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Pre-2008 Posts

Where Were Feminists, and Gloria Steinem, When Carol Moseley-Braun Was Running for President?

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From left: NOW Executive Vice President Karen Johnson, NOW President Kim Gandy, Carol Moseley Braun, NOW Membership Vice President Terry O’Neill and NOW Action Vice President Olga Vives. Photo by Lisa Bennett

“Where were feminists, including Gloria Steinem, when Carol Moseley-Braun ran for President?”

That’s the latest throw-down, examples of which can be found herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for just a sampling of many.  The implication being, of course, that while Gloria Steinem and white feminists in general would speak up on behalf of Hillary Clinton,  they could not be bothered with Carol Moseley-Braun.

Actually,  feminists were supporting Carol Moseley-Braun, big time.

gloria3.jpg
 Gloria Steinem

Matter of fact, Gloria Steinem spearheaded Carol Moseley-Braun’s campaign.  In July of 2003, she said:

Ever since I walked through the cold streets of Chicago with Carol when she was supposed to have no chance of winning a U.S. Senate race—and saw the love and respect of ordinary citizens who later confounded the experts by electing her—I’ve known that she can’t be measured by ordinary standards,” Steinem said.

”Her time as U.S. ambassador to New Zealand expanded her view from Illinois and the U.S. to the world, and dramatized the needless mistakes this country is making,” Steinem added. ”Whether or not she enters the White House, her presidential candidacy will take the ‘white male only’ sign off its door, move many voters to insist on new issues and positions from all candidates, and force the next president to deal with a changed national consciousness. In other words, she can’t lose.”  — from an article of Monday July 14, 2003 by Steve Neal, Chicago Sun-Times

Gloria Steinem’s campaign contributions report shows a $1,000 donation to Moseley-Braun in 1992.  She then went on to be a member of Moseley-Braun’s Exploratory Committee and to campaign vigorously for her.

I had Moseley-Braun’s campaign photo on the main page of my old website for months and months after she’d dropped out of the race– just because I liked seeing it there and had such deep respect for the woman.

What’s off-the-charts scandalous about these blog posts is the boldness with which all of the bloggers linked above, and many others, have published lies about a woman.  This is not ancient history– this happened just five years ago.  Gloria Steinem’s name, paired with Carol Moseley-Braun’s name, was ubiquitous and everywhere during Moseley-Braun’s campaign. 

Evidently, though, that didn’t register with quite a number of feminists and progressives.    They were so sure of their reporting  — and apparently so unconcerned for the facts or for any sort of journalistic ethics or their own credibility — that they didn’t even bother to check.   The information is readily available online.  My hunch is, they presumed that the ongoing campaign to discredit and erase the work of feminist leaders like Gloria Steinem has been so successful, even if what they wrote wasn’t true, they’d be believed, and even if as it turned out, people learned their reports were false, it wouldn’t matter, they would continue to repeat the lies anyway, in the ongoing woman-hating which is masquerading, right now, as feminism.  Or perhaps they have such skewed and distorted ideas about Gloria Steinem, they just assumed the worst about her.  I kind of favor that latter explanation, actually.

Well, a few of us will continue to work very hard to keep the rest of you honest.

Heart

Discussion

75 thoughts on “Where Were Feminists, and Gloria Steinem, When Carol Moseley-Braun Was Running for President?

  1. When NOW supported Carol Moseley Braun in 2004 I sent in money for a year’s membership and told them why I was joining.

    National Organization for Women.

    Posted by sam | February 6, 2008, 11:19 pm
  2. Reality never gets in the way of a good feminist bashing.

    It’s all the rage!

    Posted by Gayle | February 6, 2008, 11:35 pm
  3. Keep them honest! I sent money to Moseley Braun’s campaign as well, and campaigned amongst old friends who still lived in Illinois at the time when she was running for Senate.

    Lest we forget so soon, women rose up in the Senate and House over the outrageous confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas. That’s why 1992 was deemed the year of the woman! I was furious over the way Anita Hill was treated by the all male judiciary committee– Joe Biden the so-called “liberal” was chairman of that attrocity. Moseley-Braun said let’s fight back! Believe me patriarchy was running scared that year REAL scared.

    Question all accusations that white feminists aren’t supporting black women for elected office. Question this if you read it. Think twice about the recent past. Thanks to Google and the Internet we can get the facts pretty quickly if we look!

    I don’t know who is behind this misrepresentation of recent history, or of Gloria Steinem’s incredible record as a pioneering feminist and all around woman of good sense, but it’s out there.

    If we can’t protect our own herstory, men aren’t going to do it for us.

    Alliances between white and black women are threatening, and successful ones like this are being buried by uninformed bloggers who think they can get away with this.

    Nothing new –erasure is one of the seven deadly sins of the fathers — Mary Daly tells this again and again. She rediscovered Matilda Joselyn Gage — the most radical of the 19th century feminists. She wrote a book called “Woman, Church and State”– reads like today’s headlines.

    This classic text isn’t even taught in feminist classes in seminaries!

    Gloria Steinem has had a long and wonderful herstory with black feminists. Ms. championed the work of Alice Walker BEFORE Alice became famous.

    Again, we have to protect the facts, and shame on the people who wrote those false and misleading blogs! Shame on your lack of research skills, shame on you!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 7, 2008, 12:17 am
  4. Satsuma, yes, question all this propaganda against feminists (not supporting other feminists/women) for likely it is not true. Don’t believe the propaganda.

    Herstorically, feminists do indeed support other women/feminists, whatever shape/size/colour/orientation. (Hence my little reminder to you Satsuma, that this is why I did not like your divisiveness along ‘orientation’ lines a whiles back).

    Herstorically, females have to keep ‘rediscovering’ feminism as if it is some ‘new’ thing. It’s not. Females have been fighting for equality for hundreds of years (probably longer).

    Posted by stormy | February 7, 2008, 1:06 am
  5. Sam,

    FWIW, I think you’re fucking fantastic! I’ve read your comments around the blogesphere and I’ve visited your board a couple of times (although, I haven’t yet registered).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I’m a huge fan. I know it sounds trite, but anyway, thank you for fighting the good fight for women and girls.

    Posted by Gayle | February 7, 2008, 2:04 am
  6. Oh, and Stormy,

    I’m still waiting for you to resurrect your blog.

    I know, I have a lot of nerve saying that considering I don’t even have a blog myself. Nevertheless. . .
    🙂

    Posted by Gayle | February 7, 2008, 2:07 am
  7. I found out about Matilda Joslyn Gage Monday night while reading Dale Spender’s Women of Ideas and what men have done to them: from Aphra Behn to Adnenne Rich and was so happy I cried when I realised ‘Woman, Church and State” has been reprinted since 1893 and is available to buy.

    Heart, thank you for your work and keeping the rest of us honest.🙂

    Posted by Arantxa | February 7, 2008, 7:43 am
  8. Sorry Gayle. Stormyblog will probably remain an ex-parrot.
    Besides, I like making a nuisance of myself on other blogs!😉

    Posted by stormy | February 7, 2008, 7:50 am
  9. My hunch is, they presumed that the ongoing campaign to discredit and erase the work of feminist leaders like Gloria Steinem has been so successful, even if what they wrote wasn’t true, they’d be believed, and even if as it turned out, people learned their reports were false, it wouldn’t matter, they would continue to repeat the lies anyway, in the ongoing woman-hating which is masquerading, right now, as feminism.

    Or maybe they just made a mistake, an error possibly attributable in several cases to feeling personally antagonized as a woman of color by how all of this is playing out. And in the haste to describe a real emotion – anger over a lack of support coming from other women – facts got muddled and misremembered. It happens.

    And when it does, a presumption of animosity and dishonesty is not going to heal the situation or correct the facts.

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 1:03 pm
  10. Oh my god, funnie, you’ve got to be kidding me. Some of those links are to young white women bloggers who cannot say they are personally antagonized as women of color by how all of this is playing out. There has been a concerted effort to erase the work of Gloria Steinem and other prominent Second Wavers since forever. It is calculated, it is intentional, it is dedicated. That muddling and misremembering would be understandable and I’d think it might be a possibility, if it were one or two blogs. It’s across the blogosphere, something you can check for yourself.

    You ought to walk in some of our shoes, you know? Know what it feels like to be relentlessly, intentionally lied about. Know what it feels like to have people attempt to erase your work, put you in the grave while you’re still very much alive, treat you like you are dead and worthless.

    I tracked back to the people I linked up there. We will see if they correct their error now that they know.

    I’m not going to approve anymore comments which do nothing more than apologize for what amounts to erasure and in my opinon inexcusable disrespect. That’s just it. Not here. Not on my blog.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 1:53 pm
  11. Some linked to are white men, as well.

    And since when is lashing out at women — feminists — publicly the way you handle your general antagonism over the way the goddamn election is going.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 2:01 pm
  12. Of course some feminists supported Carol Moseley Braun. The exact quote from my post was:

    “Where were these “all women must vote for the woman” folks when Carol Moseley Braun was running for president? I know why I didn’t support her–because other candidates more closely aligned with my take on the issues. But where were the feminists who say issues don’t matter? Where were the women who say a vote for a woman is the only radical thing to do? Where was Gloria Steinem’s New York Times op-ed for Braun? Could it be that when some feminists talk about support for “women” they mean white women?”

    I am not talking about feminists who have reviewed the issues and feel that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate. I am speaking specifically about the feminists who have said that not voting for Clinton in this election is 1) a betrayal, 2) proves third wave feminists don’t get it, or 3) strips one of her feminist bonafides. This sentiment has been trumpeted by Gloria Steinem, NY State NOW, and others. It is an idea that I find offensive as a feminist or womanist myself.

    But I also think it is worth discussing why this notion of female solidarity didn’t come up during Braun’s campaign. And it did not. I don’t recall lots of women loudly proclaiming that one should vote for Braun simply because she is a woman, or that it would be good to have a woman’s sensibilities in the White House, or that men have had their turn. All of your personal choices aside, can you honestly say that there was a groundswell of support from everyday women for Carol Moseley Braun?

    Posted by Tami | February 7, 2008, 3:05 pm
  13. Hi, Tami, thanks for your response. Responding to the quote from your post (and I normally hate line-by-line responses but want to respond that way in this instance):

    “Where were these “all women must vote for the woman” folks when Carol Moseley Braun was running for president?

    I think these are straw people, the “all women must vote for the woman folks” you are describing. Who, exactly are you referring to here? Can you provide specific examples of women who have said this?

    I haven’t seen anybody suggesting anywhere that all women must vote for the woman. What I’ve seen is a lot of understandable and appropriate anger — including on the part of Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan — over the sexist portrayals of Hillary Clinton, which have for the most part flown under the radar or been excused or justified or glossed over or ignored. That does not translate to “all women must vote for the woman.” It translates to “stop the misogyny.” It translates to “Good bye to all that.”

    Gloria Steinem is one who — because of her Op-Ed piece — has been accused of suggesting all women must vote for the woman. But she never suggested that and has never lived that. If you click on the link to her campaign contributions over the years, she has supported plenty of progressive, leftist, Democratic men.

    I know why I didn’t support her–because other candidates more closely aligned with my take on the issues. But where were the feminists who say issues don’t matter?

    Who says issues don’t matter? Can you provide specific references so we can take a look.

    Where were the women who say a vote for a woman is the only radical thing to do?

    Who has said this? Again, could you provide some specific reference.

    Where was Gloria Steinem’s New York Times op-ed for Braun?

