Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gloria Steinem: Women Are Never Front-Runners

In an editorial in today's New York Times, Gloria Steinem says so eloquently what I have been trying to formulate in my tired brain:
Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.

That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).

I’m supporting Senator Clinton because like Senator Obama she has community organizing experience, but she also has more years in the Senate, an unprecedented eight years of on-the-job training in the White House, no masculinity to prove, the potential to tap a huge reservoir of this country’s talent by her example, and now even the courage to break the no-tears rule. I’m not opposing Mr. Obama; if he’s the nominee, I’ll volunteer. Indeed, if you look at votes during their two-year overlap in the Senate, they were the same more than 90 percent of the time. Besides, to clean up the mess left by President Bush, we may need two terms of President Clinton and two of President Obama.

But what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.

What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.

What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t.

What worries me is that reporters ignore Mr. Obama’s dependence on the old — for instance, the frequent campaign comparisons to John F. Kennedy — while not challenging the slander that her progressive policies are part of the Washington status quo.

Read the rest of her excellent piece in the NYT here.


scepter66 said...

Well put! I'm no Steinem fan nor i am I a democrat but it seems that there is this huge fear of Hillary. I'm convinced that most of the republicans i know are afraid of her because Bill was a good president and we all know that she is the brains of the operation. The last thing they want is a democrat that will do a great job. but it's the remainder of people who simply are afraid of having a woman, any woman, as president. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. She has bigger balls than any of the other candidates. Is THIS what scares people?
If Americans really want change, well...........

Sue J said...

Scepter66, your sister would be proud!