What (some) feminists are saying:
“This election represents a turning point for me. I am changing my registration to the Green Party. And I am never again voting for a male candidate except in the unlikely event that a male candidate meets the conditions I outline below. I will vote for pro-choice women from any party…” –V (full text below)
“No more votes for men. No more. My entire professional/public life has been about, because of, by, for, and of "men," and now I'm finished.” -TH
“Maintaining a unified party front is not my responsibility as a voter; it's the party's responsibility.” -E
“In the electoral college system my vote means nothing and I'll probably cast it for McKinney, but I'm doing what I can for Obama and/or Clinton in the purple state 20 minutes north of here.” -M
“This is the hill I am prepared to die on. I'm not voting for men anymore.” -S
“There are 16/100 women U.S. Senators.
There are 87/535 women representatives.
There are 8/50 women governors in 2008.
There have been 0/43 U.S. Presidents.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I do not believe things cannot change. This is my attempt at changing them”. –TH
“I may change my registration to Green, too. I think you might be better off doing that as an initial move. It's going to be a lot more obvious to the Dems that women are deserting them if they start registering en masse for the greens than simply by voting green.” -A
“VP? Many think she should turn it down. Women have had to work subordinate to less qualified junior men too often. It usually isn’t a good idea, and I don’t see this situation as an exception.” –O
“I urge [those of you] who think that feminists shouldn't vote with their feet and EXIT from the Democratic Party's base to think again. This primary campaign has made it clear that the male leaders of the Democratic Party feel they are under no obligation to feminist women who make up part of the Democratic base.” -Vera
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“I do not care which person is your candidate. I don't care what you think of Hillary Clinton as a potential president. What is being done in the press is akin to a pack of rabid 7th graders trying to haze the nerdy girl in school simply because they can. It has nothing to do with her qualifications -- it has to do with gender, and these lemming pundits think that it's perfectly acceptable because everyone is doing it, including women like Andrea Mitchell and Anne Kornblut.
Treat her with disrespect simply because she is female, then you are treating every woman, everywhere, with disrespect. And we are not putting up with that shit.” -- Christy Hardin Smith, Firedoglake
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Deborah Tannen: The Hillary Factor – why she can’t win.
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From the Washington Post interview with Hillary Clinton (2008/5/19):
Q. One of the stories that has been well documented over and over again is basically how you've been treated by the media. Can you talk about that a little bit, because I get the idea that it's really pissed off a lot of women.
A. "I think it has. I think it's been deeply offensive to millions of women.
Q. Do you think this has been a particularly racist campaign?
A. I do not. I think this has been a positive, civil campaign. I think that both gender and race have been obviously a part of it because of who we are and every poll I've seen show more people would be reluctant to vote for a woman to vote for an African American, which rarely gets reported on either. The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable or at least more accepted. And I think there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when and if it ever raises its ugly head. But it does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by comments and reactions of people who are nothing but misogynists.
Q. Isn't that how it's always been though.
A. Oppression of women and discrimination against women is universal. You can go to places in the world where there are no racial distinctions except everyone is joined together in their oppression of women. The treatment of women is the single biggest problem we have politically and socially in the world. If you look at the extremism and the fundamentalism, it is all about controlling women, at its base. The idea that we would have a presidential campaign in which so much of what has occurred that has been very sexist would be just shrugged off I think is a very unfortunate commentary about the lack of seriousness that should be applied to any kind of discrimination or prejudice. I have spent my entire life trying to stand up for civil rights and women's rights and human rights and I abhor wherever it is discrimination is present.
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Using my vote as a protest
“[…] I'm a registered Democrat and I've never voted for a Republican. I've also sent money, every year since I could first afford it, to the Democratic Party. I've sent money to every Democratic presidential candidate for the past several elections. When I worked on Capital Hill, I worked for a Democrat. I worked in the campaigns of two Democratic candidates (male, naturally).
This election represents a turning point for me. I am changing my registration to the Green Party. And I am never again voting for a male candidate except in the unlikely event that a male candidate meets the conditions I outline below. I will vote for pro-choice women from any party.
I feel as though I've spent most of my life working for men, helping them to advance their careers and obtain promotions and raises that I seldom see. My ideas have been appropriated, I've seen twenty- and thirty-something CEOs spend their start-up's money on questionable entertainment (guess what kind), and I've reported to many men who didn't have my smarts OR my experience. When I worked for a member of the House of Representatives, I was constantly harassed, culminating in the day I was locked in a closet and told that I couldn't come out until I "showed my legs" (I always wore pants, you see). That's the main reason I left Washington, many years ago, and decided that a political career was not for me.
