What? Because You Don’t Need Feminism Any More, You Can Sell Out the Rest of Us?

Is Obama perfect? No. Should he have spoken out more directly about the blatant misogyny Clinton faces in her campaign. Yes. Are we, as women, going to have to be vigilant no matter who the candidate is, when it comes to our rights? Yes.

But holy Jesus, leaving the Democratic party because you didn’t get your way?

What? Now that you’re pushing retirement and not having any more kids, you can just turn your back on feminism? Is that it? It doesn’t matter to you if Roe v. Wade is overturned because you’re not going to need an abortion so fuck the rest of us? It doesn’t matter if women ever achieve equal pay for equal work because you’re leaving the job market so fuck the rest of us? You’d throw your lot in with the Republicans?

Have you forgotten eight-plus years of abstinence-only education and purity balls and lies, lies, lies about women’s health? Have you forgotten the women (and men) sitting on roofs in flooded New Orleans, drowning in New Orleans, dying in New Orleans, while Bush and McCain played “Let’s Have a Birthday Party?”

I read this over at Mack’s and I about fell over.

I literally could not believe it. I mean, I trust Mack, but I thought, no, no, progressives have got to understand that, even when things don’t work out they way they’d liked, we have to stick by our beliefs, right? No feminist would suggest burning the whole damn house down, where we all have to live, just because we didn’t get our choice of head contractor.

But there it is.

Here’s what makes me most angry about this. Egalia has readers. When she posts something about women’s issues in Tennessee, it gets read by bloggers all over the country. She’s able to get the word out in a way that no other feminist blogger in the state can do, both because she has more readers than the rest of us, and because she cultivates relationships with larger blogs in ways that the rest of us don’t, for whatever reasons.

But the fact is that, when Egalia posted something about the plight of women in this state, it got wide-spread attention. And for the past little while, she hasn’t been posting on any other women’s issue, other than the election of Clinton. And on the one hand, fine. That’s her business.

But on the other hand, we’ve needed her. Campfield didn’t suddenly become less a problem. Hobbs hasn’t turned Tennessee into some place full of sweetness and light. Babies are still dying in Memphis like it’s a third-world country.

We needed her to give voice to those issues, because she gets heard, but she was singularly focused on the Clinton campaign.

Okay, fine.

I thought, “Well, okay, for her this is a big deal, a lifetime opportunity, the culmination of a lot of work that she and second-wavers like her want to see through.”

And I hoped she would come back to the work we women in Tennessee have benefited from her doing.

But we don’t need Roe v. Wade overturned, because the second that happens, abortions will be illegal in Tennessee. We don’t need economic policies that put more strain on working class families. We don’t need a president unashamed to call his wife a cunt in public.

The last thing women from 0-100 need is a McCain presidency.

And how can we not see this rhetoric–if you don’t do what I want, I will work to punish you as terribly as I can–for the bullying bullshit it is?

If you would sell us out because you didn’t get your way…

Well, you “angry white women,” on behalf of the rest of us, who aren’t actively looking to knowingly make things much, much worse, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Edited to Add: Also, Clinton’s not leaving the party.  She’s made no noises about leaving the party.  She wants to defeat McCain.  So, why is it that folks trust her leadership enough to want her to be president but don’t trust her leadership enough to, oh, follow her lead about sticking with the Party?

48 thoughts on “What? Because You Don’t Need Feminism Any More, You Can Sell Out the Rest of Us?

  1. I personally get leaving the party. I’m registered as “decline to state” in part because I find party machinations so nasty. But not being a registered Democrat doesn’t mean I don’t vote that way, even if the candidate wasn’t my first choice. I’m finding it very hard to understand the thought process of someone who supports Clinton, but would rather vote for McCain than Obama. Wasn’t their support based at least in part on her politics? *Boggles*

  2. I think it’s probably a case of confusing the Clinton campaign with “what is good for feminism, as it is narrowly defined by some people in the US.” The support Clinton picked up in core feminist constituencies was based on their hopes that she’d be more inclusive and fight for a more progressive agenda — they made her out to be their torchbearer and she’s been willing to let them. I think they have deluded themselves on that point, but whatever.

    They’re angry, but I hope they remember where their core commitments are. I believe that the Democratic Party has been (with a whole hell of a lot of pushing) more responsive to women-friendly legislation and jurisprudence than their opponents. Not all that much more, true, but some. Personally, I’d recommend choosing “clueless but potentially educable, heading a party where some are in sympathy” over “aggressively hostile, heading a party where few are in sympathy.”

