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Bloggingheads 09-28-2010 04:46 PM

Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 

Bloggin' Noggin 09-28-2010 08:34 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
A very passionate, engaged, and therefore engaging discussion. I wish more BloggingHeads discussions were as passionate. When the Heads disagree more, they often retreat into a polite distance from the subject and underplay their feelings about it. (For example, Tim Noah occasionally shot down some silly talking point of Rich Lowry's (e.g., the stimulus didn't stimulate because it didn't keep unemployment down to 8 percent) and then retreated in embarrassment for his opponent.
The very best BHtv discussions are probably those where the ideological distance is greatest but the personal distance is minimal -- a liberal and a conservative who happen to be good friends. Eli Lake and Spencer Ackerman are a good recent example. Mickey and Bob are the paradigm (though Mickey is a neoliberal and Bob is himself, not an all-out liberal -- cynical as he is about human nature and sympathetic as he is to some forms of social conservatism. My favorite example remains the first Ezra Klein/Will Wilkinson diavlog -- very spirited, very cogent and good humored.
I'm not sure that Eli Lake and Heather Hurlburt are actually friends (or that they were before they diavlogged the first time, but somehow they weren't afraid to disagree forcefully.

Some might think I have no place pronouncing on feminism, but I agree with Traister that Sarah Palin should be allowed to count herself a feminist. If I recall correctly, I think Susan Faludi defines feminism as at bottom the view that women are persons. What follows from that commitment to women as persons is a matter of debate. It's quite understandable that many feminists do regard abortion rights as a consequence of that commitment, for example, but there's a LOT of argument between the beginning assumption that women are persons and the conclusion that the state may not restrict a woman's right to have an abortion beyond the restrictions inherent in Roe v. Wade.

Ocean 09-28-2010 10:16 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
I couldn't read Susan Faludi's article because a subscription is required.

Perhaps someone else knows how to access that article. It sounds like an interesting topic since it can start a discussion on how feminism has changed over time and about the longitudinal conflicts that get generated. Younger women having gathered the benefits of feminism may not be fully aware of the process by which we got where we are now, or where we're coming from. Empty of context many of the basic concepts that pertain to feminism may get lost. It is possible then to find women who embody the successes of feminism while unwittingly rejecting the very principles that lifted them. I would give less importance to mother-daughter dynamics, and more to the historical blindness that's typical of post strife generations.

Simon Willard 09-28-2010 10:42 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 181225)
It is possible then to find women who embody the successes of feminism while unwittingly rejecting the very principles that lifted them. I would give less importance to mother-daughter dynamics, and more to the historical blindness that's typical of post strife generations.

Unwittingly? Should one not address the problems of the present? I don't advocate disrespecting history, but I can't criticise someone who declines to re-fight battles of the past.

Abdicate 09-29-2010 12:12 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
One of my favorite BHTVs remains this one, with Will Wilkinson and David Runciman. I've linked to the snippet where Runciman taught me I had the option of continuing to view Hillary as a transparent phony while still finding her cold-blooded public persona preferable to Obama's [potentially dangerous Will-I-Am 'ultra-sincerity']. I could never consider supporting Hill over Obama, but Runciman's case for preferring her to him rattled my pro-Obama preference more than any other pro-Hill argument that was presented to me during the campaign.

Simon Willard 09-29-2010 12:48 AM

Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
What does a feminist believe? What defines a feminist? For me, the difficulty answering these basic questions subsumes the more esoteric distinctions argued about in this diavlog. The only clue I found in this diavlog was Hanna's comment about things that "make women's lives better". This leaves me grasping at straws when I try to understand the meaning behind the passionate discussion.

I made a simple attempt: I guessed that abortion rights must be pretty close to a strict indicator for feminism. When I looked up polling results on abortion, I find men slightly more in favor than women (though probably within the margin of polling error). OK, so I picked the wrong issue. Can one of the commenters name something with a positive polling correlation to gender difference that these women would consider a feminist issue? And if there's no gender difference, should we be using the word "feminism"?

Abdicate 09-29-2010 01:01 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
It's not really possible to define feminism in any clear way, other than as an amorphous party line. Like all party ideologies, it's a philosophical mishmash. It's a label any female is allowed to pin on her lapel.

