No Matter What Happens, Hillary Has Helped Start A Conversation

Illustration for article titled No Matter What Happens, Hillary Has Helped Start A Conversation

Much has been written - here, elsewhere - about the issue of Hillary Clinton and sexism. Some people, including, it seems, Hillary herself, believe that Clinton is missing out on the Democratic nomination because "more people would be reluctant to vote for a woman [than] to vote for an African American." Whether or not this is true — and I think Democrats will be debating this for years to come — Clinton's candidacy has, if nothing else, started a dialogue about sexism and misogyny, two topics that haven't been taken seriously in mainstream media for a long time.


Some of us, of course, are little sick of talking about sexism vis a vis Hillary, because we already try to read everything we can find on the subject. When Anna asked me to synthesize today's Los Angeles Times and Washington Post post-mortems on the topic, I sort of rolled my eyes, until she pointed out that while we try to be constantly on the lookout for it, misogyny isn't something that comes up in every day conversation for most Americans.

Jonathan Chait writing in the L.A. Times mentions the oft-discussed feminist generational divide, in which second wave stalwarts like Gloria Steinem claim that "some women, perhaps especially younger ones, hope to deny or escape the sexual caste system." While I hate it that the feminist narrative in this campaign has been shaped in part by Steinem's infamous New York Times op-ed (i.e., the idea that women of my generation aren't voting for Hillary because we don't believe sexism exists), I think her statements and the impassioned articles written by other second wavers have brought gender discrimination back to the forefront.

It's too soon to tell if Hillary's candidacy will have long lasting implications on American women, or more specifically women in women in politics. As Ruth Marcus says in today's Washington Post, "If you care about seeing a woman elected president, one of the biggest disappointments of this campaign is the paucity of credible women waiting in the wings, in either party." Marcus also says that Hillary has been "ironically, refreshingly post-feminist" in her rhetoric. "Post-feminist" implies that there is one feminism and that by occasionally referring to herself as a "girl," Hillary has somehow transcended or subverted it. Hopefully what Hillary's campaign has done is remind everyone that feminism is in the here and now, and that its definition is always up for debate.

Hillary Clinton Hits 'Sexism' In Media Coverage — Says Gender Bigger Drawback Than Race [Editor & Publisher]

The Ground Clinton Broke [Washington Post]

It's Not Personal [Los Angeles Times]

My Lady Parts Do Not Ache for Hillary Clinton [Village Voice]


Earlier: How Much Did Misogyny Cripple Hillary's Historic Campaign?



I have to agree with what Jessica said in the post. I would love for a woman to be President. I am proud of Hils for stepping up to the plate and being the first person to attempt a run because perhaps next time a woman considers running it won't seem like such an impossible (Sysiphean?) task. But what bothers me, and I think what needs to be discussed, is when will the next time be? When will the next strong, capable female leader come along and decide that she is willing to brave the storm? And who will she be? I worry that it may not be soon, and this saddens me.