    Gloria Steinem did better than a NYT op-ed. She stumped for Carol Moseley-Braun, spearheaded her campaign, was interviewed on her behalf, and gave her time and her money. The New York Times Op-Ed was a specific response to issues in this campaign surrounding media treatment of, and voter response to, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If the same issues had been in evidence in CMB’s campaign, Steinem and Morgan and others would have responded similarly.

    Could it be that when some feminists talk about support for “women” they mean white women?”

    Could be. But not Gloria Steinem, whom you referred to in the sentence immediately preceding this one, as though to ask, “Could it be that when some feminists” — “Gloria Steinem” being the antecedent of “some feminists” — “talk about support for “women” they only mean white women. Steinem clearly doesn’t only mean white women and her record is the evidence of that.

    am not talking about feminists who have reviewed the issues and feel that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate. I am speaking specifically about the feminists who have said that not voting for Clinton in this election is 1) a betrayal,

    Who said this? Quotes please, or links, or references.

    2) proves third wave feminists don’t get it,

    Who said this? Quotes, links, references.

    or 3) strips one of her feminist bonafides.

    Where did this happen? Quotes, links references please.

    This sentiment has been trumpeted by Gloria Steinem,

    Where? Quotes, links, references.

    NY State NOW

    Who at NOW?

    and others.

    Who?

    But I also think it is worth discussing why this notion of female solidarity didn’t come up during Braun’s campaign. And it did not. I don’t recall lots of women loudly proclaiming that one should vote for Braun simply because she is a woman,

    Nobody is proclaiming now that everyone should vote for HRC because she’s a woman, that’s what I am saying to you. If you do a search here, you will see that I have never ever supported HRC — ever! — and have spoken favorably and warmly of Obama, even though I am running for president myself! I am just outraged by the woman-hating treatment HRC is receiving, and *as* outraged by the woman-hating treatment women who have spoken up on her behalf are receiving.

    As a presidential candidate, I sure as hell don’t want anyone voting for me only because I am a woman. I’d never say that because, for one thing, I’ve never even thought it.

    The notion of female solidarity DID come up during Braun’s campaign amongst those of us who supported her. But Braun was not taken seriously. She was dissed and kicked to the curb by most of the media and the press, so what was in fact said about Braun, her campaign, female solidarity wasn’t widely circulated. But you know, the support for Braun WAS, in fact, female solidarity, without any words being spoken. That’s NOW, supporting Braun. That’s Steinem, supporting Braun. And me. And Sam up there, and many many other women. It’s us, putting the money where the mouth is and the energy where the blabbing is, actually doing something instead of criticizing someone for doing something.

    All of your personal choices aside, can you honestly say that there was a groundswell of support from everyday women for Carol Moseley Braun?

    Yes, there certainly was a groundswell. But sometimes candidates get small groundswells, not world-broke-open earthquake groundswells like Obama and Hillary are getting.

    Tell you what, there hasn’t been any huge groundswell of support for me, either! Why’s that? I’m a woman so where are all the woman jumping up to support me. Well, I’m not a Dem, I’m not a Republican, I am a radical feminist candidate running on the Free Soil Party ticket and I have a whole lot of adversaries, just like Carol Moseley Braun had, a long story which everyone can investigate and research for herself.

    What I think is happening here is, women outraged about the misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton are being read as having said everyone should vote for her because she’s a woman, women are betraying feminism, etc. Nobody that I think has any sense is saying that. If someone is saying that, that isn’t sensible. And I sure don’t think to choose to vote for HRC because she is a woman translates to saying everybody else should or others who don’t are betrayers and all the rest of that.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
  14. Some linked to are white men, as well.

    And since when is lashing out at women — feminists — publicly the way you handle your general antagonism over the way the goddamn election is going.

    The whole idea is to keep women busy fighting among themselves so it takes the heat off the boys and no one pays much attention to what they’re doing. What they’re busy doing is eroding and eliminating women’s hard fought gains, one by one. But we don’t notice. Cuz we’re too busy trying to one-up each other in the oppression olympics.

    This is a major difference in how the sexes are raised and conditioned. Little boys are taught to put individuality aside and play as a team from the cradle, while little girls are taught to be individualistically competitive, mistrusting and misogynist towards each other. It works out well for the boys to keep things this way as there’s nothing more threatening to men than women united. So we can count on men to keep poking their sticks into the hornet’s nest and stirring things up between women.

    So yeah, of course it’s very intentional and calculated on the part of men to keep things stirred up between women. A sure way of knowing that it’s men behind it all is to first ask the question, who does it benefit? The answer is: men, of course. Because it keeps women divided instead of united. Which are you more threatened by? Division or unification?

    Another good way to know who’s behind it all is to understand that feminism focuses on what women share in common while patriarchy is all about differences. Because the patriarchy creates and maintains its hierarchies out of these differences. Divide and conquer. That strategy is as old as dirt.

    As for the scapegoating and harassment of a 73 year old woman that has spent her life trying to make things better for women as best she can, all I can say is, shame on you for being such a tool. To her critics, I ask this question. What have you done for women? Except criticize and diss them? That isn’t feminism, m’dear. That’s business as usual under the patriarchy. Who benefits? Hint: not women.

    Posted by Luckynkl | February 7, 2008, 5:51 pm
  15. “What have you done for women? Except criticize and diss them? That isn’t feminism, m’dear. That’s business as usual under the patriarchy. Who benefits? Hint: not women.”

    but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but,
    but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, ………………………………………

    Posted by ekittyglendower | February 7, 2008, 6:00 pm
  16. Not sure if this worked the first time I sent it…

    I agree with all that you said about Hillary Clinton facing subtle and not-so-subtle sexism throughout this campaign and well before it. That Chris Matthews still has a job with MSNBC is astonishing.

    When I wrote my post, I was referring in particular to three recent much-talked-about instances of feminists speaking out for Hillary Clinton, as well as my personal experiences. The three public instances were: (Hope these hyperlinks work. I am clueless in WordPress.)

    Karen Von Hahn’s Globe and Mail article where she complained that lack of strong third wave support for Hillary Clinton was a harbinger that feminism is going out of style. Von Hahn lamented that young women “consider it ‘lame’ to align themselves with a woman candidate on the sole ground of sisterhood.” It looks like the article has already been archived at the Globe and Mail, but you can find rebuttals on Jezebel, Slate and Salon.

    The vitriolic statement released by the New York State chapter of NOW that called Sen. Edward Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama his “greatest betrayal of women.” I admire Kennedy’s politics, but I must say that backing Obama is not even among the top 10 things he has done to betray women.

    Gloria Steinem’s op-ed piece, where she wrote: We have to be able to say: “I’m supporting her because she’ll be a great president and because she’s a woman.” In the same piece, Steinem said: “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.”

    To me, each of the above articles/statements imply that to be a truly committed supporter of women and equality, you must endorse Hillary Clinton. I read similar statements on blogs and hear them on progressive radio often. It is the gender-based version of what some black Obama supporters say to bully black non-supporters: “If you weren’t self-hating, you would support the brother.” As a black woman who supported John Edwards until he suspended his campaign, I heard it from both sides, believe me. Both sides drove me batty and I blogged about both.

    Women and African Americans fought too damned hard to get the vote, to throw it away on symbolism. But that really wasn’t the point of my post at all. The post wasn’t about Clinton and her supporters or her viability as a candidate. There are plenty of reasons why women and men support Hillary Clinton.

    The post was about how progressives (and I am one) are just as capable of bias as conservatives. As an example of bias, I referred to SOME white feminists who advocate voting for Clinton out of symbolism, but did not feel so compelled and excited during Carol Moseley Braun’s campaign. Clearly, I was wrong about Gloria Steinem and I stand corrected. But I stand by my initial points:

    – Liberals can be biased.
    – The many vocal feminists who advocate voting for Clinton because she is a woman are displaying bias if they did not similarly advocate for Braun.

    I like your blog, by the way.

    Posted by Tami | February 7, 2008, 7:10 pm
  17. Or maybe they just made a mistake, an error possibly attributable in several cases to feeling personally antagonized as a woman of color by how all of this is playing out. And in the haste to describe a real emotion – anger over a lack of support coming from other women – facts got muddled and misremembered. It happens.

    Funnie, seriously? This is what you think happened at DailyKos?

    Posted by Emma | February 7, 2008, 8:14 pm
  18. Or at Alas, a blog?

    To be fair, I didn’t originally include Alas, although I thought I had and didn’t realize I hadn’t until this morning. I added that link.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 8:30 pm
  19. The vitriolic statement released by the New York State chapter of NOW that called Sen. Edward Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama his “greatest betrayal of women.” I admire Kennedy’s politics, but I must say that backing Obama is not even among the top 10 things he has done to betray women.

    The evidence is that women voters in Mass. DID feel betrayed by Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama and that it made a difference in Clinton’s win there. See Gail Collins’s article in the NY Times.

    In their haste to distance themselves from Pappas, younger feminists are overlooking the content of her piece and that many, many older women feel as she does. Younger women just do not give a fuck about older women. It’s played itself out time and time again in this campaign. You. will. not. listen. when older women express opinions, concerns, and support for candidates that is different than yours. I’ve heard that women voting for Clinton are expressing “nostalgia”, are against change, are “just” voting for her because she’s a woman, just like Bill and on and on and on. That’s just ageist bullshit.

    The many vocal feminists who advocate voting for Clinton because she is a woman are displaying bias if they did not similarly advocate for Braun.

    Frankly, all you’re doing is casting aspersions based on speculation. Why don’t you 1) identify every woman who’s “advocat[ing] voting for Clinton because she is a woman,” with citation and 2) find out if she “did not similarly advocate for Braun.” Then maybe you’ll have a leg to stand on.

    “Oh, the evidence proves me wrong? Let me re-state my biased and anti-feminist point by offering conjecture and speculation impugning women and feminists generally.” That’s real feminist.

    Posted by Emma | February 7, 2008, 8:44 pm
  20. Tami, thanks, I see better where you were coming from now. I haven’t seen the Globe and Mail article or the NY NOW article. I’d have to agree with you that Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama is hardly his greatest betrayal of women! Let’s start with Mary Jo Kopechne in the drink at Chappaquidick, for god’s sake.

    I also agree that voting for Clinton doesn’t equal more radical! Voting for me equals radical. 🙂 Even though I think it’s true that women do become radicalized with age– how can we not? We live through all of this misogynist, hateful garbage for decades, either we radicalize or self-medicate in some way to survive.

    At the same time, I think Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan think of Clinton’s speech in Beijing when they think of Clinton, because I think both of them were there in 1995, and that speech of Clinton’s really rang. It *was* a radical speech. I didn’t know about that speech until Morgan included a portion of it in “Good-bye to All That,” and I was really surprised because it didn’t sound like HRC as I imagine and envision her. Endorsing someone you associate with that speech in Beijing for president *does* seem radical.

    I don’t get it that Gloria Steinem was saying, though, that to be radical you have to vote for Clinton. I read her too as saying she thinks we should vote for Clinton because she’ll be a good president *and* because she’s a woman.

    I completely 100 percent agree with you that progressives can be biased! And feminists. Can we ever.

    I also agree with you as to this:

    – The many vocal feminists who advocate voting for Clinton because she is a woman are displaying bias if they did not similarly advocate for Braun.

    So that means I agree with your concluding comments.

    And thanks for liking my blog. I like yours, too.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 8:47 pm
  21. I didn’t and don’t read Daily Kos. It’s gross, I refuse, and I consider it to be “one of these things is not like the others” in the list – though now that Alas is added, that’s less true.