GCox 09-29-2010 01:12 AM

Feminism
 
Can someone post a link to what feminism stands for today? They hinted in the dialog that it meant supporting subsidized child care but that was about all I got out of it. Rather than slam the entire movement for one issue briefly stated I will gladly read up on what the movement is fighting for.

Don Zeko 09-29-2010 01:45 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abdicate (Post 181260)
It's not really possible to define feminism in any clear way, other than as an amorphous party line. Like all party ideologies, it's a philosophical mishmash. It's a label any female is allowed to pin on her lapel.

Why only females? I have a Y chromosome, but I certainly consider myself a feminist.

Ocean 09-29-2010 07:27 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 181228)
Unwittingly? Should one not address the problems of the present? I don't advocate disrespecting history, but I can't criticise someone who declines to re-fight battles of the past.

Of course we need to address the problems of the present. But, we have to remember our history, the conditions and problems of the past and the difficulties to overcome them, so that we don't slip into the same or similar conditions. Always vigilant kind of idea.

Ocean 09-29-2010 07:46 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 181259)
What does a feminist believe? What defines a feminist? For me, the difficulty answering these basic questions subsumes the more esoteric distinctions argued about in this diavlog. The only clue I found in this diavlog was Hanna's comment about things that "make women's lives better". This leaves me grasping at straws when I try to understand the meaning behind the passionate discussion.

I made a simple attempt: I guessed that abortion rights must be pretty close to a strict indicator for feminism. When I looked up polling results on abortion, I find men slightly more in favor than women (though probably within the margin of polling error). OK, so I picked the wrong issue. Can one of the commenters name something with a positive polling correlation to gender difference that these women would consider a feminist issue? And if there's no gender difference, should we be using the word "feminism"?

I have identified abortion rights as one of the core principles of feminism because its a proxy for a woman's right to her own body. If we don't respect that right, I don't know how we can expect other forms of respect. But, during the discussion we had in this forum recently, we also concluded that there isn't one single absolute principle, at least not in concrete terms.

The definition of feminism arises from the conditions from which it developed. Historically, men have had a tendency to create conditions under which women's autonomy and participation in decision making were severely limited. This was achieved by limiting women's roles in society, withholding access to the tools that would permit it (education, political power), and assigning other responsibilities that would preclude such participation. Reversing those conditions is the core goal of feminism. Since the conditions have been present for so long and they are so intertwined with the rest of our culture, feminist goals can't be achieved overnight. Feminism is then a process of ongoing examination of the conditions, as they reveal themselves, that lead to inequality and taking steps to counter them.

Your last question is, I think, easy to answer. There are gender differences. Those differences should be openly recognized and celebrated. But having differences doesn't have to lead to inequality.

Bloggin' Noggin 09-29-2010 08:12 AM

Re: Feminism
 
I don't have such a link, and I hope someone will post one. Traister is actually wrong to say that anyone calling herself a feminist is a feminist. I think the central assumption is that women and men are equal (not exactly the same, but equal as persons) and this means that women should not be subordinate to men and they should have equal opportunity with men to pursue their life plans and projects as they see fit. If someone thinks it is a fundamental, basic truth that women should be subordinate to men, then they really shouldn't be called a feminist, even if they call themselves that. Perhaps there would be a way to start from the assumption that women matter as much as men, but are all better off being subordinated to men, and such a person might have some case to make that he or she was a feminist -- except that such an argument would likely depend on ridiculously implausible factual assumptions (deeply implausible now that we have experience of a more equal society).
Not long ago in this country and still in other countries, women were subordinated explicitly to men. This is no longer true in the West, but surely AT LEAST it's arguable that explicit legal subordination is not the only thing that keeps women from having equal opportunity with men. Culture and biology combine to make women bear more of the burdens of reproduction ---men, even "liberated" men do not share the burdens of reproduction with women and this holds women back from having equal opportunity with men, given theexisting culture. What is the solution? A liberal feminist will not see a big problem a solution that uses government subsidies. A conservative feminist might have more of a problem with that, but would propose a more cultural solution -- make the men do more of the work, get employers to change their attitudes about flex time etc.

When it comes to abortion, feminists are quite right that anti-choice laws involve a kind of control of women's bodies by the state that men don't actually have to face. And it is a real question whether, if they suddenly faced this kind of state control of their bodies, whether men would accept it. See Judith Jarvis Thompson's famed case of the famous violinist who has been attached to your kidneys over night (for a period of 9 months) by the Society of Music Lovers to keep him alive until a permanent donor comes along.

