Steinem on Clinton vs. Obama
"So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one?"
So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects âonlyâ the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more âmasculineâ for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there arenât too many of them); and because there is still no ârightâ way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.
[W]hat worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.
What worries me is that she is accused of âplaying the gender cardâ when citing the old boysâ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.
What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didnât.
What worries me is that reporters ignore Mr. Obamaâs dependence on the old â for instance, the frequent campaign comparisons to John F. Kennedy â while not challenging the slander that her progressive policies are part of the Washington status quo.
What worries me is that some women, perhaps especially younger ones, hope to deny or escape the sexual caste system; thus Iowa women over 50 and 60, who disproportionately supported Senator Clinton, proved once again that women are the one group that grows more radical with age.
--Gloria Steinem, "Women Are Never Front-Runners," today's NYT
I'm so frustrated.