  3. I think that most of the women who are talking about leaving the party will change their minds, unless Obama makes a spectacularly stupid choice of VP.

  4. Pingback: Following Through On A Mutiny: The Influence Of A Passionate Few : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  5. The most important issue for women is being ignored by egalia and others who claim they are for womens rights.

    McCain has clearly stated he wants to overturn Roe Vs Wade, and the next President will get 3 Supreme Court nominees.

    When Roe vs Wade is overturned, and women go back to backstreet abortions, the blood of the daughters will be on the hands of these “feminists.”

  6. Amen, again. Jeez. I spent a day being a manager of a business. A Democrat and a woman.
    I’m not happy about this. I fight everyday being a business manager as a women.
    And … it ain’t bad.

  7. I’ve been watching how a once vital blog TGW turned into a conservative’s parody of feminism, and considering posting about those thoughts. Yours will do, though.

    I’ll add, blaming the party evinces a willful ignorance of how this all happened.

  8. Thank you, this is wonderful and I did a linking post to you and Mack.

    I took TGW off the Blogroll, and I have never done that with a blog that was still in operation before. It’s really sad, but it had to be done.

  9. Pingback: Unifying A Party « Newscoma

  10. I just went and read the comments over at TGW and wow, they are really filled with the crazy. Some of them make a little sense, but most of them…wow, right over the deep end.

  11. Some of the comments over there are just heartbreaking. It’s as if, once having committed to this course of action, there is nothing left inside to prevent them from dedicating themselves wholly to evil. The commenters are indulging in a sick sort of desperate delight in the idea that “the bridezillas” are going to finally get their comeuppance once Roe is overturned.

    Egalia does not ban these commenters, she encourages them. She only bans the people who disagree.

  12. Pingback: I don’t usually get political. « Slatterns and Hooch

  13. I tend to agree with nm.

    The wound is fresh now, but November is 5 months away. The cut will heal and the pain will subside. Pain makes people do strange things. When someone is hurt, the natural instinct is to “hurt back” at what hurt them (hence the threats of McCain votes to get back at the Democrats who voted Obama). But once the pain subsides, the emotion dies down some, and rational thought kicks back in.

    If I accidentally bite my tongue (hard), I might scream words that would make a sailor blush, but ultimately I don’t rip out my teeth.

  14. What the hell is a “bridezilla,” anyway? I’m the chair of a women’s studies program and I don’t know why the term has such resonance for them as a way to trivialize women who differ with them politically. I like me a good brisk substantive disagreement as much as anybody (and probably more than most), but it’s really hard to engage a group that’s departed so far from the standards of passionate but respectful exchange that most feminist activists strive for. I don’t understand how their swaggering power-shouting and name-calling differs (even in their own mind) from that which characterizes places like the Free Republic.

    It gets back to what B. was talking about a couple of days ago. Feminists who delight in slagging on other women have lost their way. Twisty (I know, not everyone admires her or her writing) can be blunt as a pipe upside the head, but she is clear on the fact that she does not blame women for the compromises they choose to make to get along in life. Her blame, and her purpose for writing, is to lay bare the structures of oppression within which those “choices” have to be made. That’s a pretty critical distinction.

  15. Pingback: Leaving The Party « Just Another Pretty Farce

  16. There are some extraordinarily vile things in the comments over there. Responding to other women who disagree by calling them whores and telling them to “wipe off her mouth and pull up her panties” is not a kind of feminism I want to be associated with anyway.

  17. “But holy Jesus, leaving the Democratic party because you didn’t get your way?”

    Erm, I haven’t run across anyone who plans to do that.

    I’ve seen a lot of text from people who won’t vote for a candidate they find morally repellent. Democracy, even the crippled sort that we have, being the mad chaos that it is, refusing to vote for a candidate one finds morally repellent gets some wildly varying results across the board.

    I’ve seen a lot of text from people who can’t bring themselves to vote for anyone who looks like more of the status quo is what they’ll deliver. I can’t honestly fault anyone for thinking Obama falls in that category.

    At its core, feminism is about learning to think and question what society tries to convince us is beyond question. Being told you have to take what an abusive man dishes out and cleave to him in some kind of matrimony because other men are more abusive so he’s relatively ok — is one of the first things we try to learn to respond to with, “oh hell no”. And once we’ve absorbed that one, “you can’t leave the Democratic Holy Union because our Chosen One sucks every-so-slightly-less than some other Chosen One so take it already,” becomes laugh-out-loud silly.

    All over the place, women and men are quietly realizing they’ve already kicked at least one Assigned Male Owner to the curb and found it liberating. Their likelihood to do so again is not a betrayal of their feminism, but an acting out of it’s very core.