DenvilleSteve 09-29-2010 08:14 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abdicate (Post 181255)
One of my favorite BHTVs remains this one, with Will Wilkinson and David Runciman. I've linked to the snippet where Runciman taught me I had the option of continuing to view Hillary as a transparent phony while still finding her cold-blooded public persona preferable to Obama's [potentially dangerous Will-I-Am 'ultra-sincerity']. I could never consider supporting Hill over Obama, but Runciman's case for preferring her to him rattled my pro-Obama preference more than any other pro-Hill argument that was presented to me during the campaign.

I missed that one. Tha Cambridge guy seems very smart.

What do you make of Obama now? I think his economic policies, with their emphasis on borrowing, accumulation of debt and restrictions on commerce ( you can't buy health insurance unless the government approves of the terms ) are disastrous. As one who belives individual states have to break free of the center to enable their people to be free, I think Obama, by hastening the fall of the federal system thru faulty policy making, is doing the country long term good.

Regarding this diavlog with the two left wing gals talking their brand of feminism. Irrelevant and boring. Just as much as the jewish guys in the episode before this one talking about the international war against the muslims from the perspective of Israel. Both have nothing to do with Kansas.

Abdicate 09-29-2010 09:33 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
I'm still a big supporter of Obama--as my fundamental reason for supporting him was because I identified with his vision. I opposed the Stimulus but still believe it may have done some good; any Democratic president would respond to a massive economic collapse with a deficit-financed stimulus. (Indeed, it's difficult to imagine a Republican president not borrowing to prime the economy. Obama's two-term predecessor--whose economic policies, granted, are now disavowed by Republicans--borrowed hugely to enact TARP, right?)

Every advanced country that has national health care requires universal buy-in, doesn't it? During the health care debate, the Right had the option to respond to the universal buy-in requirement with this honest retort:

'We believe you should be free not to buy health insurance for yourself and/or your dependents. That's your freedom and responsiblilty--but while we're on the topic, let's remind you that if you get an illness, you're on your own. And that means that if--say--your non-working spouse gets cancer and has no health insurance, she will be 100% on her own--with zero public assistance and no requirement for any hospital to provide her free or discounted care.'

No Republican came forward with that brutally honest response, for reasons too obvious to mention.

Abdicate 09-29-2010 09:41 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Yes, I too groaned at Hanna Rosin's definition of 'feminist' [Someone who wants to 'make womens' lives better.'] Pabulum!

Should 'feminist' merely equate to 'supporter of legal abortion'? (I thought these Bloggingheads accepted that Sarah Palin deserves praise for publicly identifying as a feminist!)

Abdicate 09-29-2010 09:44 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
What if you are a male who strongly supports Sarah Palin--and strongly desires a Constitutional Amendment to allow states to ban abortion? Would calling yourself 'a feminist' still be considered meaningful?

If you're a female who supports Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist is cool. If you're a male who completely agrees with Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist would be perceived as being wrong.

Simon Willard 09-29-2010 09:47 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 181271)
Your last question is, I think, easy to answer. There are gender differences. Those differences should be openly recognized and celebrated. But having differences doesn't have to lead to inequality.

Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I'm speaking of gender differences on the issue of women's rights in our national conversation. So my last question still stands. If both sexes are in rough agreement, why do we use the term "feminism"? I'm trying to tease out whether feminism is really a name for a basket full of political positions with support that is gender-neutral.

Abdicate 09-29-2010 09:53 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Reversing those conditions is the core goal of feminism.

If Sarah Palin is a feminist, then any woman should feel free to publicly identify as a feminist. If you're a male who supports Sarah Palin, you're greatly testing our patience should you attempt to pin 'feminist' to your lapel, even if you agree that your grandmother should have had more opportunity.

DenvilleSteve 09-29-2010 09:56 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abdicate (Post 181280)
... any Democratic president would respond to a massive economic collapse with a deficit-financed stimulus. (Indeed, it's difficult to imagine a Republican president not borrowing to prime the economy. Obama's two-term predecessor--whose economic policies, granted, are now disavowed by Republicans--borrowed hugely to enact TARP, right?)

right, and GWB would not win a republican primary because he spent too much money. The establishment of both parties might support borrowing to prime the economy, but that does not make it right. If people are economizing in their own lives, what right does the government have to, in effect, force people to borrow money and spend it on stuff they don't need?