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 8:48 pm
  22. I consider it to be “one of these things is not like the others” in the list – though now that Alas is added, that’s less true.

    I wish I could make arguments by ignoring everything that doesn’t agree with what I’m saying.

    Posted by Emma | February 7, 2008, 9:32 pm
  23. Re ageism– I think some of what is going on here is, second wave feminist, visible leaders like Steinem, are viewed by some as, oh, something like stars or celebrities or something. But those of us who have been around for a while view them much differently, we’ve grown up with them, we remember being young with them and now we know what it feels like to be getting old with them, but regardless, they don’t seem like celebrities, because the second wave wasn’t like that and isn’t like that now. No celebrities. Just women. The media, of course, shoehorned feminists into various celebrity categories by focusing on them, usually because they were conventionally pretty like Steinem, or had been an actress as a child, like Morgan, or because they were pretty and outrageous like Germaine Greer, but that was the media’s doing, not the secondwavers. They didn’t want that, they wanted to be taken seriously and they deserved to be taken seriously.

    But that image has come down to younger women and especially now when contemporary life is fracking all ABOUT being a celebrity and a top model and an American idol. How did we even get to that? This is what we HATED in the 60s, this superstar stuff, idols, celebrities, and don’t even think about “top models,” that was the Man all the way. But kids have grown up thinking this way, that these idols and celebrities and superstars have achieved something everybody wants and they don’t know that honestly, we did NOT want that in the second wave, in the 60s, 70s, that wasn’t on our agenda, that was what we wanted *out* of.

    But I think in some cases there is resentment that is really misplaced. The second wave is getting old. Even if they *did* want to be celebrities once (and they didn’t, not the women I’m thinking of), they *sure* don’t give a rat’s ass about it now. That’s why I posted the photo of Gloria Steinem that I posted. There, she is as beautiful as she ever was, but she is 73 and she appears to be 73, and that’s a beautiful thing. She is not the glam-appearing 30-something of the public imagination. She’s an elder. When will we, as women, honor our elders? Men have no problem doing that, they erect statues, monuments, name streets and towns and ships after their elders. What do we do with ours? They get kicked to the curb. Erased. Made to be invisible. They get lied about, the lies believed and repeated. Every move they ever made — and they’ve made a lot of moves in their 50,60,70, 80 plus years — gets scrutinized for something that can be used against them.

    Why don’t women realize, *next it’s them.* The years will pass and there they will be. It’s like they won’t even go there, consider that.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 9:37 pm
  24. I wish I could make arguments by ignoring everything that doesn’t agree with what I’m saying.

    ? You asked me:

    Funnie, seriously? This is what you think happened at DailyKos?

    My answer is: I didn’t read it. My further answer is: my post isn’t about Kos.

    (also, Heart asked if that’s what I think happened @ Alas – I’m DAMNED sure not going to click that link, now that it’s there, so I can’t answer that either, and since the link to Alas didn’t exist when I wrote my post, it’s obviously not about that, either.)

    Exactly what and whom does that ignore?

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:02 pm
  25. I mean, I guess it ignores whatever did or did not happen @ Kos and Alas, except that MY point was about dialoguing with pissed-off women of color.

    Frankly, I think women of color have reason to be angry at white feminists – at the very least, for white feminists’ general refusal to acknowledge that women of color have reason to be angry over this election – and that when people are angry it’s a lot easier to accept statements that prove your point as being true. I don’t think that indicates a conspiracy or a desire to lie. I don’t think the bare fact of repeating an untruth without fact-checking it first is fully indicative of bad faith toward women. Especially when we’re talking about women who self-identify as feminist, surely there HAS to be something else going on.

    So, if this is such a commonly-repeated lie, why not direct all of the anger at the guys and at the white people and most definitely at the white guys who repeat it? Direct it at outlets to the degree that they’re considered “media” and not “personal blogs”? Target men and the media, THEY are out to get us.

    Because if women of color are trying to explain why they’re mad and all feminists do is say “that’s not true, you’re lying and I think I know why,” I don’t think that’s enough.

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:11 pm
  26. That last sentence should say WHITE feminists! Ack.

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:12 pm
  27. For the record, aside from Alas, Kos, and Feminist Reprise, which I included intentionally, the rest I just randomly clicked from Google. You can bring all sorts of links like that up, just put in, “Gloria Steinem Carol Moseley-Brown”.

    You don’t have to click on the Alas link, funnie, you could copy and paste into your browser. It’s worth a look. Amp has a really shitty cartoon he drew of Gloria Steinem, he quotes woman of color feminists as though he isn’t a white heterosexual man and has some call to take up for woman of color feminists as against white feminists (pay no attention to the racist porn behind the Amptoons curtain), and then in the first comment another white man brings up Carol Moseley Braun.

    Maia, an Australian blogger I have usually appreciated then writes this hideousness:

    Maia Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 4:41 am
    That’s an awesome cartoon. It’s been good that the condemnation of Steinem has been quite swift and universal in the feminist blogsphere, or at least the parts I read. I would have blogged about myself, but I’ve decided that for the rest of 2008 I’m only going to post about electoral politics on Fridays.

    There are a number of references to Carol Moseley Braun which nobody ever bothers to correct or even questions. It’s noteworthy that although she is an Australian blogger, Maia thinks Gloria Steinem should be universally condemned by the blogosphere. Where did she get that idea?

    I read this post back in January when it was written because Amp linked to me with a snide ass remark about the condemnation not being “universal.”

    I messed up in not including this link to begin with– it should have been first in line, which is where I put it.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 10:16 pm
  28. Sorry, I’m just not visiting that site. Maybe it doesn’t raise the bang-brothers or whatever pornographer’s ratings and acceptability to visit it, but I’m not sure and I frankly never want to see Amp’s putrid fraud of a feminist site again. :p

    So, from what you’re telling me though – is it possible that Ampersand and/or his blog’s comments are where the Steinem-didn’t-support-CMB thing started? I think that would be interesting, to know from whence it sprung.

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:24 pm
  29. Funnie, I withdraw my comment. It was a dumb thing to say.

    Posted by Emma | February 7, 2008, 10:27 pm
  30. Actually, for the sake of google, let me clarify further:

    I don’t want to see Barry Deutch’s false-front pornographic website ever again.

    I don’t want to see Ampersand’s false-front pornographic website ever again.

    I know that Ampersand/Barry Deutch sold his supposedly feminist website to pornographers, thereby profiting from the reliability-rating feminist women granted to him, and I do not want to see any antifeminist or otherwise misognynistic cartoons or artwork by porno-pimp Barry Deutch also known as Amp and Ampersand and whose Alas, A Blog is hosted on a website owned by pornographers.

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:28 pm
  31. dammit, I misspelled the name of racist-pornography profiteer Barry Deutsch! :p

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:31 pm
  32. funnie, I *do* target the lies all of the time, everywhere I can. But it is also important to target the lies in the blogosphere because I am a blogger and am a member of the blogging community.

    I don’t think it started at Alas. From my observation, albeit not a comprehensive or all-inclusive observation, anytime someone brings up Steinem’s article, someone says, “Carol Moseley Braun.” And until now, that I’ve seen, nobody ever challenges it.

    Where the attacks on Steinem are coming from is decades of anti-feminist backlash against radical feminists in particular, including among progressives, and certainly in the GLBTQ movement. Including the transgender movement. Feminism in the university *often* consists primarily of teaching students why the second wave was wrong and why we don’t need women’s studies, we need “gender” studies.

    If you put that together with the project of decentering white feminism (which is a valid project), you end up with white feminism decentered via lies of anti-feminism which people have believed.

    Be that as it may, since when is it okay to publicly trash a woman without checking your goddamn facts.

    Never. It is completely irresponsible. I personally — and all radical feminists — have been lied about so much on the blogosphere, bloggers’ long noses should be keeping them from sitting close enough to their computer screens to read them.

    I mean, hell. I just went back and checked the blog post and comments on Alas, JUST to make sure my facts were correct. You don’t just trash someone and wonder if what you said was true later, and a woman especially.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 10:39 pm
  33. Here is the comments thread at Alas:

    Steinem’s op-ed can be read here.

    From Angry Black Bitch:

    After reading Steinem’s Op-Ed I felt invisible…as if black and woman can’t exist in the same body. I felt undocumented…as if the history of blacks and the history of women have nothing to do with the history of black women.

    When I read “Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).” I felt both attacked and ignored at the same time.

    I think of the women and men in my family who were not extended the protected vote until 1965. I wince at the lack of acknowledgment for the black women of Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery who had to march with their brothers in the 1960s to attain the vote because the suffrage movement abandoned them in a Southern strategy to get the vote in 1920.

    And there it is again…that invisibility; like a brutal weight that I am so bloody tired of carrying.

    When I consider Steinem’s “So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one?” I’m left confused.

    What country does Gloria live in where race barriers are taken seriously? I’d love to know…shit, maybe I’ll move there. But I’m a black woman and this is America where none of my barriers are given more than a token consideration and I’ll present this Op-Ed as exhibit A in that argument.

    From A Woman’s Ecdysis:

    Look, I’m not going to go head to head with Steinem and argue what is most pressing for womyn in America – race or gender. What I do know is that as a US womyn of color living in this country is that the two are so inexplicably interlaced that I resist ANY individual that pitts once against the other, especially a White mainstream feminist. What I find most often, too, is women like Steinem (White liberal women) call gender over race. Let’s rally all the women together once more because we’re all being denied the right to vote and the men of color are making it into the boardroom before any of us are.

    There’s a reason why I use the word gender/ace as one entity. I cannot separate the two.

    More folks posting on this subject: Reappropriate, The Debate Link, Diary of an Anxious Black Woman, Pandagon, Feminist Law Professors, Jack and Jill Politics, Tiny Cat Pants, and Silence Isn’t Golden. And Side Notes and Detours. (If you’ve posted about this, or know of a post about this you think is good, feel free to leave the link in the comments.)

    UPDATE: This isn’t the first time Steinem has discussed race during a presidential election — one of her “top ten” reasons for opposing Ralph Nader was Nader asking an American Indian, Wyona LaDuke, to be his running mate. Steinem bizarrely saw this choice as an anti-Indian move on Nader’s part.

    This entry was posted by Ampersand and is filed under Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics, Race, racism and related issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    17 Responses to “Shorter Gloria Steinem”
    Charles Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 3:20 am
    Something I found funny (and mostly just points out how completely unrepresentative of people of any group the super-elite are, no matter their race or gender) is that Steinem asks us to imagine a woman with Obama’s background and asks us to imagine if she could have been elected to the Senate, much less have made a respectable run for the presidency, with the implicit answer of “of course not.”

    That woman’s name is Carol Mosley-Braun, a lawyer with a child (Obama has two children) who served 8 years in the Illinois legislature (exactly the same as Obama) before being elected to the US senate for a single term (like Obama), and who then ran (with the additional experience of 2 years as ambassador to New Zealand and 3 years as a college professor) a respectable if unsuccessful presidential campaign (as respectable as Biden or Dodd ran this year).

    I don’t think Mosley-Braun’s experience proves anything much about race or gender, but it is a bit funny and a bit embarrassing that Steinem wrote as though Mosley-Braun didn’t exist.

    Only tangentially related, I thought this diary on dailykos about the ways in which Obama is required to be a deracinated candidate very interesting. It seems to me that it relates to what Steinem was writing about in the sense that Clinton is premitted to talk about gender in a way that Obama is not permitted to talk about race, which is an interesting flip side to the degree to which Clinton is openly mistreated by the press in explicitly sexist ways to a degree that Obama is not openly mistreated by the press in explicitly racist ways.

