Feminists Fumble and Foul Clinton’s Campaign 

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Bernie Sanders of being sexist. However, as political columnist Brent Budowsky pointed out in The Observer “The sad and strange thing about the bogus attack by Ms. Clinton against Mr. Sanders when she suggested he is sexist is that it was both wholly false and wholly unnecessary.”

The truth of the matter is that Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been gaining popularity and now has the overwhelming support of voters in the 18-24 demographic, including women. In an effort to persuade these women to vote for her, the Clinton campaign has resorted to misrepresenting statements Sanders has made in an attempt to portray him as having sexist views.600.jpg

When Bernie Sanders made the broad statement that, “people need to stop shouting about gun control” in order to encourage more civil discourse concerning this divisive issue, Hillary Clinton saw it as an opportunity.

At the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, Clinton gave a scripted response to Sanders statement as if it had been a personal attack on her and her gender by saying, “I’ve been told to stop shouting about gun violence. Well I’m not shouting. It’s just when women talk, people think we’re shouting.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has even had some feminist icons try to convince more young women to support her. However, their statements may have done more harm than good.

On Feb. 5th, Gloria Steinmen was interviewed on Real Time with Bill Maher and when asked why there are more young women supporting Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton she said, “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.’”

Maher instantly recognized the inherent sexism of her remark and replied, “Oh. Now if I said that, ‘They’re for Bernie because that’s where the boys are,’ you’d swat me.”

Two days later, on Feb. 7th, Madeline Albright introduced Clinton at a political rally by saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” To which Ms. Clinton laughed, clapped, and thanked her twice for the introduction.

Hillary seems far too willing to use her gender as a reason why women should vote for her. Her twitter account describes her as a “Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate” and while this description seems slightly tongue-in-cheek, it’s worth pointing out that the list begins by using terms which are in direct reference to her gender and not her political experience or actual accomplishments.

Everything Hillary Clinton does seems calculated for political expediency, but this raises the question as to how could such a carefully crafted campaign make such a foolish mistake as to falsely accuse her opponent of sexism and then truthfully open themselves up for the same accusation to be leveled against them.

Social media was ablaze with women who were upset with what these feminist icons had said, many considered their comments to be sexist and demeaning.

Nina Turner, who is a former Ohio state senator, a women of color, and a democrat, seemed upset beyond words.

Meghan McCain, who is a columnist, television and radio personality, and daughter of Republican Senator John McCain, had some harsh words for the two feminists.

But it was Katherine Timpf, who is a reporter for the National Review as well as a comedian, who turned Madeline Albright’s statement about women going to hell for not supporting one another into an all out attack on Hillary Clinton’s credibility.

Full Disclosure: I’m not a women but I do consider myself to be a feminist. I’m also a supporter of Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

I encourage everyone, men and women, to share their thoughts by leaving a comment. But I have some questions meant specifically for the wonderful women of the inter-web, what do you think of the statements made by Gloria Steinmen and Madeline Albright? Do you consider yourself to be a feminist? And who will you be supporting for president?

 

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6 thoughts on “Feminists Fumble and Foul Clinton’s Campaign 

  1. WordScribbles

    I didn’t know more than half the stuff in this post about Clinton, and I have to say that I am disappointed. Shocked? Not entirely.

    I’m more of a Bernie person myself (and a woman), but I don’t really prefer labeling myself a feminist because it comes with a lot of connotations and stereotypes nowadays. I just prefer to say what I believe and what I don’t instead of labeling myself, though if “equalist” isn’t coined already it would be a good term (ignoring Legend of Korra stigma, as the bad guys in that show were called equalists).

    Back on the topic at hand, I think I agree with Meghan McCain the most on the subject — by claiming that the younger generation are just “going with what the boys do,” you’re being pretty damn sexist yourself. It assumes that women don’t make decisions on their own, and just instead go by what men do, as if they are somehow mentally superior.

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    1. Well, I mean, a lot of the issue is that people are lumping multiple contradicting waves of feminism into one big Feminism, which isn’t true at all. Hillary Clinton is more of a second wave liberal white feminist, which is a bundle of words that don’t make too much sense out of context.

      For example, I’m a transgender man, and if you had to describe my views, it would be third wave intersectional feminism (and even then it’s contestable). Many feminists take huge issue with “white” feminism (as opposed to intersectional feminism) because white feminism is called white feminism because it doesn’t take into account the needs of women of color.

      Women of color are typically leaning toward Bernie, because Bernie’s ideals better serve people of color. But Hillary is turning it into a feminist issue because to second wave feminism, a woman president – no matter what type of woman – is still a goal. It’s not a bad one. But it’s not the only thing we should consider.