An economy at the local level is simply people buying and selling, producing and consuming stuff they need and want. One person builds houses, the other teaches school, another grows food, practices medicine, builds furniture, paves roads, etc. I am far from convinced such a system would collapse without high finance and quantitative easing.

bkjazfan 09-29-2010 10:02 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
I haven't watched all of the diavlog yet. I will have to since I am curious if they think Angle, Haley, O'Donnell, and Palin are feminists or right wing weirdos. Somehow I have equated feminism with the left not a broad ideological spectrum.

John

DenvilleSteve 09-29-2010 10:06 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abdicate (Post 181280)
Every advanced country that has national health care requires universal buy-in, doesn't it? During the health care debate, the Right had the option to respond to the universal buy-in requirement with this honest retort:

'We believe you should be free not to buy health insurance for yourself and/or your dependents. That's your freedom and responsiblilty--but while we're on the topic, let's remind you that if you get an illness, you're on your own. And that means that if--say--your non-working spouse gets cancer and has no health insurance, she will be 100% on her own--with zero public assistance and no requirement for any hospital to provide her free or discounted care.'

No Republican came forward with that brutally honest response, for reasons too obvious to mention.

a few problems with this. The cost of HI is higher than it would be in a free market because of goverment mandates and reporting requirements. The price of medical care for an individual paying cash is way high because ( I don't exactly know why ) of the requirement that hospitals and doctors treat those who cannot pay. I am not opposed to all rules. What about a rule that those who pay cash for treatment pay the medicare rate?

I would address the problem of people not being able to afford the care they need by having goverment run clinics and hospitals. The clinic offers rationed but adequate care to all comers, at a price based on their ability to pay. Get rid of medicare and medicaid. Allow there to be a totally free market medical system in the country.

Don Zeko 09-29-2010 10:27 AM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abdicate (Post 181282)
What if you are a male who strongly supports Sarah Palin--and strongly desires a Constitutional Amendment to allow states to ban abortion? Would calling yourself 'a feminist' still be considered meaningful?

If you're a female who supports Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist is cool. If you're a male who completely agrees with Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist would be perceived as being wrong.

That sounds like a pretty problematic definition, no? Are you willing to say that women who don't agree with the traditional basket of policy prescriptions associated with feminism can still be feminists, but men who do so cannot? Does it really make sense for Feminism to either be an ideological system or some sort of identity-based, freely modifiable label depending upon one's gender?

Simon Willard 09-29-2010 10:27 AM

Re: Feminism
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin (Post 181274)
...not exactly the same, but equal as persons ...

What does "equal" mean? If it's not synonymous with "the same", then there's a lot of wiggle room for people to redefine its meaning from time to time as convenience dictates.

As an example, let's postulate the existence of an uneducated but reasonably happy stay-at-home mom. She cooks and cleans but has no income, and doesn't participate in major family decisions, like where to live and how to allocate resources. That fits my definition of subordinate. Am I a feminist when I tell her that she is unequal? Or is she a feminist when she tells me that she considers herself to be "equal as a person".

Who gets to define the language?

chrisn 09-29-2010 10:43 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Simon:

If you mean that the NOW bunch and many other feminists really did sell themselves out during the Clinton years, and many haven't been able to define themselves beyond becoming an arm of the Democratic party, then yes. There was always some Marxism, serious Leftists, anti-establishment, anti-"patriarchy" types mixed together. I think that's what Rosin isn't exactly doing anything about, just condescendingly gathering women up by talking about chic lit and the clear moral high ground they occupy, enjoying all that "freedom." The problem is she's mixing it up with politics and current events. Not very impressive to my mind, and not really interested in broadening feminism to say, include more men.

The best argument I've heard is that freedom for women, in a utilitarian vein (which has well-known trouble with actual individuals) is good for all of us. Yet, at what cost? Isn't gender feminism doomed to fail? Is there any danger to both politics and our institutions if the bar is set so low...shouldn't those desiring change have to meet a higher standard?