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    Maia Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 4:41 am
    That’s an awesome cartoon. It’s been good that the condemnation of Steinem has been quite swift and universal in the feminist blogsphere, or at least the parts I read. I would have blogged about myself, but I’ve decided that for the rest of 2008 I’m only going to post about electoral politics on Fridays.

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    Kevin Moore Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 8:19 am
    Dude! We did the same cartoon! That’s awesome!

    Well, more specifically, we did different cartoons with slightly different takes on the same issue. But we had the same take on Steinem’s oneupmanship of suffering argument.

    Good one, Charles: I too thought “Carol Mosley Braun, anyone?” I will give Steinem credit for recognizing that had Obama been a black woman, his chances would have been greatly diminished; but Steinem seems to think that the “woman” part is more significant here than the “black” part, utterly dismissing the numerous privileges Hillary Clinton has had access to by virtue of her race and class. Clinton, Obama and Mosley Braun are all exceptions to the main rule that funding and recruitment of politicians at both the local and national levels focuses heavily on white men.

    Oh, and: Had either Obama or Clinton been gay, then what would their chances have been?

    Yet what ultimately unnerves me is that Steinem’s column plays into a larger trend by media elites to pit white women against black men as a war of oppressed classes – the point of my cartoon.

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    RonF Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 10:13 am
    Oh, and: Had either Obama or Clinton been gay, then what would their chances have been?

    Zero. As would their chances have been if they were atheist. In fact, I think the U.S. will elect a gay man as President before it’ll elect an atheist. Certainly there are openly gay politicians at various levels, although none at a State- or nation-wide level that I know of (are there any openly gay Senators or Governors?), but I have no knowledge of any openly atheist politicians at any level. I imagine one could get elected in some constituencies in the country, but it would be harder.

    What’s Steinem’s problem, anyway? Is she trying to put down Obama to help support Clinton? What’s this all about?

    This comment was written by RonF.
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    Kevin Moore Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 10:46 am
    RonF: Not entirely true. Pete Stark is an atheist serving in the U.S. Congress. Granted, he hid that detail from voters until long after he had served his constituents in San Francisco.

    But, again, an exception proving the rule.

    This comment was written by Kevin Moore.
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    Dianne Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 12:15 pm
    Oh, and: Had either Obama or Clinton been gay, then what would their chances have been?

    Depends. Out and gay, none. In the closet, ok, as long as they ran as Republicans on an anti-gay platform. Not that I’m thinking of any examples in particular.

    This comment was written by Dianne.
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    Kevin Moore Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 12:20 pm
    Good one, Dianne, I had forgotten about the closet cases.🙂

    This comment was written by Kevin Moore.
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    Holly Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 12:46 pm
    Yep, there are always tons of closet gays around in political places, and probably even more closet atheists — or at least “I don’t really practice anything and just pay lip service to religion” types.

    As for Steinem… she talks a good game about sexism, unsurprisingly, but she’s completely tone-deaf about race issues, which makes her totally unqualified and inept at trying to compare the two. I like how she does some hand-waving about how it’s not a competition, then basically spouts “racism is taken more seriously than sexism, here are all these sexist problems… I apparently know hardly anything about racism, but does it cause these problems? I don’t think so!”

    I think the topic of how racism and sexism differ IS worth talking about and it’s a shame that Steinem did such a ludicrously bad job of it. It’s noteworthy that these two statements would be considered light-years apart in polite society:

    “I don’t know about voting for Clinton. I’m just not sure a woman president is a good idea… what if she acted like a woman in office?”

    “I don’t know about voting for Obama. I’m just not sure a black president is a good idea… what if he acted like a black guy in office?”

    Analyzing that discrepancy could reveal all sorts of interesting things about how race and gender are perceived and talked about in society. Because there are undoubtedly big differences that you could discuss in a way that doesn’t make women of color vanish, or whine about who has it harder. But she had to go and declare that this means you should vote for Clinton, that Clinton has a harder time, and that racism is taken more seriously. Way to oversimplify an issue into oblivion.

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    Ampersand Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 1:24 pm
    Dude! We did the same cartoon! That’s awesome!
    LOL! Well, I guess it was a pretty obvious cartoon — but your Gloria was better drawn, needless to say.🙂

    Maia, the condemnation of the racism implicit in this op-ed in the feminist blogosphere has been swift, but it hasn’t quite been universal.

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    Eliza Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 1:28 pm
    are there any openly gay Senators or Governors?
    Barney. Frank.

    OK, not a “Senator” or “Governor,” but he is on the “national level,” and has been since 1981. He’s also a Committee Chair.

    This comment was written by Eliza.
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    RonF Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 1:42 pm
    Actually, I voted for the man the first time he was elected to Congress; I lived in his district at the time and he even came over to our fraternity house to solicit our support.

    But I discount Congressmen as national-level or State-level politicians in this context. Not because of a lack of influence at the State or national level, but because we are talking about electability. Only a relatively small group of people vote for a Congressman vs. vote for a Senator or a President. Attributes such as atheism or homosexuality may not matter in an urban district of more liberal cities (such as Boston), but I think it will be a while before either an openly gay or an openly atheist politician will be able to be elected by an entire State or the U. S. as a whole.

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    Stentor Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 3:44 pm
    I fear the oppression olympics angle may be inevitable in the mainstream media (and mainstream blogs like Kos) when the discussion prompt is an election — since ultimately people have to vote for, and the election has to be won by, just one of the black man or the white woman (or the white men). It creates the all-or-nothing, have-to-tally-things-up-and-measure-them-against-each-other mentality.

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    hf Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 4:14 pm
    This seems like an odd summary to me. The cartoon Steinem’s position does not actually contradict itself and in fact seems plausible (though I’m starting to doubt it). Had the real Steinem limited herself to a longer version of this and left out weird claims about suffrage, we’d have no good reason to condemn her.

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    gmc Writes:

    January 10th, 2008 at 5:37 pm
    Andrew Sullivan’s blog on the Atlantic website http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/ has some very good items in support of your point. I have lost two days of my life ranting about the Steinem article and trying to inform everyone I know about her narrow, divisive, gender-trumps-everybody-else’s-pain editorial. I am convinced that this is the Clintons sending out a surrogate to say what they can’t say, though Bill almost said as much in NH.

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    RonF Writes:

    January 11th, 2008 at 10:05 am
    I am convinced that this is the Clintons’ sending out a surrogate to say what they can’t say.

    Wait – you think Gloria Steinem wrote this at the prompting of Hillary or Bill Clinton?

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    The “race vs gender” competition only makes sense when you believe women of color don’t exist. « Our Descent Into Madness Writes:

    January 17th, 2008 at 2:05 pm
    […] amongst the Democratic hopefuls. That is, it’s Harris-Lacewell eloquently explaining why Steinem’s analysis of the Clinton/Obama competition is off-base, unfair, and typical of the worst of white […]

    This comment was written by The “race vs gender” competition only makes sense when you believe women of color don’t exist. « Our Descent Into Madness.
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    WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND… » Blog Archive » Time for “The Talk” — Gloria Steinem’s op-ed raises questions about race, gender and election year media Writes:

    January 28th, 2008 at 3:47 pm
    […] the pride I felt was measured with no small amount of pain. I was one of those who read Gloria’s now infamous New York Times op-ed piece following the Iowa primary where she famously made the case that gender […]

    This comment was written by WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND… » Blog Archive » Time for “The Talk” — Gloria Steinem’s op-ed raises questions about race, gender and election year media.
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    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 10:44 pm
  34. Re what Amp said about Gloria Steinem/Winona LaDuke:

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45c/072.html

    He could have found this as easily as I just did in one second. He preferred to slam Steinem as he did up there.

    Winona LaDuke stood up for Steinem when she got married. They are close friends, and the ten reasons Steinem gave for not supporting Nader did not remotely suggest what Amp says they do. Also, Amp links to Feminist Law Professors as though they agree with him. The blogger he links to does not. Totally disingenuous.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 10:47 pm
  35. So Amp’s roommate Charles was the first one to say “Carol Moseley Braun,” eh? What a fucking shocker. puke.

    That said – I think disliking Steinem’s op-ed to the point of anger is perfectly legitimate FOR WOMEN OF COLOR. Especially given that black women, in particular, might have race-based reasons to be mad at the Clinton campaign’s use of race (which I think is totally valid), it’s not that shocking to me that someone would extend that anger to a Clinton supporter discussing race, particularly in the context of stating that racism is taken more seriously.

    Maybe the reason that we keep disagreeing on this (the importance/usefuless of racism-to-sexism comparisons) is that you don’t think black voters have been treated shabbily by the Clinton campaign? Or that you don’t know what incidents give rise to that impression?

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 10:57 pm
  36. I didn’t know Charles was Amp’s roommate. Figures.

    funnie, I think again, you’re speaking for black women — an impossibility, because black women are not a monolithic entity, including as to issues of race. You aren’t a black woman– you are white. You cannot make statements about how “black women” perceive things/feel/what their anger may be, whatever, it’s just not possible. Nor is it possible for me to do that, and I don’t try and never will try. I am interested in *your* responses to things, but not in yours (or any white woman’s) ideas about what “black women” might think. I have plenty of black women in my own life to whom to turn to find out about that. (And they disagree with one another! Of course they do.)

    I do know the incidents you are probably referring to.

    Having said all of that, nothing justifies the lies about, and attacks on, Gloria Steinem. I don’t want to argue or debate that beyond this point.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 11:04 pm
  37. Sorry, missed this – you had asked it before:

    since when is it okay to publicly trash a woman without checking your goddamn facts.

    It’s not okay. Period.

    Which is why I’m not “apologizing” for anyone who said something untrue about GS & CMB. That’s up to them to do.

    I’m saying:

    1. The first person to say that without checking it is most responsible – those repeating something they’ve heard from several people are much less so.

    2. Extending the benefit of the doubt to women who have the right to be angry = not assuming that they’re intentionally spreading lies about the women, and offering them a low-stakes opportunity to correct their misstatements.

    3. It’s appropriate to hold white men, for-profit outfits (in which I’d include porn-profiting Alas), and large-scale media (in which I’d include Kos) to a considerably higher standard when it comes to trashing women than women of color venting justified frustration at personal slights on more personal (though still political) blogs.

    And the funny thing is – though I think you think I’m attacking you – I think you AGREE with me!!

    Posted by funnie | February 7, 2008, 11:08 pm
  38. And you know, it’s not up to me to decide whether a woman’s anger — white or a woman of color — is valid, etc. The anger of ALL women over oppression and subjugation is valid. That’s not even an issue. I am going to say, though, that no matter how angry somebody is — I get plenty angry — it never justifies attacking another woman, and especially without checking your facts. Other women might disagree, and that’s fine with me, but it will be fine with me from a distance. I became a feminist, first and foremost, to save my own life. To make meaning of the horrific experiences I have had at the hands of men. What helps me to do that, I’m on board with. What holds me back and hinders me from doing that supremely important work — because I’m not getting any younger — I’m not on board with.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 11:13 pm
  39. Extending the benefit of the doubt to women who have the right to be angry = not assuming that they’re intentionally spreading lies about the women, and offering them a low-stakes opportunity to correct their misstatements.

    There are limits to this. There is a do-gooder aspect to this that doesn’t sit well with me, something that feels condescending or patronizing or looking-down-one’s-nose. I expect women to be angry and I expect them not to attack women and I expect them to check their facts, especially about women. I don’t need to be the beneficent doler-outer of low-stakes opportunities to correct misstatements. What I need to do is speak my own truth. That’s all, when you get right down to it.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 11:19 pm
  40. Here’s one of Steinem’s incredibly oppressive ‘sexism tops racism’ statements from the op-ed piece:

    “I’m not advocating a competition for who has it toughest. The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together. That’s why Senators Clinton and Obama have to be careful not to let a healthy debate turn into the kind of hostility that the news media love. Both will need a coalition of outsiders to win a general election. The abolition and suffrage movements progressed when united and were damaged by division; we should remember that. ”

    If we can’t look at the issue and can’t talk about the issue without everyone accusing each other, sometimes even second-hand, then the issue is not going to get resolved. Who do you think is going to resolve it, white guys?

    Posted by Miranda | February 7, 2008, 11:25 pm
  41. What makes the anger at Gloria Steinem fall on deaf ears in my opinion is that there is always a feminist used as the point to attack. It gets old. Extending the courtesy to consider each individual case gets old when the pattern is guaranteed, —beat up on feminists, and they are only white when other women are involved. When men are involved and not trying to score suck up points, any feminist of any colour will do. A lone feminist can beat the drum all day and all night but for some reason certain so called feminists do not get tired of beating up other identified feminist. It is such a racket that men do not have to do a damn thing.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | February 7, 2008, 11:27 pm
  42. I don’t think Funnie’s suggesting that you be the benificent doler-outer of anything. I think she’s suggesting:

    1) Black women bloggers not be equated w/Daily Kos or Ampersand, which I agree with,

    and

    2) That extending the benefit of the doubt is about a) recognizing Black women’s legitimate anger and b) building coalitions.

    I don’t agree that Black women are legitimately angry re: where were feminists when Braun ran? And I think that “question” by Black feminists is problematic for a number of reasons, not least because it’s based on falsehoods. I do agree that extending the benefit of the doubt is good for building coalitions, esp. with Black women who have felt slighted by feminism for a long time. But, in this particular instance regarding Braun, I have a hard time doing it.

    Posted by Emma | February 7, 2008, 11:31 pm
  43. This is from an article a wrote a few years ago that is up on my website, “The Politics of Erasure,” and it seems relevant.

    I had begun by writing about looking for links and articles about radical feminists to include on my site.

    What I did find, in abundance, was disturbing and horrifying, really: open slander, lies, egregious lies, bold-faced lies, relentless defamation of brilliant women who had given all they had and were for the sake of women. I even found counterfeit webpages: pages which appeared at first glance to be the home pages of visible feminist leaders, but which in reality were smear campaigns meant to destroy their reputations and credibility instead. I found page after page, site after site, in which older, respected, brilliant feminist leaders were caricatured, attacked, vilified and lied about, and yet more pages citing to the lies, as though the lies were true. More disturbing was the way internet feminists participated, themselves, in the erasures of great feminist leaders, calling them names, making reference to them as though they were dead or relics of such an antiquated and embarrassing history that they might as well be. Most disturbing of all were the silences, the words that were not spoken, the quotations which did not appear, the references which were not provided, the names which were not credited.

    I might have allowed for the possibility that these erasures were unintentional, the caricaturings born of ignorance, had I not, myself, been witness to so many trashings of brilliant feminists, not only by anti-feminists, but by feminists as well, and not only trashings, but outright, aggressive silencings in the form of the banning of articulate feminist voices from feminist internet venues, bulletin boards, blogs. Particularly resented and despised were – and are — anti-pornography feminists, anti-subordination feminists, radical feminists and separatists, and the older the feminist, the more despised and resented she seemed to be. I have often been astonished by the intensity of these attacks and even more astonished when other feminists observed in silence and said nothing, or joined in themselves. Disagreement, even angry disagreement, is to be expected and even valued, and I am not talking about that. I am talking about egregious attacks intended to cause real harm to feminist women, intended to damage their credibility, ruin their reputations, intended to, as one attacker described it, bring feminists down.

    Then too, if it had happened once or twice, I might have chalked it up to the internet trainwreck phenomenon, just another internet imbroglio, ho hum, that’s how the internet is. In fact, that was how I regarded these silencings, these erasures, as manifestations of the dark side of that last (and most appreciated, by me, anyway) bastion of anarchy that the internet, in fact, is. But over the course of creating this site, I have realized that only the venue is new; that these silencings we witness every day are simply a continuation of the same phenomena which resulted in my inability to find anything at all on giants of the Second Wave, women who are alive, often in good health, who have a record of incredible accomplishments on behalf of women, and yet who have no internet presence at all, who seem to be all but forgotten.

    …The results also extend into internet discourse, where what so often passes for feminism is, in fact, feminism modified, feminism shut up to a certain narrowness, missing the voices and ideas of its most seasoned members and the lessons of its own history

    In another part of the article quoted above, [Kate] Millett writes:

    I cannot get employment. I cannot earn money. Except by selling Christmas trees, one by one, in the cold in Poughkeepsie. I cannot teach and have nothing but farming now. And when physically I can no longer farm, what then? Nothing I write now has any prospect of seeing print. I have no saleable skill, for all my supposed accomplishments. I am unemployable. Frightening, this future.

    Gerda Lerner makes the point that throughout history, women’s educational deprivation and exclusion from the process of making mental constructs has formed the female psyche such that women collude in creating and recreating, generationally, the system which has oppressed them. These exclusions channel women’s thinking narrowly, retard women’s understanding of ourselves as a people, a collective entity, with our own particular history, and result in our wasting time defending ourselves and struggling against one another instead of working collectively to help one another. Especially, our marginalization as women has resulted in a situation in which women must re-invent the wheel from generation to generation.

    Lerner says:

    …the fact that women were denied knowledge of the existence of Women’s History decisively and negatively affected their intellectual development as a group. Women who did not know that others like them had made intellectual contributions to knowledge and to creative thought were overwhelmed by the sense of their own inferiority or, conversely, the sense of the dangers of their daring to be different. Without knowledge of women’s past, no group of women could test their own ideas against those of their equals, those who had come out of similar conditions and similar life situations. Every thinking woman had to argue with the “great man in her head”, instead of being strengthened and encouraged by her foremothers…

    Oppression brings with it the hegemony of the thought and ideas of the dominant; thus women’s oppression has meant that much of their mental product and creation has been lost forever.

    You know, what bothers me about this– we all know how Andrea Dworkin was lied about, and how she is STILL lied about after her death. There is no “first source” to blame for this, there is an entire backlash to blame for this. There is misogyny to blame for this. There is patriarchy to blame. There is male heterosupremacy to blame. When the latest round finds its way into my ears or my incoming links or whatever, I’m going to challenge it. When I get a chance to challenge its institutionalized versions, I’ll challenge those, as well. Wherever I hear, “Andrea Dworkin wasn’t really raped.” Or, “Andrea Dworkin said all sex is rape,” I’m going to challenge it because it’s a lie. And the more times I challenge it, the less likely — if only infinitesimally so — it is to be repeated.

    I’m not going to make some attempt to find out WHY the person who lies about Andrea Dworkin may have good reason to lie, or think she has good reason to lie. Andrea Dworkin did, in fact, say a lot of thing that could understandably piss people off and make them less than careful what they say about her. Nevertheles, I’m going to challenge the lies.

    So I’m not real sure where you’re coming from, funnie, because I know you know this about Dworkin and so many others.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 11:47 pm
  44. Aw Gayle, I’m home sick with a cold and your post made me smile wide before I had to cough some more. Thank you so much for the uplifting words of support.

    Posted by sam | February 7, 2008, 11:49 pm
  45. Except I wasn’t “equating” Kos or Amp with women of color bloggers.

    This is what I said:

    Where were feminists, including Gloria Steinem, when Carol Moseley-Braun ran for President?”

    That’s the latest throw-down, examples of which can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for just a sampling of many. The implication being, of course, that while Gloria Steinem and white feminists in general would speak up on behalf of Hillary Clinton, they could not be bothered with Carol Moseley-Braun.

    I wrote my post to talk specifically about Gloria Steinem, white feminists, and their support, or nonsupport of Carol Moseley Braun.

    I linked to a bunch of examples. Amp’s post consists mostly of quoting bloggers of color.

    The “equating” stuff is yours, funnie. It’s a direction you wanted to go with what I said that I am not interested in going, for a bunch of reasons. It’s a different discussion for a different day.

    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2008, 11:53 pm
  46. Miranda,

    I read that part of Steinem’s op-ed, too, but it contradicted other statements in the piece, like the comparison of voting rights and this: “Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life.”

    I admire Gloria Steinem’s work on behalf of women, but the reality is that ALL of us have biases and, in my view and that of many other women of color, this article illustrated Steinem’s.

    Many of us found her statement about gender trumping race–and that IS what she said–arrogant, offensive and dismissive of those of us who battle both “isms.”

    I read the line about black men getting the vote a half-century before women, and I thought of my grandfather who was not allowed to vote in Mississippi until he was more than 60 years old, and it made me angry. The article made Steinem seem very unaware of her own priviledge.

    Does that make Gloria Steinem a flaming racist? Well, of course not. It just means that, like everyone–white, black and otherwise–she missteps sometimes when it comes to racial sensitivity. She is no less deserving of being called out than anyone else. I don’t think the reaction from feminists of color is an attempt to negate Steinem’s achievements.

    Perhaps we expect too much of each other sometimes. I admit I was hopping mad at Gloria Steinem after reading that op-ed–likely more angry than I would have been at, say, for lack of a better example, Bill O’Reilly. I expect him to be clueless and biased. I expect more of someone who has been at the forefront of progressive politics. Maybe that is unfair.

    Posted by Tami | February 8, 2008, 12:10 am
  47. That extending the benefit of the doubt is about a) recognizing Black women’s legitimate anger and b) building coalitions.

    I don’t agree that Black women are legitimately angry re:

    See, this doesn’t work for me.

    I don’t think any woman is the arbiter of whether or not any other woman’s anger is legitimate, and particularly, when it’s white women deciding whether black women’s anger is legitimate.

    Women’s anger just is. No matter how angry someone is, it’s not right for a woman to harm, attack, or lie about another woman. Really, I’m giving women the benefit of the doubt when I am willing to say precisely that. If I wasn’t willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn’t say anything at all to them.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 12:19 am
  48. The “equating” stuff is yours, funnie. It’s a direction you wanted to go with what I said that I am not interested in going, for a bunch of reasons. It’s a different discussion for a different day.

    That was me, not Funnie. And I think there’s validity to an argument that by posting all of them together, without differentiating between Black women and Amp/DailyKos, you did treat them equivalently, as if they were not any different from each other.

    Especially in light of your next post, also in response to me, where you say:

    I don’t think any woman is the arbiter of whether or not any other woman’s anger is legitimate, and particularly, when it’s white women deciding whether black women’s anger is legitimate.

    it seems that there is good reason to differentiate between Black women’s posts expressing their anger and posts from Amp/DailyKos expressing whatever it is they’re expressing.

    But, I don’t know if I agree with your point anyway. I mean, this whole thread has been about whether criticisms of feminists for “not supporting” Braun are valid. If the criticisms are invalid, wouldn’t the anger based on the lies also be invalid?

    Posted by Emma | February 8, 2008, 12:29 am
  49. I posted all the links together in which the falsehood was perpetuated that Gloria Steinem and “white feminists” did not support Carol Moseley-Braun, whereas they *did* support Hillary Clinton. I posted them because of what they held in common — the perpetuation of the same lies, misinformation.

    funnie introduced the idea of women of color’s anger over the elections as being a possible reason for not checking their facts.

    Then the discussion turned into one of the validity of whomever’s anger. If you go to the top of the page and do a “find on this page” search for the word “anger”, you’ll see what happened.

    There is a global difference between women of color and Amp/DailyKos in every conceivable way. But I’m not talking about that in this thread. I am talking about lies about Gloria Steinem and other “white feminists” who theoretically didn’t support Carol Moseley Braun. (Although another interesting and related discussion would, in fact, be the dynamics there between Amp/DailyKos/white “progressive” and “leftist” men and women of color bloggers vis a vis “white feminists”, but that, again, is a different discussion for a different day.)

    As to the validity or invalidity of anyone’s anger, I’m not going to bother myself with that. The anger just is. I am saying, it doesn’t justify hurting another woman. (And funnie has agreed with that, let me quickly point out.) But then, I never introduced anger into the discussion to begin with. That wasn’t, again, my issue.

    My issue, and I have a bus to catch, so this will probably be it, is, a whole lot of people have told a whole lot of lies about Gloria Steinem, Carole Moseley-Braun, and “white feminist” political support of women of color. That is wrong. I posted to demonstrate that I think it is wrong and to straighten it out and post what is true. Tami showed up here and agreed that she was wrong about that so far as Gloria Steinem, and I appreciate that. I think this thread has accomplished some of what I hoped it would accomplish.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 12:49 am
  50. Tami, I don’t agree that Gloria Steinem said gender trumps race. And I have some different ideas about suffrage, definitely.

    But, I gotta catch my bus, so maybe later on. 🙂

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 12:54 am
  51. funnie introduced the idea of women of color’s anger over the elections as being a possible reason for not checking their facts.

    I think funnie introduced that as a way of saying maybe you should extend those Black women the benefit of the doubt that you shouldn’t extend to DailyKos and Amp who are demonstrably anti-woman and anti-feminist. Maybe, unlike DailyKos and Amp, Black women are not acting out of malice towards women or feminism by saying that. Maybe, unlike DailyKos and Amp, Black women are motivated by their own anger at “white” feminism. I think that’s a valid point to make, that women should treat women differently, even in this instance. Because, with Black women, it’s possible and likely that they’re not acting from the same destructive anti-woman motives as DailyKos and Amp.

    Of course, if motives aren’t important to you, you’re not going to agree with this. But, at least you could acknowledge that.

    Then the discussion turned into one of the validity of whomever’s anger.

    Right, I brought that up to say that in this case I don’t think Black women’s anger is justified because it’s based on a falsehood. I get that you don’t agree with that, and in a real way I agree with the point you’re making about anger just is. But it’s my point about unjustified anger, not Funnie’s.

    There is a global difference between women of color and Amp/DailyKos in every conceivable way. But I’m not talking about that in this thread. I am talking about lies about Gloria Steinem and other “white feminists” who theoretically didn’t support Carol Moseley Braun.

    So, let me ask you this: in regards to the Steinem/Braun lie, do you think that the Black women who told it are the same, in the same position, as DailyKos and Amp who also told it?

    My issue, and I have a bus to catch, so this will probably be it, is, a whole lot of people have told a whole lot of lies about Gloria Steinem, Carole Moseley-Braun, and “white feminist” political support of women of color. That is wrong. I posted to demonstrate that I think it is wrong and to straighten it out and post what is true.

    Right, but I think Funnie’s point was that you accused Black women of acting from evil motives, i.e. a desire to trash Steinem and perpetuate woman hating, rather than justifiable (my word) anger.

    Let me just ask you straight out: do you think the Black women who posted the Steinem/Braun lie were doing it to discredit and erase the work of feminist leaders like Gloria Steinem or that it was woman-hating which is masquerading…as feminism or that they have such skewed and distorted ideas about Gloria Steinem, they just assumed the worst about her?

    Posted by Emma | February 8, 2008, 1:30 am
  52. “Sorry Gayle. Stormyblog will probably remain an ex-parrot.
    Besides, I like making a nuisance of myself on other blogs! ;)”

    That’s cool. Nice to see you around, anyway.
    🙂

    Posted by Gayle | February 8, 2008, 1:33 am
  53. and that IS what she said–arrogant, offensive and dismissive of those of us who battle both “isms.”

    I cannot pretend to have experience in battling both isms, and I do not.

    Do you agree with the first part of the piece where she postulates if Obama was female, then his campaign would be much harder, if not non-existant?

    Morgan’s statement “Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life” directly follows that paragraph, and my impression was that she meant that a Black female, in otherwise the same life situation as Obama, would have no shot at a definite, mainstream media-supported campaign, due to gender.

    Posted by Miranda | February 8, 2008, 3:17 am
  54. Although, again, I can’t stand doing line-by-line responses, I’m going to in this case because I think it’s important to.

    emma quoting me, womensspace funnie introduced the idea of women of color’s anger over the elections as being a possible reason for not checking their facts.

    Emma: I think funnie introduced that as a way of saying maybe you should extend those Black women the benefit of the doubt that you shouldn’t extend to DailyKos and Amp who are demonstrably anti-woman and anti-feminist.
    Maybe, unlike DailyKos and Amp, Black women are not acting out of malice towards women or feminism by saying that. Maybe, unlike DailyKos and Amp, Black women are motivated by their own anger at “white” feminism. I think that’s a valid point to make, that women should treat women differently, even in this instance. Because, with Black women, it’s possible and likely that they’re not acting from the same destructive anti-woman motives as DailyKos and Amp.

    Of course, if motives aren’t important to you, you’re not going to agree with this. But, at least you could acknowledge that.

    Motives are important, I agree. But we can never know them, really. It’s kind of useless to speculate about them. Even if we get it right, the person can say, no, no, you’re 1000 percent wrong! And many times people aren’t fully aware of their own motives.

    In posting those links, I was trying to show the across-the-boardness of what was being said about Gloria Steinem, “white feminists”, and Carol Moseley Braun, i.e., that we have DailyKos, a white man, doing it, and Ampersand/Alas a Blog, a white man, doing it, and Feminist Reprise, a white radical feminist doing it, and Jezebel, a white progressive woman, not necessarily a feminist, doing it, and commenters in all their threads, mostly white men, doing it (because I included commentariat, thanks Twisty, in my selection), and women of color doing it.

    I do think that women of color bloggers are not situated similarly with white bloggers, whether male or female, because they are women of color(!). I think all of the bloggers I listed are mad at “white feminists,” for varying reasons which they all think are just. I think white male bloggers’ anger at white feminists is actually plain old misogyny and woman hating (of course, they would say otherwise). I think Feminist Reprise’s anger at “white feminists” is complicated and layered and is not something to get into here, since FR isn’t part of this conversation. I think Jezebel is sort of an anti-feminist who just doesn’t give a shit about feminists. I think women of color feminists are mad at white feminists for many reasons, some of which are just, and some of which are based on untruths and are hence unjust.

    I don’t think that in a series of links intended to show the across-the-boardness of the lies about Gloria Steinem and “white feminism,” that it was necessary to treat women of color bloggers differently. My point was, this was across the board. The differently-situatedness of women of color bloggers is a different issue, but an issue funnie wanted to introduce and discuss.

    I realize I should have made this point earlier, but believe it or not I was really busy at work today and was posting between emergencies and fire-fighting.

    Emma, quoting meThen the discussion turned into one of the validity of whomever’s anger.

    Emma: Right, I brought that up to say that in this case I don’t think Black women’s anger is justified because it’s based on a falsehood. I get that you don’t agree with that, and in a real way I agree with the point you’re making about anger just is. But it’s my point about unjustified anger, not Funnie’s.

    Yeah, I think anger just is. At the same time, I think who we turn our anger on is a different subject entirely, how we handle our anger. I think most feminist women are angry, justifiably, understandably so, and that it is easy, and comparatively safe to turn our anger on other women, and I’m talking about all of us now, women of all races, all backgrounds. I think “white feminists” are absolutely the easiest target of all, far easier than white men, however “progressive,” and that’s because we won’t really argue or fight back, and whoever gets angry at us will get plenty of support. I think that misplaced anger is always destructive, that targeting other women — especially by name, publicly, whether they are public figures or not — is always destructive. We have to get better and better, I think, at recognizing who has actually harmed us and in learning how to use the anger we have more productively.

    Maybe it seems like I’m straining out gnats, but I don’t think I am. I think feminist women’s misidrected anger is a huge problem, and that it won’t be solved by attempting to parse out which woman’s anger is justifiable and which woman’s isn’t. ALL women’s anger is eminently justifiable and each woman is entitled to her own. Where we point our anger is something different. By now I’ve seen so, so much of the way misplaced, misdirected anger can absolutely destroy women’s communities, feminist communities. The anger wasn’t wrong– it was justified, always. It’s just that the targets were wrong. The way the anger was handled was wrong.

    Emma, quoting me There is a global difference between women of color and Amp/DailyKos in every conceivable way. But I’m not talking about that in this thread. I am talking about lies about Gloria Steinem and other “white feminists” who theoretically didn’t support Carol Moseley Braun.

    EmmaSo, let me ask you this: in regards to the Steinem/Braun lie, do you think that the Black women who told it are the same, in the same position, as DailyKos and Amp who also told it?

    No.

    Emma, quoting meMy issue, and I have a bus to catch, so this will probably be it, is, a whole lot of people have told a whole lot of lies about Gloria Steinem, Carole Moseley-Braun, and “white feminist” political support of women of color. That is wrong. I posted to demonstrate that I think it is wrong and to straighten it out and post what is true.

    Emma: Right, but I think Funnie’s point was that you accused Black women of acting from evil motives, i.e. a desire to trash Steinem and perpetuate woman hating, rather than justifiable (my word) anger.

    Let me just ask you straight out: do you think the Black women who posted the Steinem/Braun lie were doing it to discredit and erase the work of feminist leaders like Gloria Steinem or that it was woman-hating which is masquerading…as feminism or that they have such skewed and distorted ideas about Gloria Steinem, they just assumed the worst about her?

    I think some of the women I linked to who posted the Steinem/Braun lie, not just women of color, the white women too, were likely doing all of the above. That’s my opinion, but it is an educated opinion, based on much, much experience, not only online, but in all sorts of other venues in real life, over many, many years of interacting with women of all races and based on having read some of the women’s posts over many years (not Tami’s, want to say that since I know she’s here reading!). I can’t prove this is true though, of course. But I think when we see a willingness to post what isn’t true about a woman, without checking the facts, it’s likely some of what you listed there is operating.

    There’s a lot of free-floating animosity towards “white feminists” right now. Some is deserved, most is not and is based on falsehoods like the Gloria Steinem/Carol Moseley Braun falsehood, many of them perpetuated by white men.

    I have a few more things to say but will say them to you in an e-mail.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 4:53 am
  55. Actually, the answer is very simple: if you have historical information about Gloria Steinem supporting Mosley-Braun, and you’re talking about historical events over 10 years old, then you simply have people who don’t know the history.

    It’s easy for women to not get their own past and history right because we have so little access to these stories.

    Think Kenndy assassination told millions of times on T.V. vs. the number of times women’s presidental and senate campaigns are reported on way after the fact.

    If you are a black woman, your history and the history of white women working with black women is simply erased almost right after it happens.

    We don’t even know who our leaders really are until the bios are finally published after they have died. You’ll be shocked to find out who Audre Lorde really was for example, when you read her biography. Robin Morgan’s autobiography really doesn’t tell much about who Gloria Steinem really is– because she’s still alive.

    It’s easy to dis white feminist’s solidarity with black feminists because this subject is so little written about or filmed.

