Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright grossly overstepped their bounds this past weekend, castigating women as being traitors to their sex by voting for Bernie Sanders. Steinem even said young women are choosing Bernie over Hillary because “that’s where the boys are”. Pleeese!! Who’s sexist now?
Hillary lost me on the feminist front way back in the early ’90s when she pronounced she wasn’t “the type to stay home and bake cookies”. At that time I was staying home with three young children and baking a lot of cookies. They were healthy and wholesome and made from scratch. I viewed my job as a caregiver as the most important job I could possibly be doing. Along with raising my own children and cooking them homemade meals, I supported women who worked outside the home–by choice or circumstance—running their school fundraisers, driving their children to activities, supervising playdates in my home, serving those cookies. Twenty-five or so years later I continue my caregiver role. I still have one teenager at home, and take care of my baby granddaughters 20-30 hours per week. I still view this as the most important job I could possibly be doing. If so many people in my household weren’t so annoyingly gluten-free, I would still be baking plenty of cookies.
The fifties and sixties narrowly defined women’s roles, and many women–my mother among them–chafed against those restrictions. The point of the feminist movement was supposed to be choice. I respect women’s choice to be politicians, partners in law firms, and corporate executives, but I do not appreciate their condescending dismissal of women who do not share that choice. Back in my cookie-baking days, I cannot tell you how many women deemed me unworthy of conversation once they determined I didn’t work outside the home. My youngest child is 19 years younger than my oldest, and I have found the generational change refreshing. This new group of Gen X, and now millennial moms largely work outside the home, at least part time, for economic necessity as much or more than fulfillment. But they don’t define women by their paycheck. They don’t greet you at parties asking “what do you do?” They find no shame in baking cookies. This is the demographic Clinton, Albright, and Steinem find so perplexing. Yet even among my baby boomer generation–stay at home moms, lawyers, and doctors alike–support for Clinton is very soft, and slipping.
I must admit, when I see Hillary in her helmet hair and dress for success suit, I bristle instinctively. She likes to talk about being a grandmother, but I doubt she changes too many diapers, or spends too many afternoons taking little Charlotte to the playground. But that is not why I don’t support her for President. I don’t support her because I don’t like her policies and question her integrity (see many previous blogs). I don’t support her because I think she will lose the election in November (see previous blogs).
I can’t think of anything more sexist than voting for a candidate simply because they are a woman, and evidently lots of women agree with me. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, let’s judge people by the content of their character, not the shape of their genitals.