I thought my eyes were open. But this past year has opened my eyes wider. I had truly underestimated the amount of woman-hating that the combined media and political punditry of our culture could produce.
So here's what I expect of the party to which I have shown allegiance all these years. I expect the leaders of the Democratic Party to stand up and loudly decry and reject the misogyny we've seen in this primary campaign. Barack Obama will soon be the leader of the party. I expect him to speak out and show that he understands that misogyny is a huge problem. I expect him to serve the women of this country, especially the women who have been hurt and disappointed by this primary campaign, by pointing out sexism and misogyny whenever and wherever it shows up. I need to see some sign that he gets it.
Here are the conditions under which I'd vote for a male candidate: He must give a speech similar to Hillary Clinton's statement to the UN's fourth world conference on women, in which she proclaimed that "women's rights are human rights." He must object, loudly, publicly, and often, when some misogynist sexist media tool refers to a woman as a bitch, or compares her to a nagging ex-wife, scolding mom, or punitive schoolteacher, or comments on her clothing, hair, thighs, age, or lack of "femininity," or suggests that she's got male organs, or says she is too aggressive, too argumentative, or too ambitious. In short, I will only support a male candidate who shows me that he understands that misogyny is poisoning our political discourse.
Whatever one thinks of Hillary Clinton, she is a leader of the Democratic Party and has worked as hard or harder than anyone on its behalf. She has given up a lot to lead a public life. The nearly all-male Democratic Party leadership owes it to her to express indignation at the way she has been treated by commentators in the press, television, and Internet, and by individuals within the party and within some campaign organizations.
If the nearly all-male Democratic Party leaders do not indicate in some effective way that they understand and reject a system by which women leaders are attacked, mocked, and undermined, then they do not deserve the support they have had from feminists, and I hope that millions of women depart, en masse, from the Democratic Party.” –Vera
“I urge [those of you] who think that feminists shouldn't vote with their feet and EXIT from the Democratic Party's base to think again. This primary campaign has made it clear that the male leaders of the Democratic Party feel they are under no obligation to feminist women who make up part of the Democratic base. Feminists can always be counted on to suck it up and vote Democratic. But I think feminists have got to get angrier, make that anger visible, and become a lot more strategic.
California is a perfect place to start. Obama will carry California. He doesn't need the votes of radical women like myself to do that. I am free to use my vote for another purpose: making my EXIT from the Democratic Party. My individual action will be noticed only if it is part of a larger movement, and I suspect that it will be. I would like to be part of a movement that makes the Democratic Party leadership wake up and realize that if they want our votes, they must show us that they take us seriously.
It's not correct that third party movements are pointless and ineffective. In the U.S., a shift in the focus of a major party occurs when a third party, or some other phenomenon (such as the recent rise in identifying as Independent), becomes a vehicle for carrying away some segment of the party's base. That sort of thing makes a party straighten up its priorities. If, in California, there's an increase in women registering as Green and a commensurate decrease in women registering as Democrat, the Democratic Party may notice.
Furthermore, if enough people lend money and energy, a third party can win office on the local and state level. The Democratic Party has communicated to me that I am excluded from the political conversation taking place on the national level; I'm only needed when it's time to cast my vote for the man who's going to protect me from government-owned uterus laws. On the state and local level, however, I could help elect some Green candidates who stand on a party platform that's much more aligned with my views.
Here's a portion of the Green Party's platform: "Since the beginning of what we call civilization, when men's dominance over women was firmly established until the present day, our history has been marred with oppression of and brutality to women. The Green Party deplores this system of male domination, known as patriarchy, in all its forms, both subtle and overt - from oppression, inequality, and discrimination to domestic violence, rape, trafficking and forced slavery. The change the world is crying for cannot occur unless women's voices are heard." *
This primary election has been an incredibly painful show to watch. But up until now, I always believed that attempting to vote strategically, as a feminist, would have been tilting at windmills. Now something has happened to mobilize our anger. It's a nascent anger, and I hope at least some women will step up to nurse it along until it's big enough, and powerful enough, to be HEARD.” -Vera
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I am never again voting for a male candidate. -Dawn Coyote
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
What (some) feminists are saying: