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a lower-case rebuttal

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Whether you’re hoping to see Hillary Clinton march gender equality right into the Oval Office, or you’re waiting for Bernie Sanders to lead us into the post-capitalism future of your dreams, there is one undeniable fact about this election cycle: Hillary Clinton is the target of a lot of misogyny. From the predictable jabs your drunk uncle makes at the family reunion–”She’ll get the P.M.S. and invade Russia and then we’ll all get nuked!”–to the media’s insistence on running only photos with the harshest lighting in an effort to point out that, yes, she has indeed aged much in the way human women tend to do, we’re making damned sure that for every step Sanders takes, Clinton must take two.

Are we on the same ground here? We’re all in agreement that there is, indeed, a gender bias working against Clinton? Okay, good. And Courtney Enlow agrees with that, too. She even wrote a think piece about it: An All-Caps Explosion of Feelings Regarding The Liberal Backlash Against Hillary Clinton. In it, Enlow points out the frustration many women feel about the current campaign. While Donald Trump’s loud, rude, and obnoxious schtick is charming to some (probably equally loud, rude, and obnoxious) voters, it would be a turn-off coming from Clinton. While Sanders can take the stage in an ill-fitting suit, wild hair, and a scowl, Clinton could be fresh out of that Stepford Wives machine and still be criticized for showing too much toe-cleavage, or not enough toe-cleavage, or whatever could possibly be used to detract from her physical appearance and turn our minds away from her as a politician. Enlow is absolutely right, there is a double standard at work that means Clinton must take great pains to appear calm, rational, and mildly appealing.

Enlow stated at the outset of her piece that she feels this race is “very, very personal,” and I agree. I also feel that this race is very, very personal, at least where one part of Clinton’s record is concerned. It’s actually the part that Enlow is very quick to dismiss criticism of:

YOU DON’T LIKE THAT SHE HAD CERTAIN NOW-UNACCEPTABLE POLICIES BACK IN THE ’90S? HEY, I GET THAT THAT SHIT SEEMS LIKE LAST WEEK, BUT IT WAS ANOTHER GODDAMN WORLD ENTIRELY. I GET THAT WE ALL THINK WE’RE THE UNIVERSE’S BESTEST HUMANS BUT MOST OF THIS COUNTRY JUST LEARNED TRANS PEOPLE EXIST, LIKE, YESTERDAY. LET’S NOT PRETEND WE’VE ALL BEEN THE MOST INCLUSIVE PROGRESSIVE SUPER-COOL PEEPS FOR LIKE A THOUSAND YEARS NOW. PROGRESSIVE MEANS JUST THAT–PROGRESS. SHIT THAT WAS A BIG GODDAMN DEAL AT THE TIME IS NOT COOL NOW. PROGRESS. IT’S FUCKING SWELL.

The problem with her “certain now-unacceptable policies back in the ’90s” is that they aren’t from the ’90s. See, back in 2004 (or as we apparently describe the ’00s now, the ’90s), Clinton was fine with the definition of marriage as one man, one woman, stating:

I believe that marriage is not just a bond, but a sacred bond between a man and a woman.

She called those marriages a “fundamental bed-rock principle.” At the time, she was opposing a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriages, but in her remarks she carefully positioned herself as not defending marriage equality, but the sanctity of the constitution as a living document. She took great pains to assure us all that she, personally, did not support same-sex marriage. In 2006, Clinton felt that marriage equality wasn’t a federal issue, and should be handled by individual states. In a 2008 Human Rights Campaign questionnaire, she reasserted her opposition to a federal decision on marriage equality, once again saying that it was a state-level decision. She also said:

I support full equality of benefits, rights, and responsibilities for individuals in
loving, stable, same sex relationships and in principle, I would like to see federal
benefits extended to same sex couples that meet certain standards. I would need to
examine the feasibility of implementing such a provision and look forward to
working in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign and others in the gay
rights community to determine the best path for realizing this goal.

Remember, in 2008 the only “certain standard” that needed to be met for a man and a woman who were married to claim spousal benefits or “responsibilities” was to be married, which Clinton opposed. She needed extra hoops to prove the legitimacy of same-sex relationships, but only after she decided wether those hoops were feasible. This system of hoops appears to be so complex that it would have to be assembled by committee.

It’s been a long time since 19902008, though. People grow, and people change. But usually when they do it, they can pinpoint a reason or reasons why their thinking changed, and admit that they were wrong. In 2014, Clinton sat for an interview with Terry Gross on NPR. Clinton was candid when it came time to scrutinize her vote in favor of the Iraq war, saying that she was wrong, and explaining that she didn’t want to voice that for fear of dishonoring the soldiers on the ground in the conflict, soldiers she had helped put there. When it came time to talk about marriage equality, however, she stumbled. While she easily accepted responsibility for the lives impacted by her Iraq war vote and offered reasons why she did not publicize her conversion, she could neither admit that she was wrong on marriage equality, nor explain why her views had “evolved.” That word came up a lot. Usually, we see “evolved” used as part of an explanation (“the giraffe’s long neck evolved from a need to reach leaves on higher branches”), rather than an entire explanation. But Clinton has none, and that her evolution seemed to take place conveniently in time for her next presidential run has left some members of the LGBTQA+ community (myself included) skeptical as to her sincerity. That doubt was certainly not dismissed by her campaign’s celebration when individual states’ same-sex marriage bans were overturned by the Supreme Court:

There was no acknowledgement that her political position seven years earlier was the position that the Supreme Court had just struck down. Just a quick jump to pride, as though she’d been there for the fight all along, when in 2014 she described her “evolution” to Terry Gross as something akin to being caught in a riptide and simply embracing the inevitability of being swept out to sea.

Enlow goes on to say:

AND IF YOU COME AT ME FOR EVEN ONE GODDAMN SECOND WITH A “YOU JUST LIKE HER BECAUSE SHE’S A WOMAN” I WILL DESTROY YOU WHERE YOU STAND. I LIKE HER! I LIKE HER POLICIES, I LIKE HER PLANS, I LIKE WHAT SHE STANDS FOR, I LIKE THAT SHE’S GROWN AND EVOLVED AS A HUMAN AND POLITICIAN! I LIKE THAT SHE WAS FOR MANY OF US MY AGE ONE OF OUR FIRST ROLE MODELS OF A SMART, PROFESSIONAL, KICKASS WOMAN AND THAT SHE ISN’T AFRAID OF THE WORD “FEMINIST” AND I’M SICK OF HAVING TO APOLOGIZE FOR LIKING HER, FOR HAVING TO QUALIFY AND SEE YOUR SIDE AND RESPECT YOUR OPINION WHEN I FUCKING DON’T AND YOU FUCKING DON’T RIGHT BACK. I LIKE HER!

AND MOST OF YOU LIKE HER POLICIES AND PLANS TOO BECAUSE A) THEY’RE BASICALLY FUCKING OBAMA AND B) THEY’RE NOT THAT FUCKING DIFFERENT THAN FUCKING BERNIE.

I sympathized with the first sentence so much. I, too, am tired of being told that my choice in this race comes down to Hillary’s gender. Women are being pushed into either defending their choice to vote for Hillary or defending their choice to not vote for Hillary. It’s about one thing, and one thing only, from both anti- and pro-Clinton voters, and that thing is feminism. So I understand Enlow’s frustration there. What I don’t understand is her framing of how we should exercise our choice as voters. Clinton and Sanders are very similar in policy on the big issues, that’s true. But Enlow seems to be asking us why, if the two candidates are so similar, aren’t we choosing the one who is a woman?

Well, for me, and for some other LGBTQA+ folk out there, our question is why, if the two candidates are so similar, should we choose the one who spent two decades reminding us that we’re second class citizens and striving, unapologetically, to make that a reality? Why, if the two candidates are so similar, would we choose the one who can’t account for her evolution of feeling toward marriage equality, but very much insists it has nothing to do with politics?

IT IS ABSOLUTELY GUT WRENCHING THAT THIS BADASS, IMPORTANT WOMAN HAS BEEN DIMINSHED AND WRITTEN OFF AND HATED HER WHOLE CAREER, HER WHOLE EXISTENCE AS A PUBLIC FIGURE.

Hillary Clinton has absolutely faced an uphill battle through an endless landslide of sexist bullshit, and the battle isn’t over. But Hillary Clinton is a rich, straight, white, cis woman battling through a landslide on a mountain that isn’t even on the map for anyone who isn’t rich, straight, white, and cis. For all that Enlow insists that Hillary has been forced to “play the game” because no other options were available, she overlooks the myriad privileges Clinton started out with, and the advantages she gained through policies she publicly supported (some of which were signed into law by her husband). Policies that made damn good and sure that people who aren’t rich, straight, white and cis had a much steeper hill to climb, with a landslide four times larger than the one she faces now.

The choice of Enlow and other women to unapologetically ignore that reality is theirs; I certainly don’t have the energy to stop them. And Enlow’s piece is not an outlier. Since the beginning of this race there has been a simmering antagonism on feminist social media that slyly insinuates, but stops short of outright declaring, that votes for Sanders are votes against all womankind. Those of us who aren’t voting for Clinton are naturally feeling belittled, silenced, and patronized by that discourse. If Enlow and other feminists want us to believe that their votes are not swayed solely by the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman, then they must extend that same courtesy to women who don’t support her. It’s not some weird cocktail of internalized misogyny, lust for free stuff, and total political ignorance that’s making some of us turn away from Clinton. It’s Clinton herself.

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62 Comments

  1. Tep
    Tep

    Politics is a mess. That’s all I have to say about that.
    Completely off point, and somewhat pedantic I guess, I feel the need, as a zookeeper, to point out that giraffes did not evolve long necks out of a NEED to reach up higher trees. Giraffe ancestors that, by chance natural genetic variation had slightly longer necks then their brethren, were able to reach higher/more leaves on trees and were therefore more likely to reproduce and pass on their slighty-longer-necks and that snowballed into really long necked giraffes we see today.
    Evolution does not follow need, it does not have a plan, it is not exclusively progressive. It does not make necks longer because it knows that the animals need to reach higher/do something better.
    /end rant. Sorry, I live in the south and can’t stand a lot of the “anti-science just because I don’t want to take the time to maybe understand it” attitude down here., and I get a lot of that when mentioning evolution.

    February 3, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Thank you for actually explaining to me why giraffes have long necks, because that is something that has stuck out to me since middle school. I always wondered how evolution happened and the giraffes didn’t die from not being able to reach their food in the meantime. Go rural public school science class, go!

      February 3, 2016
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      • Manna Francis
        Manna Francis

        I always enormously recommend reading Darwin’s ‘On The Origin of Species’. Yes, evolutionary theory has developed a LOT since 1859, but it’s still an amazingly well-written book, that’s a model of how to lay out a theory, provide supporting evidence, and also be very clear about where evidence is lacking. It was written for a general audience, so it’s pretty accessible.

        February 4, 2016
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  2. Trynn
    Trynn

    Thank you for clarifying this. That would explain why sometimes evolution makes sense, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    February 3, 2016
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  3. mydogsPA
    mydogsPA

    The other problem Hillary has, while some proscribe to misogyny, can also be attributed to “Bill’s Baggage” and the fact that there are some of us who don’t want to be hypocrites and say “We don’t want a Bush dynasty” while at the same time vote for a Clinton dynasty. The whole point of the office was not to have a dynasty ala the tsars of Russia (Who Putin is filling the role nicely at the moment.)

    February 3, 2016
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    • Yes. While it’s far from the only reason I don’t wholeheartedly support her, the dynasty issue is a really big factor for me. We have so little new blood in the governmental system as it is, with all these people who never quit the job — continuing to then keep the same three families rotating through office strikes me as a bad idea.

      February 3, 2016
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  4. Ann
    Ann

    Agreed. I’m supporting Sanders because he has always defended the LGBT community. He also wants a single-payer healthcare system and wants to put in place other initiatives to help the middle-class. I am struggling under a pile of student loans. My parents have gone broke over medical expenses. The system is rigged to make everything so expensive for the middle class — things that are necessities in the 21st century, like education and healthcare. Things that European countries provide their citizens and have seen a decline in the amount of medical expenses and their citizenry is growing in productivity — it is not radical or crazy to think we can make it work here, too. Clinton has no plans to give us any relief nor do I believe her when she says she will regulate Wall Street. I think both candidates would do a good job of protecting women’s rights, so I’m picking the one who also cares about my finances and well-being. I know we will have a female president in my lifetime. It is coming. That doesn’t mean it has to be Clinton. Her candidacy will pave the way for future females to make it, which is great. But I just can’t support her against Sanders. If she is the candidate in November against any of the GOP, of course I will vote for her.

    February 3, 2016
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    • Ann
      Ann

      I also think I am lucky because I am under 30 and most of my friends are pro-Sanders as well, so no one has given me any backlash on not supporting a fellow female in the race.

      February 3, 2016
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I cynically believe regulating Wall Street is a pipe dream for pretty much any politician. I do think she was right about the need to bailout Lehman, though.

      February 3, 2016
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      • Ann
        Ann

        I think Wall Street regulations will be difficult to get through. But I also believe that a lot of America is very angry about the behavior of those banks. But the banks have too much monetary influence over our government at the moment to allow any sitting members of Congress to agree to Glass-Steagall type regs. If Sanders and his “army” (aka Democrats supporting him and running for seats in Congress) can pass something like the 11th Amendment that Jefferson & Madison wanted back in the day – http://www.democraticunderground.com/101636229 – we would have essentially a reversal on Citizens United. I think these are the first steps that need to be taken to reduce the influence of money in politics and therefore take away a lot of the power that Wall Street has, and once we do that, passing Glass-Steagall type regs is much more feasible. There’s a lot of things that have to happen to get there, but I’d rather be with the person who wants that to be our final destination than with the person whose husband repealed Glass-Steagall and arguably contributed to the horrific economic collapse we experienced about 8 years ago.

        February 3, 2016
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    • Jessica
      Jessica

      On the topic of health care, I’m a bit surprised it doesn’t get more attention in the election than it does. Is this because the idea of a universal system such as Canada and other western European countries is still considered too “socialist” and thsu still too much of a hot potato political issue? I’m Canadian, so I’m admittedly not completely in step with what the average American feels on this issue. However, so many studies show that Canadians pay less per person on health care than Americans do. In Canada, if you are diagnosed with cancer or some other serious ailment, this is not a financial death sentence; you will not incur ridiculous debt, and you will ahve access to the same treatment options as anyone else, regardless of social status.

      I’m not saying the Canadian system is not without flaws (it is!!) but it seems more equitable and balanced than the system in place in the US. I’m curious if this is more like the system Bernie Sanders is supporting (in terms of single-pay)? If so, I would expect that to be a big part of a decision as to who to support. Any thoughts?

      (I know, this is quite off topic, but its something as a Canadian by-stander to American politics that I am always extremely curious about. I have been called a “commie” and “socialist” on many trips down south on account of my support for my Canadian heath care system.)

      February 3, 2016
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      • Meghan
        Meghan

        It’s not that the idea is “socialist” per se. Lots of people, myself included, think a single-payer system would be the way to go (and yes, that’s essentially the same thing as what Canada has). The reality is that any bill has to get 60 votes in the Senate, and there’s zero chance this Congress passes a single-payer health care bill. Obama couldn’t even get a public OPTION in the Affordable Care Act. The gerrymandering in this country has created a polarized Congress in which, despite the country voting democratic, is still run by Republicans. And there are people who believe in the free market, even for things like health care. There are many people who are afraid of going back down the health care rabbit hole, because it was such an ugly fight the last time. And the current system is an improvement (that whole bankrupt from cancer thing, for example, is a lot less likely to happen now, there are caps on out-of-pocket expenses for health insurance).
        Full disclosure, I’m a Hillary support because, as much as I like Bernie’s ideas, I do not believe they are even remotely realistic and I don’t know how you govern from the fringe. (And, also, the president’s main job is running our foreign policy, and I think Hillary’s the only grown up in the room on that front, in either party.)

        February 3, 2016
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      • Ann
        Ann

        I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about how a single-payer system would work out. And a lot of people have an invincibility complex — they think they aren’t going to get sick, so why should they be in the system? Until they or one of their family members has a medical condition that wipes out their finances and causes bankruptcy, which does happen, people don’t get it.

        February 3, 2016
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    • Xebi
      Xebi

      “I know we will have a female president in my lifetime. It is coming. That doesn’t mean it has to be Clinton.”

      This is the argument I like to use. Not that I have a say or that “we” will have that President, because I am from and live in the UK. But we’ve only ever had one female Prime Minister, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have voted for Thatcher. You’re not anti-feminist for not voting against your principles just to vote for a woman.

      February 5, 2016
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    • drmaggiemoreau
      drmaggiemoreau

      I’m a little nervous about the health care initiative he’s talking about- I had and still need several surgeries, but they aren’t “lifethreatening”, and my mother has been helped greatly by emerging cancer treatments, both of which are well covered by our insurance. I really don’t want to have to switch (although I think it’s a good option for many, and should be available for those who want it). I just want to get the same coverage I’ve been getting all along, and I don’t know how that would play out. Sanders is probably my favorite of all the candidates, though.

      February 7, 2016
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    • ginmar
      ginmar

      Except……he has *not* defended gay marriage. He voted against DOMA not out of concern for gay rights, but for STATES’ rights. Frankly, the way he lies so viciously about Hillary, well…..anyway, as recently as 2006, he opposed gay marriage, saying he was “comfortable” with civil unions and that the fight for gay marriage would be divisive. He was indifferent to questions about gay rights earlier in his career, and was quoted as saying they were “not a priority” with him. It’s like people claiming he was photographed with MLK. He never corrects it.

      March 13, 2016
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  5. Amanda6
    Amanda6

    But Hillary Clinton is a rich, straight, white, cis woman battling through a landslide on a mountain that isn’t even on the map for anyone who isn’t rich, straight, white, and cis.

    This is 100% true, but at the same time, I think in saying it, you’re reinforcing Enlow’s frustration. I get WHY you mention it — that certain policies she supported at various times were representative of her privilege — but I think Enlow is getting at an idea that HRC is getting held to a higher standard because she’s a woman. NOT JUST because she has to look more polished and endure more superficial scrutiny than her male counterparts, and not just because she has to tone police herself constantly lest she ever fall outside of the acceptable range of rational presentation for a woman (i.e. neither too emotional nor too cold.) But also because as a woman, she is held to a higher standard of representing the experience of the oppressed. As you said yourself — she’s a very privileged woman! So I feel, and Enlow feels, like people are criticizing her more than any of her white, male, privileged peers for not being the 100% perfect ally, who has been 100% perfect from Day 1, because she was supposed to GET IT.

    And that just doesn’t strike me as fair. Like, fine, no one HAS to like her or think she’s doing anything now other than pandering for votes right now. But Bernie Sanders is also a 30-year career politician who has sat comfortably in Congress. The difference is that he’s been representing a niche contingency of rural liberals in Vermont. I’m not saying it’s not admirable that he’s always been pretty consistent, but it’s probably a lot easier when you aren’t trying to please a much larger, more diverse, and more unpredictable population. Even now, that he’s in the national spotlight, he doesn’t draw as much ire as Hillary does from the opposition. They think he’s a crazy old coot and they hate his policies, but it’s not PERSONAL like it is with Hillary.

    And that’s what I think Enlow really trying to say. She happens to like HRC’s policies. Not everyone does. And that’s fine! Bernie Sanders may be the people’s champion the Dems need. But he’s an old white guy who never really had his privilege questioned the same way Hillary’s has, and when you’re a woman who the entire country has been publicly needling for your entire career, you hedge. You play it safe. You try not to piss off too many people all at once. That’s just how it works! Bernie hasn’t had the same kind of lasting notoriety to truly test how consistent and how good of an ally he is. He hasn’t had to worry about pissing people off, both because no one was paying attention, and because if you’re man, pissing people off just doesn’t have the same repercussions.

    February 3, 2016
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    • Ruby K
      Ruby K

      Hey Amanda6- just want to point out that while, absolutely, Bernie hasn’t faced the same uphill climb, I’m not sure I agree with your suggestion that Bernie hasn’t had to worry about pissing people off- it’s clearly not the same scale as Hillary, but as someone who has run against both Republicans and Democrats in a one district state, he does have to make the case to the electorate why he’s worthwhile, and in Congress needs to do it every two years. And I know Hillary has had to take a different path, but at what point does noting that balance with someone who had less scrutiny but still has been on the right side of things?

      I think about this a lot, not just about LGBTQA issues, but also about things like free trade, economics generally, and education.

      February 3, 2016
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Hillary Clinton has two things working against her, and they’re both that she’s Hillary Clinton. She was hated as First Lady, hated as a senator, and hated as Secretary of State. She’ll be hated as President, and that’s all going to boil down to both the image that conservative media created of her as a wife who wasn’t good enough to keep her man at home, and the shrill harpy image liberal media coddled when she ran against Obama. None of that is fair, and you’re right, she has been pressured to take more conservative stances because of that, as every woman has to in the workplace.

      All of that said, when Enlow mocks Bernie supporters for their “wishes and dreams” approach to politics, she’s ignoring the fact that Clinton, too, has advocated for “free stuff” (as O’Reilly described it when excoriating Sanders and Clinton on the issue). Her position seems to be that voters are only informed and rational on the issues that Sanders and Clinton are similar on if they’re voting for Clinton. Otherwise, they’re misogynists who don’t know any better and are swayed solely by public and media perception of Clinton. And that’s simply not true; there are reasons many of us dislike Clinton as a candidate while knowing full well that the race she’s running in is not a fair one. However, it wasn’t fair when people (mostly liberals) mocked Sarah Palin for being too sexy or having too many children, but that unfairness wasn’t enough to convince me to vote McCain in the general.

      I agree with pretty much everything Enlow says, except for the part where I’m supposed to set aside the fact that Clinton contributed to the marginalization of LGBTQA+ people because she’s stopped doing it in time for this election and now wants us to forget about it. But it’s the inclusion of that pithy aside that deflates the entire piece for me. It’s insulting, and it says to me that my views as a queer woman don’t matter as much as the views of mainstream feminists. As one of my twitter acquaintances said today, there’s very much a feeling of “wait your turn” that’s being presented to marginalized feminists.

      February 3, 2016
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    • ginmar
      ginmar

      When Hillary puts one foot wrong, people attack. People ignore that Sanders just didn’t do much after thirty years in politics—-and his attitude toward, barring a few platitudes here and there sucks.

      I won’t believe they’re being treated equally till—-at *least*—-people start criticizing Sanders’ cankles. That right there sums it up for me. Well, that and the fact that Hillary’s voice has been repeatedly criticized—in at least three newspaper articles—-as harsh, shrill, strident, and so on. MSNBC pulled away from a speech of hers so an all-male panel could attack her once again. I must have missed Sanders getting the same treatment, surely.

