Hillary's fourth wave

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Jenny asked for my thoughts on this article. I am only too happy to comply.

My first reaction is to ask, as I always ask, who are these crazy people who thought we were in post-feminist space? Who really thought that we'd done all we needed to do and we now live in an equitable world? I'm always puzzled by that. The article implies that you have to be out of your 20s to really "get" how sexist the world is, that nothing other than a decade in the workplace will teach you. I think that's bullshit. Sure, we face sexism in the workplace, but we were already facing it in the media, in our schools, in our families. I'm hard pressed to think of the moment when I first knew sexism existed--not because I never noticed it, but because it has always been there. I absolutely believe progress has been made by each "wave" of feminism, but to pretend it's over is just ridiculous, and it's hard for me to have much respect for someone who needed what has happened to Clinton to prove we still live in a sexist society.

That being said, I do think HRC's run for president and some of the reactions to it have made the depth of the sexism and the misogyny in which we are still steeped a little bit easier to grasp. Some of the bullshit leveled at her has been so outlandishly obvious in its sexism, it's hard to miss, even, I would expect, for those who had previously chosen to believe feminism was no longer needed. Things like why we find her voice "grating" or are more concerned about her "aging" than a male counterpart are subtle, but the Hilary nutcracker sure isn't.

What I am not willing to say, though, is that sexism is "worse" than racism in the U.S., or that the sexism towards Clinton has been worse than the racism towards Obama. It's a bit of a hard thought to put into words, but I have trouble separating sexism and racism from each other. They come from the same place, I think. The land-owning white men who devised this country thought of both Black human beings and female human beings as property, and to my mind, we're still living with the effects of that in both cases, probably more or less equally. I see the slights against Clinton more clearly, I think, because I am used to being a woman in this society, but that doesn't mean the slights against Obama, often brought to my attention by people of color, aren't there.

If people who were previously asleep to sexism are now coming awake, then Clinton's candidacy is worth even more to me than I thought it was. I can only hope that they'll remain alert and not stick their heads back in the sand once the election is over.

3 Comments

Other than you, I know almost no one who thinks there is much sexism anymore. Honestly and truly. I don't say this to say you have the wrong point of view, just that you have a very odd one compared to most people in America. You (like most people) purposefully surround yourself with people who believe that sexism is omnipresent. But realize that is not true of most people.

The part of the article I think was interesting was not that the Clinton run awakened people's idea that there's sexism, but that it made people aware that discussion of sexism is basically off limits, and mainly pointed to as "hysterical."


The article also interested me in that women I know who are not generally self-hating, said really sexist things about her. With no self-awareness about this. In my discussion of the Steinem article about how people call "Hillary," I was TWICE angrily shot down before I could even complete the idea (which I think is interesting, but haven't decided if I agree with it). I guess my experience is not that I haven't seen sexism, just that in discussing anything related to Hillary Clinton it happens universally and quickly with people who in other arenas would not be "sexist." In a sense it "outs" people. It's a litmus test.


Again, in my experience, most people I deal with think of calling sexism as trite, cliched, and ridiculous. Like saying the word "hegemony" or having a beer bong--something we all did in college but is SO 10 years ago. In fact, when I mentioned *I* felt a popular movie was sexist recently (and, knowing me you know what that would have to entail), a very respected friend of mine said, "Oh I didn't think you were one of THOSE oversensitive people! It's just a movie!" Because he sees gender discrimination in his female dominate career field as completely antiquated and foreign to his experience.


While I agree, re: Obama's racism is worse than Clinton's sexism, I think the point of the article that resonated is that it's more "PC" and accepted to talk about racism over sexism. To me this article was less about the bigotry, and more the ability to confront the bigotry. That's the part that rang true for me, based on personal experience.


I do really wish she would do the equivalent of the Obama race speech.


Honestly I PERSONALLY like Hillary, though I don't agree with her politically, and I think she's somewhat shady. It's interesting though in my friend group, as in this article, it is assumed everyone is pro-Obama.

They think it exists, but not in cities. Like in rural places. :) You know, like Texas?

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