Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Perils of Feminism

Gloria Swanson in Clarence Badger's Teddy at the Throttle (1917). Image via Bangor Daily News.
The Camille Paglia of the Washington establishment:

Maureen Dowd, January 23 2016:

Sarah Palin Saves Feminism

Maureen Dowd, February 14 2016:

When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism

Happy Valentine's Day, Red! I guess she must have done the dirty deed just in the last couple of weeks, huh? Because it was OK when Palin last saw it.

Well, maybe she was just being sarcastic on that:
Palin has done us a favor by proving that a woman can stumble, babble incoherently on stage and spew snide garbage, and it isn’t a blot on the female copybook.
Or maybe she was projecting, because stumbling, babbling incoherently, and spewing snide garbage are not activities with which she is unfamiliar. Possibly she is hinting here that she saved feminism herself, by breaking the male monopoly on misogyny.

Actually, the allegation is that Clinton destroyed feminism with the eager collaboration of Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem 18 years ago, when the three of them backed the president over the issue of you-know-who:
Seeing Albright, the first female secretary of state, give cover to President Clinton was a low point in women’s rights. As was the New York Times op-ed by Steinem, arguing that Lewinsky’s will was not violated, so no feminist principles were violated. What about Clinton humiliating his wife and daughter and female cabinet members [lolwut, he humiliated female cabinet members?]? What about a president taking advantage of a gargantuan power imbalance with a 22-year-old intern? What about imperiling his party with reckless behavior that put their feminist agenda at risk?
Well, Mo, I happen to have Monica Lewinsky right here with me, and she disagrees with some of that:
"Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position".... Lewinsky responds to reports made public in February that Hillary Clinton, during the 1990s, had characterized her as a “narcissistic loony toon” in correspondence with close friend Diane Blair. “My first thought,” Lewinsky writes, “as I was getting up to speed: If that’s the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in ‘gross inappropriate behavior,’ the affair was, nonetheless, ‘consensual (was not a power relationship).’”
 ....She admits that she used to refer to Maureen Dowd as “Moremean Dowdy,” but “today, I’d meet her for a drink.”
I'd say 40-year-old Monica Lewinsky may have saved feminism by insisting on her own agency. As well as presenting a model of dignity and generosity from which some other writers could profit. You should go for that drink, Maureen.

Anyway Dowd's not in mourning for feminism: she thinks we don't need it any more, because its work is done:
the young women supporting Sanders are living the feminist dream, where gender no longer restricts and defines your choices, where girls grow up knowing they can be anything they want. The aspirations of ’70s feminism are now baked into the culture.
Anything they want, as long as they're willing to do it at 80% of the boys' pay. I guess they're the new illegal immigrants. And Maureen Dowd will never offer them amnesty.

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