constituency and their needs.

It is time that we take back the term “feminism” and restore its dignity and honor. It is time that we, our daughters, and granddaughters discover our inner Wonder Woman.


So she wants a 4th-wave that includes like-minded men and people with "all... views on reproductive rights" but that somehow, despite incorporating anti-choicers, manages to stand up for the needs of women and, furthermore, features only women in its imagery. But, hey, man can tag along!

Hmm. Wait, is all this outrage sounding strangely familiar? Where else have we heard recently that women should ignore reproductive choice issues and that feminism is all — and only — about electing women...? Oh, right, the P.U.M.A.s. Well, Bartow says she isn't a P.U.M.A. though she agreed with them on a lot of things and Siskind, well, she's practically the poster child. So maybe it's not so surprising they missed the point Ms. was trying to make in celebrating a President who supports so many of the policy issues that have been on the feminist movement's agenda, like wage equality and reproductive choice — it's still only the composition of his chromosomes that matter to some. I think that's called sexism, right?


Not Really Super [Feminist Law Professors]
How Feminism Became The F-Word [The Daily Beast]

Related: About Those PUMAs [Feminist Law Professors]
FOXNEWS: Amy Siskind Speaks Out For Hillary [YouTube]



While I'd like to think Obama believes in all of these things, I have been reading Dreams From My Father, and I have some suspicions that he might not get feminism. I'm glad he's observed that it was unfair that Michelle had to halt her career to support their family, but his regrets in that regard don't seem to have stood in the way of his ambitions the way they would have hers.

I have some views that are unpopular around here on dudes of the Obama/Jon Favreau persuasion who think of themselves as so feminist that in fact they are better feminists than actual possessors of vaginas. (Something about men enjoying the domination of the women's rights discourse.) So you know, I just don't think Bartow and Siskind are totally out to lunch, here, Megan.