My two cents.

harkin 09-29-2010 11:27 AM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
It's amusing to hear 'feminists' wondering aloud why there is no sustaining 'wave' whereby women help women to succeed......from the very same women who declare that it's impossible for a conservative woman to be a feminist. Let's shut out half of our gender for purely political reasons while we wonder why corporate women are shutting out younger women for purely political reasons.......it's as stilted an outlook as the CBC forbidding conservative blacks from attending their meetings.

The only answer to the problem is the realization that conservative feminists are progressive in thought and action. Just not the 'progressive' (bigger government for more people and complete freedom for the taxpayers to support my medical decisions all the time) thay have in mind.

It's as if leftist feminists havent really moved forward from Betty Friedan's "electric ax" moment.

stephanie 09-29-2010 12:01 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin (Post 181212)
Some might think I have no place pronouncing on feminism, but I agree with Traister that Sarah Palin should be allowed to count herself a feminist.

I agree, but Traister annoyed me a little simply because she seemed to be taking a somewhat different position than she had in the diavlog with Liz Mair, and wasn't as clear about what her position was as it seems that would require. Mostly, she tried to shrug off the question by saying that of course they (Palin et al.) were if they said they were, as it's only a conservative slander that there's any questioning of credentials beyond whoever calls themselves a feminist. Given that Traister is my age, and I know from being involved in feminism somewhat in college and law school (I was on a feminst journal once upon a time) that there was tons of "you aren't really a feminist" being tossed around (usually by radical feminsts against more liberal feminists, but also some discussion of the conservative women who might use the term even back then), her comment seemed a bit disingenuous.

That sounds harsher than I mean, though, as I generally liked her and this discussion, even if I had a very different perception of the '08 campaign and what Hillary's mistakes and successes were.

Quote:

What follows from that commitment to women as persons is a matter of debate.
Personally, I think this makes sense as a way to approach it. My personal approach is simply that women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men, without a distinction based on sex alone. The reason for the rephrasing is that one could easily take a conservative twist on "women are persons" to justify an argument that does not involve the basic assumption of equality. A conservative might even think that approaching it based on equality does not help women (as some radical feminists also argue, IMO), and I do think that equality is the key element.

However, I'm not all that wedded to the term, either, anymore, and I'm all for anyone calling themselves feminists, as opposed to it being used as an insult.

stephanie 09-29-2010 12:05 PM

Re: Feminism
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin (Post 181274)
I don't have such a link, and I hope someone will post one.

I think it would be tough to find one that everyone would sign on to, so am hesitant to try and define it based on issues. It's not a political agenda, precisely, and there are definitely different approaches (as you say later in this post).

Quote:

Traister is actually wrong to say that anyone calling herself a feminist is a feminist. I think the central assumption is that women and men are equal (not exactly the same, but equal as persons) and this means that women should not be subordinate to men and they should have equal opportunity with men to pursue their life plans and projects as they see fit. If someone thinks it is a fundamental, basic truth that women should be subordinate to men, then they really shouldn't be called a feminist, even if they call themselves that.
I agree with this (and you said it better than I did in my post to you before I saw this).

stephanie 09-29-2010 12:08 PM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abdicate (Post 181284)
If you're a male who supports Sarah Palin, you're greatly testing our patience should you attempt to pin 'feminist' to your lapel, even if you agree that your grandmother should have had more opportunity.

No, if you are a man who supports Sarah Palin yet considers yourself a feminist for some reason, you should explain what that reason is. I might agree with you and I might not. Same with a woman who supports Sarah Palin -- I see no difference.

AemJeff 09-29-2010 12:15 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by harkin (Post 181295)
It's amusing to hear 'feminists' wondering aloud why there is no sustaining 'wave' whereby women help women to succeed......from the very same women who declare that it's impossible for a conservative woman to be a feminist. Let's shut out half of our gender for purely political reasons while we wonder why corporate women are shutting out younger women for purely political reasons.......it's as stilted an outlook as the CBC forbidding conservative blacks from attending their meetings.

The only answer to the problem is the realization that conservative feminists are progressive in thought and action. Just not the 'progressive' (bigger government for more people and complete freedom for the taxpayers to support my medical decisions all the time) thay have in mind.

It's as if leftist feminists havent really moved forward from Betty Friedan's "electric ax" moment.