    Men’s history is reported by so many sources so endlessly, that there is no accurate reporting possible for most of feminist herstory.

    That’s why we have these fights. Young women don’t give a damn about what the older women have actually done, and there were a lot of events in women’s herstory that weren’t even filmed at all.

    Remember, men record their events 1000 times more than women are able to– think D-Day — veterans make sure they interview every living D-Day veteran, and it is funded by the department of defence.

    The real challenge is to honor all women’s anger, but also women have to attack the real enemies — Men. If you haven’t had the satisfaction of bashing at least one man and giving him a bloody nose for a sexist womanhating comment, then you should be careful when you hold women’s feet to the fire, when the facts of any event have long been forgotten or covered up or simply lost — as most women’s history always is.

    It’s about patriarchal erasure women! Steinem did support Moseley-Braun and NOW did back her! How soon we forget everything!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 8, 2008, 5:17 am
  56. Well, I guess the question is, do you think Black feminists told a lie or got a fact wrong. Funnie suggested that you give them the benefit of the doubt and post as if they got the fact wrong, rather than told a lie. And give them a chance to fix the error.

    It’s not a benefit of the doubt I’d give to DK or Amp. But is there value in giving it to other feminists?

    Posted by Emma | February 8, 2008, 6:09 am
  57. I don’t know whether women of color feminists, or white feminists, or the white men I linked to told a lie or got the fact wrong.

    There’s value in giving the benefit of the doubt to other feminists, yes. And as I said up there somewhere, just calling out the lies *is* giving the benefit of the doubt (thanks for that insight Nanette, and I will come back and make that a link). If you think someone is completely hopeless, you don’t bother to challenge them.

    Once you’ve given the benefit of the doubt once, twice, several times, though, and found out someone is not really interested in what is true, you stop giving the benefit of the doubt, I think, unless you are a masochist. Then perhaps you challenge what that person says because you aren’t willing to let bad lies about good women go unchallenged.

    There’s some history here for sure that I’m aware of, and others who regularly comment here are aware of, that not everybody who reads here is aware of. It factors into what I (and others) say. But I think it factors in in a way that makes what I (and others) say more useful to those reading, instead of less useful. I’m speaking out of my own experiences, in other words, and what I’ve learned from them.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 6:19 am
  58. I still think we should be able to get our own herstory right.
    We can find out who did or did not publicaly back a particular candidate, for example.

    I think to be fair, we can say that white feminists often don’t know a thing about the constraints black feminists are under.
    e.g. a lot of leading black feminists remain closeted lesbians, for example. (I won’t out them, because I still believe in a lesbian code of silence vis-a-vis other lesbians who could be seriously harmed by being names here).

    It does take a long time to get thing right historically, so I don’t blame anyone for being off now and then. It’s why we are working together to get the information we need, and build on the accomplishments of the past to move forward today. It’s one of the reasons I’m here and writing.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 8, 2008, 8:12 am
  59. I am rushing off to work, but I remembered this great conversation between Gloria Steinem and Melissa Harris Lacewell, sponsored by Democracy NOW. It tool place following Steinem’s op-ed. They cover some of the issues we are discussing here. Check it out:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/14/race_and_gender_in_presidential_politics

    Posted by Tami | February 8, 2008, 12:19 pm
  60. Miranda–Yes, I agree with what Steinem said about Obama’s campaign being different if he were a woman, but we disagree on why. I believe that Obama would not have the support that he now enjoys if he were the fictional BLACK woman Steinem described in her op-ed. I think the example Steinem gave is not a good one to illustrate how gender changes things, because for women of color our race cannot be separated from our gender. We just are both. I think that Hillary Clinton would also not enjoy the same level of success if she were a black woman. Maybe a better example would have been, would Hillary Clinton enjoy more support and less criticism if she were a man. The answer to that is emphatically “Yes!”

    I’m a little uncomfortable with the notion that some black feminists are angry with white feminists because we simply don’t know the history of our foremothers working together. Many of us do know how second wave women of all races worked together. We have also heard from second wave women of color how they sometimes felt marginalized within the women’s movement. We also have our own personal experiences.

    As I think more about it, the whole narrative of “black feminists are angry at white feminists and are out to destroy the records of second wave icons” is untrue and divisive. I am a black woman who believes in the equality of women–all women of all races. I know there are women of all races who have my back when it comes to sexism. I also know that being a feminist does not make you immune to having racial prejudices. Sometimes, a white sister demonstrates a biases regarding race and that makes me angry–at that person, at her actions, not every white feminist on earth.

    I think a lot of black bloggers are trying to make a point that too many white feminists–not all and not necessarily most–have displayed loyalty to Hillary Clinton, because not only is she a woman, but she is a woman who looks like the majority. And it is a loyalty that was not extended across the board to black female candidates like Carol Moseley Braun. In making that point, and adding a dash of hyperbole, many of us failed to check the fact that Gloria Steinem DID support Braun. But that does not make the larger point invalid.

    Many of you are likely hurt when you hear black feminists seemingly attack white feminists as a whole for being dismissive of black women. Many of us are hurt when white feminists react to black women pointing out bias by telling us we are flat out wrong and not well versed in the history of feminism. What is good is discussions like these that allow us to talk it out. Though, I am certainly no spokesperson for black women everywhere.

    Posted by Tami | February 8, 2008, 12:58 pm
  61. WOC who are feminists will get lots and lots of brownie points for trashing white feminists. They get ’em from white men, black men, white women and black women.

    All feminists do not act with integrity all the time. We know this from painful experience.

    These two facts must be taken into consideration when doing all these “calculations”.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 8, 2008, 1:24 pm
  62. Tami, I’ve seen the Steinem-Lacewell-Harris discussion (watched the youtube and read it) and I was horribly disturbed by it. I thought it was a really, really unfortunate “discussion.” And I was pretty discouraged by how well it was received. Argh.

    I don’t know if you’re responding to me there as well as Miranda, Tami, but what I think is, I think some women of color feminists do indeed know a lot about second wave history and the way women of color worked together with white feminists, but in some cases, it doesn’t really matter to them, something like, they just don’t really care, at this point, *what* happens to white feminists or to the history of white feminism/feminists. (I am not accusing you of this, I am reporting what I have observed. You obviously are not this way or you wouldn’t be here participating in this discussion.) I just think we may be at a scorched earth kind of moment where what might be or might have been true about the white second wave just doesn’t really matter. Alienation gets people to that point. I don’t think white feminists are primarily responsible for that alienation. I think, primarily, white men are. I don’t think women of color feminists, in general, are necessarily out to destroy white feminist icons, but my experience is, some don’t care whether white feminist icons *are* destroyed, the underlying or possibly operating theory being that whatever works to “decenter” white feminism — including destroying white feminist icons of dismissing/ignoring second wave history or kicking it to the curb, basically — makes things better for woman of color feminism and women of color in general.

    Here’s a recent example from my sojourns through the feminist blogosphere. Someone (not me, someone comparatively unknown to me) had taken a lot of time to post references, citations, and extensive information about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony refuting the prevailing spin that these women were “racists” (another example of the erasure of what some call “white feminist” history.)

    This was the response from a black woman, a womanist:

    Oh yeah, Anthony and Stanton can kiss my ass. I hope those two racists are still rolling in their graves. It got to “this” because women decided to start asserting their right to be self-defining. We no longer need the words of dead white women to tell us who we are and what we’re entitled to.

    Again, this is just scorched earth. It’s, “I don’t care what is true about “white feminism,” “white feminists”, second wave history, and I don’t care what’s true. I don’t really want to be bothered with the truth, so don’t even tell me about it.” Because it *is* easier to just dismiss the work of “white feminists” often times than it is to grapple with the complexities of it, the truth of it, place it in its historical context, and again, you will get a lot of support *in* dismissing it.

    It’s not only women of color feminists who I think are scorched earth in this way, I think many white “sex positive” feminists are, too. They don’t *care* what the truth is about the anti-pornography movement, the work against rape, domestic violence, prostitution, objectification, fascist beauty standards, that the second wave did, what is important to them is to *decenter* white second wave radical feminism in the interests of their own pro-pornography, prostitution-as-empowering, nothing-wrong-with-patriarchal-beauty-standards perspectives, and so there is an interest in painting the second wave and “white feminists” with this hugely negative and dismissive broad brush and to participate in the erasure that is already in progress on the part of patriarchy just in general. You can (and I have) provide tremendous amounts of information about second wave “white radical feminists” that refutes these claims that they were racist or thought all sex was rape or were cultural imperialists or that the second wave *was* even all white (it wasn’t) or whatever, and many in the “sex positive” contingent (mostly white) will ignore what you say, dismiss it, and go right back to promulgating their lies. Some of us have seen this going on forever now.

    It’s as though the “decentering” of a certain *idea* of white feminism is what is paramount. Not concern for what is true, for women’s history, for what is real, for what really happened. I don’t think this is true across the board of course, there are many exceptions, but all of us who have been around a while have seen it, the lies about Dworkin, et al, the lies about Stanton and Susan B. and “white feminists,” and have watched as someone, or maybe we, took time to present the facts, documented, with references and citations, and had it ignored, the lies repeated immediately again the next day by someone who simply preferred them. I think that’s deliberate. I think it is justified on the basis that second wave “white feminists” and “radical feminists” *should* be dismissed and forgotten.

    I don’t think it’s divisive to offer what I have observed. I think it’s divisive for anyone to attempt to erase or dismiss any part of women’s history, no matter who the women are. Reporting that erasure is not what is divisive, in other words.

    And I’ll agree with Mary, but I’ll add, white feminists, and white men and men of color feminists and anti-feminists, and all people everywhere (!) will, right now, get lots of brownie points for trashing white feminists. That’s what I’m saying here. One really quick way to get yourself some allies and some attention in the blogosphere is to trash “white feminists” so called. Who is responsible for this, ultimately? Mostly white men. Which is why it’s so disgusting when white men attempt to present as some ally to woman of color feminists by participating in this trashing of “white feminists.” I mean, of *course* it is in white men’s best interests to “decenter” “white feminism”. !!

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 2:22 pm
  63. Heads up.

    I don’t want the kind of discussion here that we had yesterday. I don’t have time to moderate it, I’m busy at work right now, and I just don’t want to do the untangling kinds of things I had to do yesterday because of the way the discussion went.

    If comments in the mod queue evidence not careful enough reading, reading in of things nobody has said, not taking account of what people have been very careful to say, not paying attention to caveats and qualifications, I’m not going to approve those posts.

    If you’re here to straighten women out because you think you’ve got it right and everyone else is wrong — or if that’s how you come across — I’m not going to approve those posts either.

    If you want to participate in the thread, participate respectfully and thoughtfully. If you can’t participate respectfully and thoughtfully, then please don’t participate.

    This is my blog, and one reason I started it is, I don’t like the kind of trainwrecks that characterize other venues. I won’t host them here. I just don’t have time, or energy or inclination to.

    Thanks.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 2:46 pm
  64. Heart,

    You’re right. Some black feminists do not care about white feminists or the ways that they have worked together on behalf of all women. I just want to make sure the folks here know that it isn’t all, or even most black feminists. Similarly, black feminists need to know that one incident of unwitting bias, or even a few cases of “witting” bias, does not equate to all white feminists being the enemy. We both need to know that painting each other with too broad a brush–and I am just as guilty of this as anyone, the blogosphere seems to encourage hyperbole and ranting–helps no one.

    When you get a chance, check out my e-mail to you.

    Okay, I am done now. I’m supposed to be working.