  18. In case my previous comment wasn’t clear, I do consider myself a feminist. But what’s going on over there, it doesn’t speak for me.

  19. Helen, the comments at TGW are filled with women who are a) leaving the party; b) joining the Republican party; and c) insisting that they plan to vote for McCain.

    I totally get the liberty of conscience thing. I think that’s healthy and if one party has not demonstrated its ability to advance your agenda, then go ahead and try something else or sit this one out. However, what I am objecting to is both the vitriol aimed at women who have reached different conclusions (calling them names, impugning their sexuality, etc) and the reasoning in choosing to vote for McCain — which, for the most extreme of the commentators, is about punishing young women (the so-called “bridezillas”) for refusing to turn out for Clinton.

    Neither of those things seem very feminist to me.

  20. What I’m still waiting to hear is, other than his penis, what specifically makes Obama so incredibly different than Clinton that voting against him is worth 4-8 more years of the same old GOP leadership.

  21. I”ll try to come back for a longer comment later, because I completely do get the concept of switching to McCain. That’s not the route I’m going, but I have no problem seeing why a lot of quite reasonable people would.

    There is NO EXCUSE for any misogynist slagfest in any of this no matter what, however.

  22. Until someone can prove to me that the source of all this misogyny was the Obama camp, and NOT the lazy, conflict whores of the media, this will continue to look like a tantrum.

  23. I can’t speak to that so much, but I can make a pretty clear line between McCain’s position and Obama’s on some issues of interest to me.

    McCain opposes both gay marriage and civil unions and voted for DOMA. Obama opposes DOMA and has insisted that fundamental human equality is the taproot of democracy.

    McCain would like to see Roe overturned (now…in 2000, he did not think so) and voted to ban partial birth abortions. He suggests that he would appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Alito. He supports abstinence-only programs. Obama, on the other hand, supports abortion rights and voted against a late-term ban in Illinois. He supports comprehensive sex-education as one way to reduce the need for abortions, which he feels should be safe, legal, and rare.

    McCain supports vouchers for education (including religious education). He believes that intelligent design should be offered as an “alternate” point of view in American schools. Obama opposes voucher programs, though he has interested in experimental charter schools in urban settings as a means of improving public school education. He sees no essential incompatibility between Christian faith and a belief in evolution, but has indicated that public science education should be based on the widely accepted standards of the scientific community.

    McCain uncritically supports faith-based initiatives. Obama is critical of the way in which federal monies have been expended to promote evangelization by fundamentalist Christian groups.

    McCain generally supports the federal death penalty and wants to expand it. Obama thinks it is not a deterrent and has generally supported its reform (including videotaping interrogations and confessions), though he favors it for the most outrageous of crimes.

    McCain has repeatedly characterized the Iraq war as just and is comfortable with continuing our presence in Iraq for a hundred years or more if that’s what it takes to secure the area. Obama has called the decision to go to war dumb and rash and has described a phased withdrawal plan whereby he hopes to get us out in 16 months.

    The list can go on and on. I think it’s a mistake to think that these are both centrists and what the hey…samey samey.

  24. Lets place the shoe on the other foot. Obama loses the Primary, and African-Americans desert the party forever.

    What is different?

    What would Egalia and her kind be saying, knowing that without the African-American vote, no Democrat can win, regardless of gender?

    This isn’t complicated.

  25. Responding to other women who disagree by calling them whores and telling them to “wipe off her mouth and pull up her panties” is not a kind of feminism I want to be associated with anyway.

    I’m totally with Rachel. Wow.

    So, to be equal to men, some women feel they have to degrade other women too? Isn’t that contradictory to the whole point of feminism?

    And that quote? I have heard and read some offensive things, but that moves to the top of the list – THAT (and the connotations involved) is the most offensive thing I have ever heard said to a woman.


  26. Some of the comments I’ve been reading here and there are about leaving the party, and some are about voting for McCain.

    Those are two very different things. You don’t have to be a party member to vote for their candidate. And large numbers of women leaving the party is a very trackable thing at the national party headquarters, so they can see just how many women are protesting. Voting on the other hand… nobody will ever know how many votes were lost by this tantrum.

    So the point is easily made by leaving the party but voting for the candidate. Voting for the other guy doesn’t do nearly as good a job getting the point across.