      March 13, 2016
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    • ginmar
      ginmar

      “Pissing people off just doesn’t have the same consequences for a man.” Yeah, I bet Bernie and his fans (at least the male ones) don’t get death and rape threats. When was the last time somebody made a nutcracker doll out of a male politician?

      March 13, 2016
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  6. Alexis
    Alexis

    This article was all over my Facebook page last night and it was infuriating to me. Yes, I support Sanders. Yes, I would love to see a woman in the White House. No, I’m not falling into some Republican trap by saying that Clinton isn’t liberal enough for me–Obama is also not nearly liberal enough for me. Clinton’s economic policies aren’t liberal enough for me. Her foreign policy is DEFINITELY not liberal enough for me. And while she focuses on social issues when it comes to women–which, of course, is important–there are a lot of other issues that need to be dealt with, too. I would LOVE to see a woman as president, but I’m not going to vote for a woman just because she’s a woman when there’s a candidate I agree with more.

    And by the fucking way, can the Democrats not turn into Republicans with this bullshit infighting crap? I found this article super disingenuous because I’m still not sure who it’s aimed at, but it felt like it was targeted at fairly liberal Democrats who would generally agree with its message if it wasn’t…kind of mean and wrong sometimes? Maybe I’m splitting hairs. I’m a pretty radical feminist and some of what I’m seeing from my fellow feminists online is highly disappointing. There are legitimate criticisms of Clinton that don’t just boil down to sexism.

    February 3, 2016
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    • Kristen
      Kristen

      As someone who is pro-Hillary and very feminist (and also under 30), I’m sad you’re feeling this way.

      There are definitely policy reasons that would make a difference between Sanders and Clinton – I happen to agree more with Clinton on policy than Sanders but I definfiely respect that others don’t.

      The problem, to me, is that a lot of the reasons to not vote for Hillary don’t focus on the policy. If you think that $15 fed min wage vs $10.75 is non negotiable and war is never an option vs sometimes an option and Medicare for All is better than the ACA, then go for it.

      What I, as a feminist, have been livid about the last few days is not that people disagree with me on those things. I love debating minimum wage! Let’s do it all day! What makes me livid is that instead of focusing on these issues, the bulk of Sanders supporters paint Hillary as being a republican, or being a liar, or being manipulative, or being unlikeable. All of which are arguments that clearly have their root in sexism and the old republican smear campaign.

      February 4, 2016
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      • ginmar
        ginmar

        Oh, SHIT, sorry, didn’t notice the date! Was teading Buffy recaps pre-caffeine and…..fuckaduck.

        March 13, 2016
        |Reply
  7. Cherry
    Cherry

    “If Enlow and other feminists want us to believe that their votes are not swayed solely by the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman, then they must extend that same courtesy to women who don’t support her.”

    Thank You! This has been driving me insane lately!

    February 3, 2016
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  8. erick
    erick

    Thank you for this.

    February 3, 2016
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  9. GLC
    GLC

    You know what this stuff about supporting Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman reminds me of? The last Papal race, where there was a candidate from Uganda (or somewhere around there, I can’t quite remember) and people were speculating on whether or not there’d be an African Pope. The only thing was, that guy was spectacularly homophobic. Some people may have been disappointed because Pope Francis isn’t black, but ultimately the right choice was made.

    February 3, 2016
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  10. Courtney
    Courtney

    Excellent information. Thank you.

    February 3, 2016
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’m super glad you posted this link, as it’s something I wasn’t aware of. Probably because the overwhelming media slant IS that he has a spotless record, so it’s good to actually get information that isn’t just his voting record laid out in an infographic. I never “gave Bernie a pass on this,” though, and I’m not giving him one, now. Sanders’s stance on LGBT rights, however, doesn’t excuse Clinton’s, it just makes me distrust Sanders on this issue, as well. And it doesn’t alleviate my dismay at the dominant narrative that’s asking women to kindly silence their personal objections so that progress can be made for mainstream feminism.

      February 3, 2016
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      • AnitaWells
        AnitaWells

        ‘ And it doesn’t alleviate my dismay at the dominant narrative that’s asking women to kindly silence their personal objections so that progress can be made for mainstream feminism.’

        Enlow’s first paragraph talked about how this is personal. So this isn’t about winning for feminism. DF just pointed out the double-standard in your critique of Hillary. And this keeps happening – people skewering Hillary for the same stuff male politicians (particularly in this case Bernie) don’t get hate for.

        And I’m not saying either one of them should get a pass on their faults, as you mentioned. But people are refusing to recognize when they’re being sexist towards Hillary. Even going so far as to vehemently deny it. Like if we progressives can’t own up to the bigotry within our own circle, we can’t expect real change.

        February 3, 2016
        |Reply
        • JennyTrout
          JennyTrout

          From a voter’s perspective, I now have to take into account that because she was more visible and had more exposure to gain that notoriety for her anti-LGBT stances (as Amanda6 pointed out), and look into Sanders’s history more thoroughly, whereas with Clinton I just had to remember stuff. Most of the concerns I’ve seen expressed over Sanders’s LGBT stances have been about cosmetic issues with his campaign–”he doesn’t have a section on his website!”–rather than substantial remarks he’s made in the past. It should have been obvious to me that media bias might be presenting a too-good-to-be-true side of Sanders with regard to gay rights. Again, part of this is because he hasn’t been in the public eye enough that we remember specific backlashes, but obviously sexism plays an enormous part there. And since my vote isn’t set in stone until I go to the polls in March, I have the luxury of time to sort all that out.

          But with regards to Enlow’s piece not being about a win for feminism, she referenced several times that Clinton has been a role model for younger women and that her presidency would be a progressive step. I’m not sure how to separate those statements from the overall mainstream feminist discourse that a win for Hillary is a win for us all. Though Enlow’s feelings might be personal, she made them public (just as I made my personal feelings public here), and as such they enter into that feminist discourse that some of us are fed up with.

          And even with all of that said, Enlow is totally entitled to feel whatever way she wants to feel about Clinton, even if it irritates someone else. Women who support Clinton and women who support Sanders are both being told that their judgment in the primaries is suspect. We’re either voting for Hillary “just because she’s a woman” or we’re not voting for her “just because she’s a woman.” Our frustration on that is the same. Some of us who aren’t gung ho for Clinton are getting as tired of defending ourselves as Hillary supporters are of defending themselves. I’m just expressing that frustration from the other side.

          February 3, 2016
          |Reply
          • Jeanne
            Jeanne

            You are expressing your frustration with Hillary because of her stances on gay rights. And now that the article saying Sanders isn’t as perfect on this issue as everyone believes him to be has been brought out, I would say some of the wind has been taken out of this blog post’ s sails. It looks to me as if you are just proving Enslow’s point.

            February 4, 2016
          • JennyTrout
            JennyTrout

            I expressed my frustration at being told that we should just ignore something that, to some of us, isn’t just something that can be swept under the rug. If you believe I can’t be frustrated by that, I can’t change your mind. But I’m also not such a hardcore Sanders supporter that I can’t add this to my consideration of both candidates. My mind doesn’t have to be made up until I’ve got the pen in my hand in the voting booth, but I stand by my frustration at being told to hold my tongue so mainstream feminists can elevate their hero uncritically.

            February 4, 2016
          • Lindsay
            Lindsay

            I thought the point of the post was to express frustration with this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” that has become how women are treated depending on whether or not we support Hillary, and how the Enslow article was only adding to that by vilifying women for not supporting Hillary, and how that’s not because its making women feel like we can’t publicly support Sanders.

            The LGBT, while legitimate, just seemed like buttressing to personally explain your own position, so I guess I don’t see the point of the article as being marred simply because that buttressing might be marred?

            February 4, 2016
          • JennyTrout
            JennyTrout

            (Lindsay, I was trying to reply to your comment, so I hit the pencil mark by the comment, forgetting that’s the “edit” button. I didn’t actually edit your comment, but I feel like I need to make that clear)

            Yes, my overall point is the “damed if you do/damned if you don’t,” but I was referring to the specific question of there being a double standard in my distrust of Hillary as presented in this post. Now, the outcome is that I don’t trust either candidate on the issue and add this to my lesser-of-two-evils flowchart (for lack of a better term; I don’t actually believe either of them are evil).

            February 4, 2016
          • Nerem
            Nerem

            This is a late reply, but… I like Sanders, but my like has been slowly fading after giving him scrutiny. That isn’t to say I dislike him, but in the end he doesn’t seem to be spectacularly different than Hillary, so I feel like either winning will do for me.

            Like him being not-as-perfect as claimed on LGBT issues, he has the same problem with racial justice issues. Like the 1994 crime bill he keeps hitting Hillary on. He voted for it, and excuses it because of the Violence Against Women Act that was part of it. Which I mean, that’s fine. Hillary is excused for her support of it because it was what the African-American community wanted.

            But then I found out that he had been touting his vote on it as proof of his Tough on Crime credentials, even as recently as 2006. And he voted for the original that didn’t have the VAWA attached to it, so he believed in it.

            He even voted to send Vermont nuclear waste to a poor Latino town in Texas and coldly dismissed the people from that town when they came to beg him not to.

            And finally there was that disastrous interview where he had no idea how he was going to implement the reforms he’s fought for or even their consequences.

            So while I once truly liked him more then Hillary (though sometimes pretended otherwise to watch his more annoying and obnoxious fans get riled up), I think I feel that he doesn’t have the ‘true-blue crusader’ credentials he claimed.

            Vote for either, I guess.

            April 15, 2016
  11. Nevuela
    Nevuela

    Interesting fact about PMS: it’s caused by an increase in testosterone, so basically, when a man criticizes a woman for having PMS, he’s really criticizing her for behaving exactly the same way HE behaves 24/7.

    February 3, 2016
    |Reply
    • Petrificus
      Petrificus

      While it may be very satisfying to see the face of a sexist man when being told this, Im pretty sure this is a oversimplification. It has to do more with the inbalance and combinations of those hormones. The specific effects of testosterone during the menstrual cycle still have to be studied.

      As a trans man I got very tired of people telling me T would make me aggressive and violent, so I wish people understood hormones are complex and their effects on someone not that simple.

      February 4, 2016
      |Reply
      • monkyvirus
        monkyvirus

        I was introduced to this concept by some silly kid’s books (Jiggy McCue – it’s British). One book has a body swap and Angie gets swapped with Jiggy. Now Jiggy is called that because he is a major league fidgeter but otherwise pretty chill and non-confrontational. Angie, in his body, is some alpha male nightmare (it’s implied testosterone is behind this). It was a pretty interesting thought that it could affect them in different ways. I agree that a lot of trans advice for hormone therapy is “you’ll experience this new set of incredibly stereotyped feelings!” (I’m not trans but my sister is so I take an interest in these sorts of issues)

        Also I think being grumpy on your period has more to do with the constant pain. I hate the hormone argument it’s so belittling like men never have a bad mood?

        February 7, 2016
        |Reply
  12. Victoriana
    Victoriana

    Great post. Mainstream feminism fails at intersectionality so often it seems, and in my opinion, a feminism that fails at intersectionality is useless. Straight, cis, upper-class, able-bodied white women are not the only women there are, and I resent being told that if I don’t support a feminism that almost exclusively favors and privileges straight, cis, upper-class, able-bodied white women, I’m not a “true” feminist (straight/cis, poor, disabled, WOC here btw). I started out a Hillary Clinton supporter, but then switched to supporting Bernie Sanders largely for his economic policies and willingness to take on Wall Street.

    February 3, 2016
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  13. candy apple
    candy apple

    I’m voting for whoever gets the Democratic nomination. I’d rather it be Sanders, because I genuinely like him, having lived twenty miles from the Vermont border for close to a decade and seeing the good work he did there. He’s a genuinely great guy. But I’ll vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination instead, because I’m terrified of every single idiot member currently driving the Republican clown car.

    February 3, 2016
    |Reply
    • anon
      anon

      Me too. I would have *loved* getting to vote for Elizabeth Warren, but as somebody receiving Medicare/Social Security disability either Hillary or Bernie is going to be better for me than *any* of the Republicans.

      (I live in Texas, so as a registered Democrat my vote in nationwide elections tends towards meaningless anyway. I would have voted for Lucifer from Supernatural before voting for Ted Cruz, and although I might be able to find one or two shared political positions with him if I dug hard enough I didn’t vote for John Cornyn either. )

      February 4, 2016
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I am truly frightened by the number of Sanders supporters I’m seeing going, “Well, if he doesn’t get the nomination, I’m not voting.” I don’t know where that attitude is coming from, but it’s frightening.

      February 4, 2016
      |Reply
      • Lindsay
        Lindsay

        For sure. I prefer Bernie over Hillary, but I am baffled that some people would rather not vote than vote for her. I have no problems with Hillary, and think she would do just fine as President, I just happen to like Bernie more.

        February 4, 2016
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      • M
        M

        I planned to vote for Jill Stein if she ran again, but as Sanders holds many of the positions I do and actually has a chance, I decided I’d vote for him. If he doesn’t win the primary, I’ll vote for Stein. Once in my voting life I voted for the lesser of two evils, and I regret that to this day. Now I only vote for the candidate I believe in most. I do think it sucks that some people are saying they won’t vote at all, but I also think it’s worth noting that Sanders has gotten the attention of a lot of us third-party voters (I know — I’ve met them at the rallies, my political caucuses, and I am one myself), so the dems stand to lose a chunk of votes is Sanders doesn’t win. Clinton isn’t particularly appealing to the liberal third-party crowd.

        February 5, 2016
        |Reply
  14. Jessie
    Jessie

    Live a few more decades and you’ll see/understand/witness how people, policies, cultural attitude and more change. The mood of the times shift. Live longer and you’ll see. I’m not a Hillary lover, but you’re also not on this planet long enough to have witnessed as many cultural turnings and shifts in the tide.

    February 4, 2016
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      In fairness, I’m not exactly a babe in the woods here. I’m closer to forty than I am to twenty, and many of the changes in policy and cultural attitude that have been made in the past two decades have not only directly involved participation by my generation, but they’ve greatly impacted my generation, as well. I’ve also had the benefit of watching the generations ahead of me go through their own transformations, and watching Millennials come up with fresh eyes. You’ve probably done the same with your parents’ generation and your grandparents’ generation, and generations after you. So, while I look forward to the changes I’ll make as a person through my next years of life (fingers crossed that I have many), I think I’m capable enough of judging the importance I want to place on issues that affect me and people like me.

      February 4, 2016
      |Reply
      • Petrificus
        Petrificus

        Perphaps Jessie did not mean to come off as condescending, but to tell a 35 year old woman that she is to young and immature to know what is better for her seems exactly that: condescending.
        I don’t always agree with jenny or how she chooses to express herself, but Im not gonna pat her in the head and tell her “you will understand when you are older”.

        February 4, 2016
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  15. Michelle
    Michelle

    First I just want to say this is the most civilized political discussion i have ever seen on the internet. This is a testament to the wonderful people Jenny brings together with her writing.

    I too will support whoever get the nomination because the idea of any one of those horror show republicans winning gives me night terrors!

    I am in my 40’s and my opinion on a lot of things has changed over time. I used to thing the death penalty was great until I came to understand how skewed and unfair the justice system is and then just growing older and really learning the value of life and not wanting the state to murder for revenge on my behalf.

    I used to hate Hillary when she was First Lady. She made some crack against “cookie bakers” that I took offense to as a stay at home mom. I have grown and changed and so has she. While I do think the choice of words wasn’t great I get what she meant then that I couldn’t understand then. She had ambition and wasn’t going to let misogynist men get in her way! Now that I am older I recognize misogyny more easily end even saw it in myself. I have been striving to be a better woman and feminist.

    I know Hillary is not the perfect candidate and neither is Bernie…Hillary has had a 25 year smear campaign against her while Bernie was able to quietly go about his business in congress. I feel given our current system and the makeup up the congress, which will not change significantly with this election, that Hillary has the best chance at success. I wish she was more liberal but realistically a super ultra liberal agenda will not pass in the house or senate.

    February 4, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Yeah, I really appreciate the tone here in the comments. My inbox is a different story, but everyone is being awesome here.

      As to the super ultra liberal agenda not passing congress, I agree, but I also think that any liberal agenda at all is starting to become doomed to failure. The extreme right is becoming so powerful that we’re now looking at a republican primary in which the choice for voters is really coming down to choose the openly racist fiscal conservative or the zealously religious social conservative. And that’s going to be pretty much the same outcome during the midterms.

      February 4, 2016
      |Reply
      • Michelle
        Michelle

        The extreme right have a lot of money but I don’t think MOST Americans really want the types of policies that the right wing are pushing. Really it comes down to more people need to vote and not just in presidential election years. All the time, local elections are super important!

        What we really need in this country is a total overhaul of our election process, from no private donors to voting day being a national holiday and voting being compulsory. Corporations are not people have have no place in our elections system, money is not free speech. Taxes should fund the elections, which should be no longer than 1 year…it seems like we are in a never ending election cycle now and I for one am sick to death of it!

        February 4, 2016
        |Reply
      • Ruby K
        Ruby K

        This piece has been something that has frustrated me from the start- the argument that we shouldn’t vote for Bernie because his agenda doesn’t have a chance. Unfortunately, until we a) build a grassroots infrastructure that b) is successful in the state legislatures so we can c) make the maps more fair for redistricting after the 2020 census, D) there’s no way Hillary’s agenda is getting passed either, and in that case, I’d rather not start by negotiating against ourselves in the name of “pragmatism”

        February 4, 2016
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        • Aletheia
          Aletheia

          The problem with refuting the “argument that we shouldn’t vote for Bernie because his agenda doesn’t have a chance” is that… well… it really doesn’t have a chance of passing, at least in any recognizable form, unless something changes in Congress as well. And I say this as Bernie supporter. I like what he’s saying, and his stances (those that I’ve heard), but… it’s going to be another Obama situation all over again. He’ll get elected, Congress’ll turn down anything/everything they wish to, and the public’ll blame him instead of the Congress people for many things. I already see the groundwork for this amongst Bernie’s supporters, especially the younger ones I talk to (on Tumblr, plus my younger sister’s friends). They believe he can do anything he promises, and when I try to point out that the president doesn’t actually have those powers, they… still insist he can do anything. *sigh*

          If there was a grassroots system set in place, as well as the other things you mentioned, then this all wouldn’t be an issue. But it’s not, yet, and that is a problem. At least Hillary’s a lot closer to the middle than Bernie is. I know she’s a ~Democrat~ and a woman, both of which would probably make a fair amount of Congress peeps to vote against anything she backs out of spite, but her things do have a much better chance of passing than Bernie’s do. I hate that it’s that way, but there’s not much we can do about it in a short time span. Between this and the next presidential election, perhaps, but not in less than a year, y’know?

          (Sorry, I read your comment a few days ago and had a deep think about it.)

          February 7, 2016
          |Reply
  16. yogaclat
    yogaclat

    My main annoyance is the assertion that I should vote for Hillary because she is a woman and I’m a woman. I see this on my FB a lot “This is our best chance to get a woman in office” “We need to break the glass ceiling!” “Men are being mean to Hillary by focusing on her hair and clothes instead of substance, lets show them and vote for her!”

    I’m going to vote for the candidate who I feel has the best policies, regardless of their gender or how other people treat them.

    February 4, 2016
    |Reply
  17. M
    M

    Here’s something that irks me about Clinton, and she did it again last night: she rests on the fact that she is a woman to prove she’s progressive. Last night in defense of her progressive-ness, she said she would be the first woman president, and how is that not progressive? But that’s not enough: had McCain won, we would have had our first female Vice President, and I don’t think anyone would call Palin progressive. Firsts like that may show progress on the country’s part (and the fact that it’s taken taken so long shows we are slow to progress), but it shows absolutely nothing about whether or not she has progressive policies.

    She similarly evaded the issue in an earlier debate when asked what new thing we could expect if she were president, and rather than expounding on a policy, she said something along the lines of, “Look at me. I woukd be the first woman president.” That’s a milestone, not a policy.

    While I will not be voting for Clinton in the primary, I do think she does have quite a few things in her record that she could use to show her progressive tendencies rather than giving a superficial answer.

    I also tire of long election cycles where candidates are forced into saying the same thing over and over; it made sense back when things weren’t televised and, while you could read a transcript in the paper, when the candidates came to your state, it was fresh. Now it just makes empty answers like Clinton’s all the more unforgiveable: she knows the question is coming, so she should provide a better answer. If she wants to mention the obvious fact that she would be the first woman president, then she should subordinate it and begin with, “Aside from being the first woman president, I would….”

    February 5, 2016
    |Reply
  18. Vegasjellyfish
    Vegasjellyfish

    The majority of my Facebook feed is people saying that if you vote for Hillary because she is a woman then we can’t be friends or if you don’t vote for her because she is a woman we can’t be friends. There isn’t allot of political debate going on, which saddens me. I am more concerned about whether Trump gets on the ballot then Hillary or Bernie.

    I wish people would get more excited about who is running for Governor or the Senate then the president. We have more of a say in that then the presidential election.

    February 5, 2016
    |Reply
  19. sempercogitans
    sempercogitans

    I just want to point out that Obama actually said the same thing during his 2008 campaign. I don’t think he’s ever explained his view change, either.

    Not that that makes a difference. I’ve just noticed that while everyone seems to remember her saying this, no one remembers when he said it. Which is funny, because I’m pretty sure that the first time I remember it coming up for both of them was during a series of HRC interviews with all of the democratic candidates.

    I was in a relationship with a woman in 2008, and I remember thinking that it was a good thing she and I didn’t want to get married, because we would never be able to at this rate. I still don’t want to marry anyone, but I’m glad I was wrong about ever being able to if the person I fall for is a woman.

    February 5, 2016
    |Reply
  20. Anon123
    Anon123

    My gut says if it’s not Clinton and it’s not now, we’ll be waiting a heck of a long(er) time for a woman president. Yeah, yeah, I know there are others…but Clinton has like this name-brand recognition that I think could tip the scales.

    So I’m voting with my gut, because much as I hate making a wrong choice, I hate it more when I ignore my gut and it turns out it was right all along. My 2 cents. Your cents are much more well-informed than mine, though, it’s true. 🙂

    February 14, 2016
    |Reply
  21. I really can’t stand this constant push to vote for her. I definitely support her right to run for office without a lot of sexist bullshit but when her stances ARE so close to Bernie obviously, I’m going with the candidate that’s supported GLBT rights longer.

    Also, the women that think a female president will suddenly eradicate all sexism are just as delusional as the people that thing Bernie can singlehandedly bring on an economic revolution. And I say that as a Bernie supporter. Come on.

    February 16, 2016
    |Reply

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