Friday, February 1, 2008

A Rorschach Test

Leah emailed me this article about NOW and Feministing squaring off over presidential endorsements. Putting aside larger questions about recurring rifts between feminists young and old, I've been struck by how shallow much of the "feminist" discussion (NOW's endorsement included) on this election has been. I think this passage from the New York Observer's review of Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary says it well:

Let’s imagine this book’s concept—30 well-known women writers talk about how they “feel” about Hillary Clinton—applied to 30 male writers and a male presidential candidate. Adjusting for gender, the essay titles would now read: “Barack’s Underpants,” “Elect Brother Frigidaire,” “Mephistopheles for President,” “The Road to Codpiece-Gate,” and so on. Inside, we would find ruminations on the male candidate’s doggy looks and flabby pectorals; musings on such “revealing” traits as the candidate’s lack of interest in backyard grilling, industrial arts and pets; and mocking remarks about his lack of popularity with the cool boys on the playground (i.e., the writers and their “friends”). We would hear a great deal of speculation about whether the candidate was really manly or just “faking it.” We would hear a great deal about how the candidate made them feel about themselves as men and whether they could see their manhood reflected in the politician’s testosterone displays. … And we would hear virtually nothing about the candidate’s stand on political issues.

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