It's almost as if "progressive" has an entirely new meaning! And "feminist" in scare quotes, when it's used in reference to liberal women! Why does harkin hate the English language?

operative 09-29-2010 12:16 PM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
What if we take Sarah Palin out of the equation and look to some women who evoke far less strong reactions: Nikki Haley (well, she evokes strong reaction from racist hicks like Jake Knotts, but that's besides the point...), Meg Whitman, etc.

I wouldn't label myself a feminist and I wouldn't label myself anti-feminist. I like Haley a great deal due to her stances and her personal integrity (managing to succeed in South Carolina as a second-generation Indian American is pretty cool, too). So while she's on my very short list for politicians I am hopeful will have a national future (joining Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and Allen West), I wouldn't say that her being a woman is a major factor.

operative 09-29-2010 12:17 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
I don't know about him but I hate the English language for its many irregular verbs and its deep orthography.

stephanie 09-29-2010 12:19 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Anyway, what I really came here planning to comment on was not the feminism thing, but the discussion of the Clinton campaign. Rebecca seemed to be arguing that Hillary's mistake was in not playing up her alleged differences as a woman sooner and thus losing younger women.

Like Rebecca, I'm not all that young, but unlike her, I didn't start by being pro Obama and then move toward Hillary. Quite the opposite -- I started by being not excited about but okay with Hillary (once it seemed there were no other likely options and that she actually would win), and then leaping happily to Obama once I started to think he might have a chance, and getting more and more intense about the differences as the campaign went on (more intense than the actual differences justified, and this reflects what I remember being the general tenor of the events, not just my personal reaction).

Also, it was the focus on what makes her like other candidates, as opposed to playing up what supposedly made her special (sharing in a particular experience of a generation of women) that made her seem a realistic candidate to me. If she'd focused on her experience as a lightening rod, it wouldn't have appealed to me, it would have caused me to question whether she could win. Moreover, the focus on her as First Lady is a huge turnoff for me -- I'm not excited by any candidate based simply on her sex, and was bothered somewhat by the notion that the first serious female presidential candidate would be there because of her husband's experience. I couldn't understand why many older feminists seemed to think that I had some duty to support Hillary simply because she was a woman -- it offended me somewhat.

As for the type of candidate Hillary was, she was boxed in due to her voting record and couldn't simply become more liberal simply by choosing a campaign strategy. Focusing more on personal stuff (and unfair media and crying), as indicated above, would not have made this female Obama supporter more inclined toward Hillary. And as the campaign went on I focused more on the types of arguments made -- the conservative ones, frankly -- and didn't at all see what she was standing for as some feminist statement. It seemed even more of a typical cynical Clintonian triangulation strategy than she'd had from the beginning.

popcorn_karate 09-29-2010 12:19 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 181296)
My personal approach is simply that women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men, without a distinction based on sex alone.

so, in your opinion, where specifically does there need to be more work done in the U.S. to achieve this? what are the outstanding challenges?

just curious.

operative 09-29-2010 12:25 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
I think Hillary's biggest flaw, in terms of campaigning, was writing off the caucuses. She was essentially like Rudy Giuliani, writing off races where she should've been competing and believing ones she would naturally compete strongly in would come through for her.

Message-wise, you're right that she couldn't conceivably position herself to the left of Obama, particularly on the war since she had voted for it. That made it very hard to win, too. It will also make a primary challenge unlikely, because you're not going to win a primary against a sitting president running to his center.

Another Hillary flaw, from virtually all non-biased observers close to her whether it be in the White House, the Senate, or the campaign, is that she does seem like a genuinely off-putting person in her style. That will come back to bite you, even if it never becomes glaringly public

AemJeff 09-29-2010 12:30 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 181302)
I don't know about him but I hate the English language for its many irregular verbs and its deep orthography.

That just makes for more interesting sentences and better poetry. :)

stephanie 09-29-2010 12:40 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 181304)
so, in your opinion, where specifically does there need to be more work done in the U.S. to achieve this? what are the outstanding challenges?

just curious.

I think the law is basically fine, that the changes that needed to be made have been made. There are adjustments still (I think the Lilly Ledbetter amendment is one example), but the major victories have been won. [Edit: that I think this is one reason some feminists would probably say I'm not one. I call myself one because I care about equality and about a lot of the issues that get grouped under feminism, and because I think we should be clear about thinking that men and women should have the same opportunities and not be placed in roles based on sex alone, and the term is an easy way of making my view on that known. I'm happy for anyone who agrees -- as Palin seems to, based on her life choices -- to call themselves feminists, I think, although I'm open to argument.]

