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Feminists Hate Hillary?

Susan J. Douglas, professor at the University of Michigan and avowed feminist, explains in her article published today why feminists can't stand Hillary and won't vote for her in the Democratic primary:

We sat around the dinner table, a group of 50-something progressive feminists, talking to a friend from England about presidential politics. We were all for Hillary, weren't we, he asked. Hillary? We hated Hillary. He was taken aback. Weren't we her base? Wasn't she one of us? Why did we hate Hillary?

Of course, a lot of people seem to hate Hillary. According to some polls, anywhere from 39 to 50 percent of respondents claim they'd vote against her no matter what; her "negatives" continue to be high. Many of these are Republicans and men. But many are not. According to a Harris poll in March, 52 percent of married women said they would not vote for her. Nearly half of adults say they dislike her personality and her politics. Unlike her husband, people seem to find her cold and don't see her connecting with everyday people, and this is especially true for married women. Ironically, it is Gen Xers, those between 31 and 42, who give her the most support.

So what gives? For people like my friends and me, her hawkish position on Iraq and her insistence that the U.S. maintain a military presence there even after the troops are withdrawn have been very disappointing. But it's more than any specific position. Women don't trust Hillary. They see her as an opportunist; many feel betrayed by her. Why?

Baby boomer women grew up with the Feminine Mystique and then came of age with the Women's Liberation Movement. As a result, millions of us have spent our lives crafting a compromise--or a fusion--between femininity on the one hand and feminism on the other. And for many of us feminism did not mean trying to be more like men. It meant challenging patriarchy: trying to bring equity to family life, humanizing the workplace, prioritizing women's issues in politics, and confronting the dangers of militarism and imperialism. And millions of us fought (and continue to fight) these battles wearing lipstick, skirts and a smile: the masquerade of femininity we are compelled to don.

Hillary, by contrast, seems to want to be more like a man in her demeanor and politics, makes few concessions to the social demands of femininity, and yet seems to be only a partial feminist. She seems above us, exempting herself from compromises women have to make every day, while, at the same time, leaving some of the basic tenets of feminism in the dust. We are sold out on both counts. In other words, she seems like patriarchy in sheep's clothing.

Feminists can't stand her, anti-war leftists can't stand her, and conservatives can't stand her. So who supports this woman? According to Ms. Douglas' article, it's the voters between the ages of 31 and 42 who support her the most, not the largest bloc of the voting public. That distinction goes to adults ages 55 and over, and something tells me they won't be voting for Hillary, either.

Comments (13)

All Hillary has to do to wi... (Below threshold)

All Hillary has to do to win over that over 55 group is suck up to AARP, and promise to do good things for Social Security and Medicare recipients. Best part for her, she wouldn't even have to follow through with promises, she would just have to promise it.

Seems to me that Hillary in... (Below threshold)

Seems to me that Hillary in really an old-fashioned girl, of the gold digger type. Her primary claims to achievement are all based on her husband's job. She keeps referring to what "we" did while in the White House. Who voted for her? She hauls Bill out whenever she's running into trouble, whether it's fund raising or pulling her foot out of her mouth. She used his position/contacts/etc. to get elected in New York, as she did not have an elective office of her own to tout. And she'll say anything and do anything to get what she wants: money, power, prestige, acclaim. Seriously, she's an old-fashioned gold digger, not a feminist icon.

Seems to me that Hillary's ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Seems to me that Hillary's strongest support is among the fat cats who think that Clinton's magic name will be sufficient to carry her all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue with no real opposition either Pub or Dem.

I disagree.

I won't attempt to speak for the feminists, but her political opportunism on Iraq has offended me deeply. She was all for it when the winds were blowing that way but now that the tide has turned, she's the biggest dove around.

Sorry, Hill. If you were for it in the political good times and had some rational basis for still being for today, when it's not the popular thing, at least I could respect you. Turns out you're very much like your husband -- saying one thing and doing the opposite.

Eager to read the lefty def... (Below threshold)

Eager to read the lefty defense here -- if any. Barn, what say you? Lee?

I'm afraid that we listened... (Below threshold)

I'm afraid that we listened to Dick "Windsock" Morris when it comes to Hillary, and are now paying the price. We should have been building her up, not tearing her down, before she got to the general. Obama will be a lot harder to beat then Hillary.

Hilliary gets ripped by the... (Below threshold)

Hilliary gets ripped by the hard left and anti-war liberals because she doesn't pander *enough*. I won't say that she does this out of principle. I think she's just smart enough to realize that to get the presidency she has to get the middle and the middle aren't hard core defeatists.

It's self-interest and politics and what-not but I do think that there is a certain comfort in the idea of a smart, self-interested person. They can be trusted, after a fashion, not to do anything truly stupid out of misplaced ideology or beliefs.

If she won she wouldn't do anything by *accident*.

She'd do a lot that I don't like on purpose but that's not the same and most of it is stuff we'd survive.

I'd vote for Hillary if she... (Below threshold)

I'd vote for Hillary if she promised never to set foot in NY ever again and I had it in writing.

I want to know how much she... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

I want to know how much she plans to charge to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom? Bill charged $50K. Next I want to know what technology she plans to give the Peoples Republic of (RED)China for their support? Bill gave them 5 Cray Supercomputers so they could miniturize their thermonuclear warheads and MIRV their ICBMs. Useful in a war against us. Last I want to know what she plans to do to protect female whitehouse staff from the attentions of her Husband? I would really like to hear those questions asked of her. Throw in what she plans to charge for pardons, and that is just about it.

I wonder how much the <a hr... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I wonder how much the dropping of "Rodham" from her name is influenced by wanting the 55+ crowd to ove her.

Cliff is right. We have no... (Below threshold)

Cliff is right. We have nothing to fear from Hillary! as a candidate. She doesn't stand a chance in any general election. Obama is the one we have to worry about.

Regardless, Hillary's candi... (Below threshold)

Regardless, Hillary's candidacy is one of the reasons why the grassroots Jay Leno for President campaign is gaining such momentum. The more she says, the better Jay looks.

As a Gen-Xer, a wife, a mom... (Below threshold)

As a Gen-Xer, a wife, a mom, a full time lawyer, political junkie etc, I wouldn't support Hill over anyone I can think of. First comment was right - Hill married well for her purposes. Sure, she's book smart and all, but it is who she slept with that gave her the spot light she has now. The time for a "feminist" candidate is past. Every Gen-Xer professional woman I know evaluates the individual and is not prone to support someone due to race, gender or some other classification. Hill doesn't have the goods. I don't care if she has a vagina or not. Obama doesn't either - I don't care if he's dark skinned or not. I'd vote for the person with the ability to do the job. Anyone?? Anyone??

dark skinned people with va... (Below threshold)

dark skinned people with vaginas for president!

/snark ;)

(not so snarky, I'd vote for Condi Rice, she sure would make a good candidate to oppose Hillary).

You know I just had a thought, most people wouldn't think of Condi as president if Hillary didn't run...






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