Oh the things that some white feminists say.
This time it was the iconic Gloria Steinem who unusually put her foot in the mouth on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” saying that young female voters who support Bernie Sanders are just following the boys.
The response came when Maher asking why Hillary Clinton is losing the young vote. Last week in Iowa Caucus, Sanders won 84 percent of the young voter ages 18 to 29.
“I don’t mean to over-generalize … but men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women get more radical because they lose power as they age,” Steinem said.
She added, “So it’s kind of not fair to measure most women by the standard of most men, because they’re going to get more activist as they get older. And when you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”
Now, I get that Steinem wants to see a female president in her lifetime, I do too. But she doesn’t have to throw young women under the bus because they are not giving her what she wants.
Her and Hillary ain’t Beyoncé. Young women don’t need to get in formation so we can all slay together.
This type of blind allegiance where all women should automatically side with Clinton for the sake of sisterhood is quite infuriating. Young women are empowered, informed and quite smart. And bypassing Clinton to support Bernie Sanders and his more “radical” views, doesn’t mean that young women are just throwing their political affiliations to the wind to fit in with their male counterparts. Last time I checked, young women are not that damn basic or boy crazy. And to imply that completely undermines how far this wave of millennial feminism has come, their ability to think for themselves and their own complex understanding of the world and their values.
Translation: Clinton ain’t every woman’s flow. And that’s OK.
And no Sanders is not perfect and has made some problematic political decisions too, but Steinem is completely ignoring Clinton’s shortcomings. And boo, there are many, especially when it comes her tumultuous relationship with Black America.
As Kirsten West Savali so eloquently wrote:
“The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act—which Hillary Clinton lobbied for, Sanders voted for, Vice President Joe Biden authored and President Bill Clinton signed—shows why black women shouldn’t just follow the Democratic Party by default, even if the front-runner is a woman. Mass incarceration and its tentacles have been disastrous for black America. On everything from HIV and AIDS to poverty, crime, limited access to a quality education, destruction of families, and recidivism most often due to difficulties finding and maintaining employment, the law has been disastrous.”
Not to mention, if you’re petty like me, you’re still mad at Clinton for the racially motivated games she played with President Obama back in 2008 during the Dem primaries. Think: Her 3am call ad and that ‘hardworking white people” comment. No passes are given, no matter how down your husband pretended to be. #SorryNotSorry
And so to overlook all of that or to pretend that shouldn’t influence how folks cast their votes, really illuminates this inability for white feminists to view womanhood as intersectional. All of which is quite disappointing, because Steinem really does know better. Just last year in an interview with Bust, she credited learning feminism from Black women.
And yet, nothing about her recent statements honor that legacy or even acknowledge the ongoing struggle between white and POC feminists and the growing disillusionment with our two-party political system. Statements like these only further hammer in this played out notion that “all the women are white” and that in order to hang with the popular girls, you somehow have to leave your race, other forms of your identity and your values outside the door.
And folks really aren’t down for that.
In the end, if feminism is essentially about women actually having choices, let’s stop labeling them “bad women” or “bad feminists” because they exercised their right to not choose you.