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      1. WordScribbles

        I agree that people lump together a bunch of beliefs and label it “feminism,” which tends to steer feminism’s light into a bad direction, because for some reason the most popular feminism concerns are the radical beliefs. This makes it hard for people to understand that there are actually various branches of feminism. Instead, people just label all of it as a bad (or crazy) thing.

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    2. Scribbles, thank you for your comment. I agree with almost everything you’ve said. I don’t mind referring to myself as a feminist though, maybe that is because I am judged less for it since I am a man. But I’m %100 for equality (maybe we should turn equalist into a thing). I think it is really unfortunate that the word feminism has come to be viewed as an aggressive or even negative term by many people but that’s the world we live in.

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  2. I fear I’m about to be too forgiving on certain issues, and I don’t feel totally comfortable with that, but here I go…

    Regarding Bernie’s statement, “people need to stop shouting about gun control,” and the Clinton campaign’s misrepresentation, I agree with you 100%. That was dishonest, underhanded, and crappy. It was also stupid for the myriad reasons you and others have pointed out.

    Off topic, but it bugs me that more people don’t notice this happening. It happened during the last Republican debate in the middle of a bigger Rubio stumble when he said “let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing”… in the context of other statements about Obama deliberately damaging America. Minutes later, before answering a question about something else, Trump said “First of all, Marco said earlier on that President Obama knows exactly what he’s doing, like we have this president that really knows. I disagree, respectfully, with Marco.” And it snowballed from there, as if Rubio had praised Obama. It’s deliberate misrepresentation, deliberate omission of context, and it’s so freaking dishonest.

    And the Clinton campaign did the same thing, it was wrong, and I’m disappointed. But… I’m not sure to what degree the Clinton campaign should be blamed for other statements.

    Albright’s “special place in hell” is something she often includes at speaking gigs–she said it at a 2004 Wellesley reunion and they put it on the back of a t-shirt. The first time I recall hearing it, it was Taylor Swift responding to Tina Fey’s and Amy Poehler’s jokes about Swift’s love life. It’s out there in culture, and Albright’s use wasn’t smart in the broader context of Clinton’s attempt to woo young women voters, but I didn’t read it as scolding.

    Steinem’s comments on Bill Maher were far worse, but I can’t imagine that was part of a Clinton campaign strategy–I suspect Steinem was speaking on her own. And as you suggest, her reduction of young women’s motivations for supporting Sanders was awful, but I think it was some allusion to “Bernie Bros,” which aren’t Sanders’ fault, but might be Sanders’ problem to deal with.

    I feel similarly about Clinton’s situation–I don’t think Albright’s and Steinem’s comments were her fault, but they’re now her problem to deal with (or, perhaps they are her fault… I’m not sure of the timeline here). Regardless, she has to deal with what appears to be one of many divisions between second and third wave feminists, and moving forward, I hope she does it directly (by addressing issues) and honestly (not by lying about Sanders).

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  3. Dr. Mason, perhaps you are being a bit too forgiving, and perhaps I am being a bit too judgmental towards the Clinton campaign. I didn’t want to accuse them of giving Steinmen or Albright talking points. I don’t think the Clinton campaign would have allowed those comments to be said publicly if they had the chance to prevent it. I think that Clinton is far too much of a well polished politician with a carefully crafted campaign to allow something like that to happen. Sanders on the other hand seems to always be sincere and that is one of the reasons why I support him. Steinmen made her comment on a talk show all by herself. But Albright was speaking at a Clinton rally with Hillary Clinton standing right next to her. The difference between their comments and the outrageously sexist Bernie Bro’s (which according to some mainstream news sources may be a much smaller group than the Clinton campaign has portrayed them as) is that Sanders has already spoken out unequivocally against the Bernie Bro’s and Clinton has defended the statements of Steinmen and Albright (both amazing women who I have a lot of respect for even though they have said unfortunate things). Did you notice the way Clinton hid behind her gender at the last town hall debate when Sanders spoke about her being an “establishment candidate” and Clinton replied with “Honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman President, as exemplifying the establishment”? It seemed like she was both evading the accusation while also pandering to women. I feel she is very disingenuous. She is still way better than the Republican candidates (in my opinion) but I admire Bernie Sanders for his sincerity the way I admired Obama back in 2008. And please don’t think that I am somehow overly critical of Clinton just because she is a women. If Elizabeth Warren were running she would definitely have my vote.

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