Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Female President isn't necessarily a Feminist President

The Washington Post came out with this shocker yesterday. Gasp! Some feminists don't like Hillary Clinton! But she's a woman. We have to be behind that, right?

Not exactly. A FEMINIST in the white house is the goal. So is Clinton a feminist? NOW thinks so. She is the first first lady to have a postgraduate degree, and the first to maintain a full-time career outside of her husband's, according to Salon. And she kept her maiden name until it supposedly cost Bill Clinton his second term as governor of Arkansas.

I think the real question is: can a feminist stay true to his or her beliefs and get ahead in politics? Hillary is a good politician. But is she still the woman who equated marriage to slavery (it's historically accurate)? Did she "stand by her man" because she wanted to? Or because she wanted to maintain her career? (I have to call out those feminists who baldly accuse her of this, though. She's allowed to make a personal choice even if it doesn't fit in the feminist paradigm. Because that's what it is - a PERSONAL decision. That whole situation was ridiculously public for a private affair.)

Another interesting quote from the Washington Post article: "Women who do nothing to enact feminist policies will be elected and backlash will flourish. I can hear the refrain now: 'They've finally gotten a woman in the White House, so why are feminists still whining about equal pay?"

This is from an article written by Lisa Jervis, co-founder of Bitch Magazine. She's responding to this assumption that a woman president will get support from feminists. She's right, but I don't know if it would be a problem with Hillary. That's what we need to find out.

I didn't answer any questions here, but I'll end with this: if we vote for Clinton because she's a woman, we're no better than those who vote only for white men. I think Clinton's female attributes are part of her personality, and yes, that goes into our decision about who our next president is. But electing someone just because of their sex or race is ridiculous. If Hillary stands strong on issues she clearly believes in - choice, equal pay, etc - I'll vote for her. If she continues to make decisions like her vote on the Iraq War, I won't. Seems simple.


Adam Elend said...

Tucker Carlson talking about "the gender card" in the election on MSNBC:

I don't hang my head because we don't have enough women in Congress. I'm actually not embarrassed by it at all.... I don't know why that's embarrassing. You could make the counter case that most women are so sensible, they don't want to get involved in something as stupid as politics. ...They've got real things to do."

Amanda said...

"Real things" like keeping dinner warm while senator hubby does the hard work?

I love how he tries to come off as supportive of women's choices. Really. Love it.

James said...

Presidential politics always seems to come to a choice between the lesser of two sets of problems. I haven't decided whom to support, but even if Hilary isn't a feminist, she may end up being the best fit for feminists among the available choices. But, it's too early in the process to get pragmatic, I think. One year out, we should all be looking for the ideal candidate. We'll have to settle soon enough.