Thus, the arguments become about more difficult issues (it seems to me) -- media coverage that seems slanted, how people really live their lives, and so on, and for the most part I think that's not so much a political issue (although there are political issues that one can argue for based on these things) and instead a social one. (And here's where the personal is the political thing comes in, of course, although I have mixed feelings about that and what's meant by it these days.)

I'd say a feminist stance is to lead one's life in a way that places equality as a priority, in terms of how the family is run, etc. This need not mean that one partner can't stay home, but it should not assume that the woman is the default person to stay home, it should not consider the cost of day care vs. the woman's salary and not vs. the man's, it should resist talking about women working vs. raising their children when men don't get talked about that way. And, as a corollary, it should not assume that men should consider the cost of supporting a family in choosing a career, whereas women consider only the need to support themselves or contribute to a family income. These are all built in biases that I think are fading (I think they've changed a lot since I was a child and even starting my first job and now).

As far as related political issues, I can certainly see abortion rights or birth control availability as feminist issues (although I think one can be a pro life feminist), and I'd also argue for various accomodations for family leave and the like as a feminist issue, although that as a necessary part that the leave and other benefits be absolutely equally available to men. I'd include in here an opposition to some of the social con ideas proposed by people like Quayle (years ago, obviously) and Douthat -- a family wage, where men supporting families get priority, for example, or tax benefits strongly based on traditional families or marriage and having a partner at home (the traditional way it's been, where the code benefits this, and penalizes spouses who make similar incomes).

Not sure what conservative feminists might consider big issues -- quite possibly there would be arguments for anti-pornography type stuff, in fact, which obviously has been a big thing also for radical feminists like Catherine MacKinnon.

stephanie 09-29-2010 12:44 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 181305)
Message-wise, you're right that she couldn't conceivably position herself to the left of Obama, particularly on the war since she had voted for it.

Oh, she could have -- she did on health care, somewhat. But the war and defense and related issues were the ones that set the tone, and she was boxed in on those. Plus, she, more than anyone, almost had to choose the Clinton moderate approach to have any chance at being seen as electable.

You seem to be implying that there's little room to Obama's left, though, and if that's your claim, I really couldn't disagree more.

operative 09-29-2010 12:49 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 181309)
Oh, she could have -- she did on health care, somewhat. But the war and defense and related issues were the ones that set the tone, and she was boxed in on those. Plus, she, more than anyone, almost had to choose the Clinton moderate approach to have any chance at being seen as electable.

You seem to be implying that there's little room to Obama's left, though, and if that's your claim, I really couldn't disagree more.

Oh I don't mean to suggest that there's no room on Obama's left (there's always room to the political 'end' of a candidate, even if that candidate was Dennis Kucinich), just not room for Hillary. There's room for a Russ Feingold, but he's about the only serious politician who I could see launching a campaign against Obama. There are a few other senators--Sanders (he'd have to re-register first), Boxer (who I think will lose, too), Sheldon Whitehouse, but none of them will run against him.

I do agree with you on Hillary.

Abdicate 09-29-2010 12:57 PM

Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
'Feminist' is problematic label and merits a problematic definition. (It's an amorphous label with delightfully movable goalposts.) If a man can adore Sarah Palin and seek to have abortion banned nationally--and sincerely believes he does so in part 'to make women's lives better'--Rosin believes he can still rightfully call himself a feminist. (Or does she only allow Sarah Palin herself this latitude?) It's a 'club-membership' term that means nothing.

Peter Twieg 09-29-2010 01:04 PM

Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)
 
I don't have a strong position on whether anyone who labels him or herself as a feminist should be considered as one by others, but it does seem somewhat strained to say (as I believe Traister does) that anyone can be a feminist, but can also not embrace feminist policies and actually be anti-feminist. It seems really odd to allow one term to be defined malleably but not all the other derivative terms whose definitions depend on the allowed malleability of the original.

It's clear that the tension is this: Traister does in fact believe that there are core "feminist beliefs", but simply thinks that it would hurt the advancement of those beliefs if people who disagreed with them were criticized for adopting the feminist brand. But this kind of maneuvering creates all sorts of semantic ambiguities.


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