  27. FWIW, the only other time I have ever heard the term “bridezilla” is when men get together and talk about the sort of women to avoid in marriage. In that context, it referred to the sort of woman who would make such a big stink about having the most bestest wedding in history EVAR that the groom is inclined to leave her alone at the altar. Everyone has met at least one: they usually start out as fairy princesses and ultimately grow into the monstrous and fearsome BRIDEZILLA.

    What it means in this context, I cannot begin to guess.

    This conversation, and in particular the comments of Helen and Bridgett, makes me nostalgic for the sorts of discussions we used to have over at Egaila’s place. I learned one hell of alot over there, and disposed myself of a number of preconceptions I wasn’t even aware of having.

    That, to me, is the real tragedy of all this. TGW used to be the best blog in the state, feminist or otherwise. You could go there and learn something, and leave a better person than when you started. The place has now become a parody of its former self, and it feels like someone died.

  28. Auto- do you think that blog’s deterioration is in part due to Egalia’s constant efforts to attract hits, for hits sake? It feels that way to me. I remember talking with you on there years ago, and i agree with you.

  29. I’m just stepping in here to say Amen again to B…

    “Feminism” needs work anyway….to be more representative of WOC, women with disabilities, etc…it’s why I don’t call myself one anymore…but…

    For all of McCains positions listed above plus the bootstrap-til-you-die nightmare that is his position on healthcare….I hereby *plead* with the women leaving the party…on my knees (which bridgett will tell you I don’t do for anybody offline ) Don’t leave! Call the nominee on any and all mysogyny for the next eight years! Get in his face! Fight with him daily! Just don’t bail.

    We need *everybody*

    And B, I’m A. celibate these days and (b) don’t swing that way, but I could kiss you for this post.

    All right I’ll shut up now.

  30. Thanks, W., that is a good point. I don’t begrudge anyone leaving the Democratic party if they’re unhappy with how things unfolded. As Church Secretary has said repeatedly, he’s voting Green. Do I wish he would, in this case, reconsider? Sure, but I respect that he’s given it deep thought and is making the best decision he can about what he believes to be the right course of action for the good of the country.

    But, if you believe in progressive goals and you vote for McCain? Then you aren’t acting in the good of the country. You’re just not. You have other options. To vote for McCain when you don’t believe in the thing he espouses, in fact, when you actively believe the opposite, is just wrong.

    Helen, I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate it. But I think there are two important things to consider. One, Clinton is just a person like a whole lot of other people. Putting her in the White House is no guarantee that things will improve for women. None.

    Clinton has a lot of qualities that I think would make her a fine President, but I would never, ever choose her as any kind of leader of any feminist movement.

    And, two, if we see feminism as a movement for individual rights, then, yes, perhaps the metaphor of throwing off an abusive man we’ve been told we have to stay stuck to is appropriate (though one wonders what the rational behind “I’m leaving this jackass for this even bigger jackass. That’ll show the first jackass” would be).

    But, if our goal is to try to make things a little better for the most people, then thinking of ourselves only as individuals and not as community members with responsibilities to each other, then the abusive husband metaphor becomes useless. I’m not marrying Obama. I’m hoping he’s President.

    This is what it feels like to me. It feels like a bunch of us are on a rickity, leaky raft and everyone has to chip in to keep that raft afloat, but we all do it because we have similar ideas about where we want to end up, and we know that, if any of us stop doing it, it will make it that much harder for the people who are left.

    And a subset of us, who aren’t going to get to captain the raft, are threatening to climb onto McCain’s shiny cruise ship towards Conservative-land, hoping that their leaving will be enough to sink the raft.

    That’s not leaving an abuser, that’s being a bully.

  31. You may be on to something, Mr. Mack, but if there’s anything I’ve learned about voluminous blog traffic it’s that it isn’t always a good thing.

    The biggest scoop of my entire life as a blogger was when I figured out who the congressional interns were who had busted out Larry Craig. They had been trying to get that story out for months, before Brian Ross at ABC News finally decided to take them seriously. I did my homework, put all the pieces together in a single post, and then went out drinking with the PeskyFly.

    I returned to find that my little blog was being linked by blogs from all over the country. I had to upgrade my blog account or the hosting company was going to shut me down from all the traffic. It was only then that I realized, to my complete horror, I was being linked by conservative bloggers who were using my work to substantiate their claim that the whole thing was a liberal set-up.

    I have said this many times before, and it bears repeating: it doesn’t matter how many people read your blog, the only thing that matters is who reads your blog.

    So, to tie all this together: TGW was the only place on the whole internet where you could find people defending that ridiculous lie about sniper fire at the Tuzla airfield. If you look at their traffic, they had a huge spike that week. How much of the traffic over there is thanks to non-feminist rubberneckers and others who are reading purely for the WTF factor?

