Thursday, January 31, 2008
The vagina demagogues
"There's absolutely no reason why a woman shouldn't be in that office, but I am not sure about this woman. It's insulting to assume that because you're a woman or a person of color, you would automatically back any woman or person of color. It's a little more complicated." - Susan Sarandon, TimeTo which do I pledge allegiance first, my ovaries or my complexion? It's a question to which many women of color have been struggling with for decades while looking through the narrow prism of conventional feminism. As for me, it never was a question as to which took priority and reading misguided opinion pieces from the likes of Gloria Steinem and Erica Jong only reinforced why I don't bother hedging my bets in the name of "sisterhood."
One of the strategic fallacies of second-wave feminism was the imposition of a matriarchal party-line on the younger generation. As a woman, you are asked to be loyal to other women, especially the powerful ones, who want to represent you, but not necessarily protect you. Slavish devotion to the XX-factor is often taken for granted and being disloyal means you will be loaded with a pile of guilt. Complicating matters is the always apparent argument of the Oppression Olympics to which well-heeled elitists will pit gender vs. race. It is a very cynical ploy to pit the first viable woman candidate against the first viable Black candidate to have a chance at the Presidency. This is why the feminist movement continues to isolate communities of color. The proposition that Black men have advanced faster than White women in any aspect of American life is laughable at best. A simple snapshot at the composition of the United States Senate would provide a much needed wake-up call.
- Currently, there are 16 female Senators. 1 African American currently serves in the Senate. Obviously, a ratio of 16 to 1 is not exactly demonstrative of African American men "ascending to positions of power... before any women."
- Currently, there are 9 female and 1 African American serving as governors of their states. Obviously, a ratio of 9 to 1 is not exactly demonstrative of African American men "ascending to positions of power... before any women."
For instance, if say... Condoleezza Rice was in the same position to make history for the Republican party, would I be expected as a "feminist" to support her? Black women especially are handicapped with a plexiglass ceiling that is often not high enough to stand up under, so would the same hold true? Me thinks not, especially since the bra burning Birkenstock crowd would eagerly forgive me for being in direct opposition with Condi's policies. Well, I don't agree with Hillary Rodham Clinton and I won't support her.
If that makes me fit neatly into the generation gap demographic of under 30's women who decide to think with my head and not my labia, so be it. If she represents the best that the 70's women's movement has to offer, then no — we haven't come a long way, baby. She tolerated her husband's repeated infidelities in exchange for political gain. She didn't bother to build on the foundation built after years spent in Arkansas, instead preferring to play carpetbagger for an easy score for political gain. And while she has capably served my state as Patrick Moynihan's junior predecessor the past 7 years, I can't recall a single meaningful bill passed to benefit New York in the Senate.
The most glaring, unconscionable example of her questionable readiness on Day One was her vote for the 2002 authorization of military force towards Iraq without even reading the National Intelligence Estimate. And to follow that colossal blunder with a vote in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman act speaks volumes. 35 years of experience? Give me a break. I want to know about her judgment, which was curiously absent on a war which has cost America more lives than those who perished on 9/11.
Frankly, I would not vote for a man with Senator Clinton's legislative record, much less a woman. And to imply anything less simply hurts my feelings.
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