I wasn’t going to write about the whole NOW-tantrum about the Kennedy endorsement of Obama, but then I read the Minx‘s take and I liked it so much that I thought – what the hell?
On the one hand … I generally support and like what NOW is about. They’ve made strides to be more inclusive and not just stand as a feminist pillar for white, suburban women. Cool. And I mostly agree with their take on different legislation and setting priorities on the national stage when it comes to feminist issues.
On the other hand … I think the NY NOW president’s rant about the Kennedy endorsement of Obama — using words like “betrayal” — is way over the top! Betrayal? Seriously? I know that a lot of people take politics personally, but this isn’t a betrayal. This is just one man’s endorsement. And really, how seriously do people take endorsements anyway? (Maybe I’m alone in that.) I have to agree with the Minx here and say that this sort of rant lends itself to the unfortunate stereotypes of feminists as “shrill” and “hysterical.”
But I’m not surprised. I have been sort of been holding my breath since NOW so vociferously endorsed Sen. Clinton early on. It’s been a little “she’s got a vagina; we’ve got a vagina; we with vaginas all gotta stick together.” Look, if I vote for Clinton, it will be because I believe she’s the best for the job.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Clinton hater. And I definitely like the idea of a female president — finally! I just think that people need to make sure they are casting their vote for Clinton because they genuinely believe she is the best candidate for the job, not only because it would be symbolic (and I say the same about Obama on the race issue).
Feminism is about equality. And equality is not the same thing as saying “put women in a position simply because she’s a woman.”
What I would like to see is NOW take to task some of the media outlets and candidates themselves about the blatantly sexist comments and stereotypes being floated around during this campaign season. (Perhaps they could do something similar to MoveOn, in which they count how many times Clinton’s physical appearance is mentioned in news stories compared with her male counterparts?) Clinton’s hair, her cleavage, her tears have all been used as news pegs and campaign rhetoric. But I haven’t heard anyone in a story mention any of the male candidates flair for fashion, sexiness, or otherwise (Edwards, being the exception). I would love to see and would sincerely support a NOW campaign that holds some fire to the feet of the misogynists out there! Because whether or not I am for or against Clinton, I want to see her get the same shot at the presidency as every other candidate out there. That is what equality is about.