    As the saying goes, the internet is not your private army, and people usually wind up learning that the hard way.

  32. Autoegocrat, yes, exactly–it’s not how many folks, but who are reading you. I said something similar about Volunteer Voters. I mean, what’s done is done, but for WKRN to let Kleinheider go, considering who his readership is, was just about the most politically un-astute thing I’ve seen in my time in Nashville.

    Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I just thought that what you said was wise.

  33. Whew, I’ve been on travel — sorry for bugging out in the middle of a thought.

    Here’s why I can understand reasonable people voting for McCain at this point:

    It’s not a new thing for individuals to decide our political process is hopelessly broken. I think why this is getting our attention is a whole lot of people got to that point at once.

    Ok, so it’s hopelessly broken. The party you preferred has failed to produce a candidate you can remotely stomach voting for. Now what? You could not vote. You could vote for someone else. You could vote for the opposition. All of those will get true believers hounding you about how you’re hurting the holy union to which you’re supposed to be bound.

    I think there’s sound reasoned arguments to be made that not voting for the opposition is taking the short view rather than the long, and whatever pain it takes to get the Dems to understand if they want votes, they’d better come up with a candidate worth voting for is worth doing.

    I don’t know the “right” or “best” answer on that one — how to vote if your main concern is that this business of demanding support for bad candidates will not be endured. I know how I’m handling it, and it’s not by voting for McCain. But I can’t say I have such a corner on knowledge of how to produce true common good that I can tell others in the same position what to do. I just want them to think it through the best they can and make a decision.

  34. Ok, but Helen, I still (genuinely) want to know the answer to the question I asked. Other than his penis, what specifically makes Obama so incredibly different than Hillary to the degree that you can’t “remotely stomach” voting for him when his policy positions are 99% the same as Hillary’s.

  35. Dolphin, I’m not sure how to give you an answer that would fit what you’re looking for.

    They don’t seem 99% the same to me based on all my reading for I don’t know how many months now, so I’m not even sure how to address that one directly. And I don’t think it’s even relevant to what I was describing anyway, which is a whole lot of people dealing with realizing our political process is broken. Hashing over whether or not the last straw that snapped them out of millions should be allowed to be the last straw rather than some other straw, doesn’t sound like a conversation likely to go anywhere.

  36. I guess if you want to know more about what people think the differences are between Clinton and Obama, it’s probably worth taking a surf through the blogsphere — I’ve seen a lot on that topic for some time now.

  37. Heh, well, one of the joys of democracy is that pretty much no one’s vote is thought through to the satisfaction of most others. It’s more mad chaos than anything that appears to approach sense most of the time.

  38. They don’t seem 99% the same to me based on all my reading for I don’t know how many months now

    Well that’s a start, but I’m asking for specifics, for instance, “Clinton thinks X, and Obama thinks Y, and this difference is a massive issue for me”

    Just one or two examples are all I want. Pick the ones that are the biggest deal to you.

    Hashing over whether or not the last straw that snapped them out of millions should be allowed to be the last straw

    I’m not trying to do anything of the kind. You suggested that Obama was a candidate that you can’t “remotely stomach voting for.” To me that implies alot more than simply thinking Clinton was a better candidate, that implies that you think Obama would actually make a horrific president. So I’m asking what particular policies of his it is to which you object so incredibly strongly.

    As for surfing through the blogosphere, I do as I have time, but clearly I don’t visit the same sites you do as I haven’t seen the extreme differences you have. That’s why I’m asking you. Why would I need to surf the blogosphere when I’m already in direct conversation with a person with such strong feelings on the matter. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard just to answer my question.

  39. You’re asking a question that doesn’t relate to me. I could at best barely stomach Clinton either, and on some days it was “not remotely stomach”.

    If you want an answer to the question you’re asking, you’ll have to ask someone for whom it fits, which is why I suggested a surf of the blogsphere — I’m sure you can find what you want if you look.

  40. Thanks for this post. I used to be a regular commenter at TGW and made some really good friends there. But around January, it turned into an “all Hillary all the time” blog. But I thought that was fine, she can focus on whatever she wants. But over the last couple of months every time I’ve gone over there, the posts and especially the commenters are just filled with a vitriol I just don’t understand. I will no longer go there and comment and it’s really too bad. It was one of the best progressive and feminist blogs I’ve ever found. I’m happy to have found that I’m not the only one who things TGW has gone over the deep end. Even the notion of voting for McCain in such a critical year is incredibly non-progressive and anti-feminist.

Comments are closed.