Feminist icon from the 60s, Gloria Steinem, has urged women, especially younger women, who tend to support septuagenarian self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont, to support Hillary Clinton as the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate.
Older feminists such as Steinem and Madeleine Albright hope Hillary Clinton will be the first woman president in U.S. history. Albright was the first female U.S. Secretary of State. She said the real revolution in the U.S. would not be that which Sanders speaks of, but electing the first female commander-in-chief. Albright said:
“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done, There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”
Maybe there is a special place in hell for someone who claimed on national U.S. TV that 500,000 Iraqi children dead from sanctions on Hussein's Iraq was worth it.
Albright said women could be judgmental toward one another and that they may forget how hard Clinton has worked to get where she is. Surely it is her policies and performance that women are judging and should be judging rather than whether Clinton worked hard to get where she is. The fact that younger women are supporting an older man is a sign that they see gender as less important than policies.
Gloria Steinem, one of the most famous spokeswomen of the feminist movement, took Albright's sentiment a step further on Friday in an interview with the talk show host Bill Maher. Explaining how women tend to become more active in politics as they become older, she suggested younger women were just backing Mr. Sanders so that they could meet young men. Here is the exchange:
“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” Ms. Steinem said. Realizing that this was potentially offensive, Mr. Maher recoiled. “Oh. Now if I said that, ‘They’re for Bernie because that’s where the boys are,’ you’d swat me.” But Ms. Steinem laughed it off, replying, “How well do you know me?”
Why on earth would feminists be wondering about where the boys are? This is surely the sexist view of how women are supposed to be. Steinem's positions have often been controversial. She was a CIA agent for all of four years. She spied on radical women who participated in events in the former Soviet Union.
This is not to deny that Steinem contributed a great deal to the feminist movement. It just shows that her role is mixed.
Unlike some supporters of Clinton, many younger women apparently think other issues than gender should be decisive in choosing which presidential candidate they will support. On Facebook, Steinem attempted to walk back a bit from her comments but her attempt drew many caustic replies. Here is one:
Mandy Carson-Kimura How could that have been misunderstood? You did exactly the opposite of your goal which was to lean us towards Hillary! Between you and Madeline Albright you're driving us right into Bernie's arms! I vote with my brain and my integrity not my vagina!!! #bernitdown
Playing the gender card may not work for Hillary. She has too much bad policy baggage to outweigh any advantage she might gain by possibly being the first woman president. Younger women, especially those supporting feminist goals, may want to see a woman president but not just any woman president and in particular, Hillary Clinton.