    Posted by Tami | February 8, 2008, 3:20 pm
  65. I think we have a combination of several challenges. Challenge one, don’t assume that white women actually include or work hard to make this happen in majority white groups. It doesn’t happen. Black women are forced to “adapt” to white women’s groups all the time. This is annoying, just as I am annoyed that straight women expect me to adapt to them all the time.

    We can acknowledge that white feminism has its blind spots, and its inconsistencies. That is a given.

    We can also acknowledge that we have a hard time getting coverage of women’s political histories. You don’t hear feminism and its history talked about constantly on T.V., because men are afraid to deal with it period.

    So without the history being honored, as I’ve said before, by huge mainstream institutions, we are left to our own devices here.

    What the source of many problems are is the feeling of being excluded, which is quite real. You can feel neglect, which is what black women report in dealing with white feminists. This is not the end of the world, but it is very valid. I don’t ever hear much lip service even on this point.

    One leader of a white women’s group once told me that she wanted more diversity in the group. “No you don’t,” I said. She looked at me in shock. “You’d have to change a lot of what you were doing to achieve diversity and you as the leader and founder aren’t going to want this change.” I often believe that diversity is not very possible in a lot of cases.

    I base this on my experience in dealing with straight women as a lesbian. Since I actually dislike straight social norms, and don’t really have much patience with them anymore, I don’t place high hopes with straight white women’s groups.

    We just have to be honest about these things and then try to do whatever work we feel able to do.

    Somehow, I think when the basics were taken care of, the higher level fight for equality simply was harder. You could be a young feminist, but then over the years you gradually succeeded in business. Now you work for aerospace companies, and you get a few promotions… then you don’t fight hard for feminist issues. Where once you were discriminated against, and couldn’t get hired in the first place, now you are getting entry level jobs and middle management a lot easier. Just like young blacks no longer are told where to sit on buses. You can eat lunch with white people, and ride the bus with them, but your boss doesn’t invite you to his private dinner parties ever.

    See how it all works? That’s where the anger comes from, this silent exclusion. Every feminist deals with this, but the level of anger shifts based on where you are located socially.

    It’s why we have these internet fights I think, because many of us have gotten to the boiling point and we won’t put up with anything anymore. The problem is, women attack each other, and this may be because we won’t attack men. And we should be going after them night and day, and putting them on the defensive on talk radio etc., but we don’t.

    Even on woman hating talk radio, other women voluntarily call in to tell men “oh you’re right!” It’s weird, but I hear women calling in all the time agreeing with the woman hatred.

    On feminist blogs, women are finally telling out their anger, that they keep so hidden out in the world. Or they may discover that they actually have anger… another issue.

    So it’s best to get facts right, but there are feelings of exclusion that are as real as facts, and this is where the arguments come from a lot of the time.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 8, 2008, 6:35 pm
  66. Satsuma,

    Great insights. Thanks.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 8, 2008, 6:56 pm
  67. We can acknowledge that white feminism has its blind spots, and its inconsistencies. That is a given.

    Yeah, so true. It’s a foregone conclusion, an a priori.

    Re diversity, the thing is, even if white feminists do want it (which you’re right, usually white feminists don’t, even when they say they do, because they don’t realize what it means, actually), it doesn’t happen because this “diversity” includes a lot of bullshit that is too aggravating for women of color (or lesbians or whatever kind of diversity we’re talking about) to have to deal with, so it just doesn’t seem worth it. So they (understandably) say screw it, and sometimes they say, forget that, not going to try that again any time soon.

    If white feminists, and heteronormativity are decentered, on the other hand, or even just destabilized, diversity is going to be the result. In order to get anything done, move forward, white feminists, straight feminists, will have to buckle down and get with the non-white-heterosupremacist program and figure things out for themselves. So, destabilizing and decentering white heteronormativity is good strategy.

    The irony is that the best way for white heterosupremacist feminisms to be decentered/destabilized is for all feminists (and all people everywhere) to be scrupulously honest and completely committed to *accurately* representing and recording feminist/women’s history. We know all people everywhere won’t be, so feminists must be. When, as women, we see and face up to the truth of our history — what it really was — and the realities of who our leaders really were in all their complexities and humanity, all the mistakes, all the stuff that was down and dirty no matter who the players were, only then are we equipped to actually *learn* from the mistakes of our history and it’s messed up chapters instead of repeating them over and over ad absurdum, which is what happens when care isn’t taken to get our facts straight.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 7:01 pm
  68. Tami, got your e-mail, responded, very excited!

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 8:04 pm
  69. I think a lot of black bloggers are trying to make a point that too many white feminists–not all and not necessarily most–have displayed loyalty to Hillary Clinton, because not only is she a woman, but she is a woman who looks like the majority. And it is a loyalty that was not extended across the board to black female candidates like Carol Moseley Braun. In making that point, and adding a dash of hyperbole, many of us failed to check the fact that Gloria Steinem DID support Braun. But that does not make the larger point invalid.

    Prove that loyalty was not extended to Carol Moseley Braun by white feminists. Senator Braun announced her withdrawal from the campaign in January 15, 2004. She was never in a caucus, she was never in a primary, nobody ever got the chance to vote for her. Where, exactly, were women supposed to extend their loyalty to Senator Braun?

    In any event, the NOW/PAC endorsed her for President. Steinem worked on her campaign. The National Women’s Political Caucus endorsed her. The White House Project supported her. Eleanor Smeal and the Feminist Majority backed her.

    Senator Braun was elected to the Senate in 1992 and she was elected after beating an incumbent Democratic male senator, Alan Dixon, in the primary. The NY Times reported:

    With little money and few powerful endorsements, Ms. Braun, who is 44 years old, quietly took the nomination with a coalition of blacks and women as Senator Dixon and a third candidate, Alfred Hofeld, a personal injury lawyer, split the white male vote. As recently as two weeks ago, polls showed her far behind Mr. Dixon.

    It also reported that her victory was fueled in part by women’s anger over the Senate’s treatment of Anita Hill and Dixon’s yes vote for Clarence Thomas.

    When the won the general election, the NY Times again noted women’s support of her as a key factor:

    The symbolism of her campaign combined with an army of angry women voters, help from the strength of Mr. Clinton in downstate Illinois and her opponent’s comparative obscurity helped her overcome major problems in a campaign widely considered unfocused and disorganized.

    So, again, find me the proof for your “larger point”.

    Posted by Emma | February 8, 2008, 9:41 pm
  70. Nanette’s Benefit of the Doubt Post that I referred to up there a ways.

    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2008, 10:29 pm
  71. Emma has some good evidence on the Moseley-Braun issue.
    I think sometimes leaders of organizations can do things that rank and file people usually don’t. For example, Steinem might have been front and center supporting Braun, but average white women said really stupid things about her. Things like, “oh, she has the hyphenated name… she’s a third rate hack….” yeah, I heard this said about her with my own two little ears back in 1992.

    I think Heart is right on about facts, but so much of this stuff is very hard to document.

    On a radio call in show today (Black men hosting with black male guests) a black woman called in and said she was treated badly at the voting place by a white woman working there. The black host, asked her how many white people there actually were nice to her as opposed to the one bad white woman.

    When you are the minority, just one insult can make you really really mad. It’s hard to forget an insult, and it’s hard to detect a genuine kindness.

    This plays out politically, but it is actually deeply rooted in the thousands of little personal encounters.

    I sometimes feel it is unfortunate, because an innocent person walks in the door, and whamm-ooo, we get mad. We fail to give a good person a chance because we have never experienced widespread goodness–

    This is where we need to be very honest about the personal and the political. We often don’t provide enough space or silence to let the different ideas really come out in the open.

    Will all feminists be 100% honest about everything? I believe we can achieve a very high degree of honesty, but I also know that radical groups attract their fair share of socio-paths, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of this out in movement work.

    We also don’t know women’s histories very well — just ordinary women’s true stories. We have to separate how we can get our truths out there, and weed out the patriarchal habitual lie telling machine that has been forced on women. Just as the black lie telling machine has been forced on black people. E.G. “Why didn’t Sally Hemmings run away from Thomas Jefferson when she was in France with him?” Well what do we know about Sally Hemmings resources at that time in 18th century France? We don’t know much.

    I’m using this as an example, because white men could and have said, “Oh, then she must have “really” loved Jefferson.”

    The truth is we don’t know how people are feeling most of the time. We don’t know and we don’t ask and really care.

    What would happen if we really cared? I think this might be easier in person, but harder on the Internet.

    HEART SAYS:
    “it doesn’t happen because this “diversity” includes a lot of bullshit that is too aggravating for women of color (or lesbians or whatever kind of diversity we’re talking about) to have to deal with, so it just doesn’t seem worth it. So they (understandably) say screw it, and sometimes they say, forget that, not going to try that again any time soon.”

    If white feminists, and heteronormativity are decentered, on the other hand, or even just destabilized, diversity is going to be the result. In order to get anything done, move forward, white feminists, straight feminists, will have to buckle down and get with the non-white-heterosupremacist program and figure things out for themselves. So, destabilizing and decentering white heteronormativity is good strategy.”

    “The irony is that the best way for white heterosupremacist feminisms to be decentered/destabilized is for all feminists (and all people everywhere) to be scrupulously honest….”

    This would be the blueprint for succeeding at all of this.

    I’m not sure I know what “decentering” means — taking away from central assumed notions? Knocking off center?

    If we took heteronormativity out of the center of things, what would women act like? And if white women don’t really mean anything more than “add black women or lesbians and stirr” then we aren’t doing anything much differently from the boys in weakness. (Sonia Johnson’s phrase).

    And then, we minorities within minorities make all kinds of assumptions too– tempting, hard to shake, stubborn assumptions. I won’t list because fights will start🙂

    This is really hard work, and I’m glad we’re trying to do this here.

    Thanks everyone for trying so hard! It’s a delight to read everything on this posting board. Spider-web-thread?

    Or as my partner once said: “Every spider knows how to build webs to catch every kind of insect.” Grasshopper take the stone from my hand…🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | February 8, 2008, 11:18 pm
  72. Hi Heart,

    I just read this and had to respond. I wrote a post Steinem & Jong vs. me & Paglia? about the subject of race and gender.

    It sort of reminds of what happened between Douglas and Anthony during the passage of the 15th amendment.

    Jackie

    Posted by Bahesmama | February 14, 2008, 2:55 am
  73. Yeah, Bahesmama, I agree– this is another moment like that moment in which Frederick Douglass threw in his lot with universal male suffrage. Perhaps we can learn something from what happened then — by studying, reading all of the many different perspectives, the words of the women and the men who were present, their testimony, their witness of what happened — and maybe we can avoid repeating the sad history which has haunted feminism and the Civil Rights movement until this day, which is casting its shadow over this election.

    Great post, by the way, as always.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 14, 2008, 4:59 am
  74. You know, I debated returning to this thread and bringing up the Jong piece, which I found wildly offensive.

    Jong writes:

    Or Oprah who forgets she wasn’t always Oprah — I knew her when she had two names. She was always really smart, but she used to identify with women. And now she’s joined the Obamarama. I get it. I understand. People want their own color in the White House (pun intended). And nobody said Barack wasn’t brilliant.

    This reads as if Jong is castigating Winfrey for not dancing with the white women who brung her. Sort of “after all we’ve done for you.”

    As for me: I am supporting Barack Obama now, after first backing John Edwards. It is a choice I made after studying the platforms of all candidates, not because I want “my own color in the White House.” I will absolutely support Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination.

    I see Oprah’s decision to support Obama as a personal choice, like mine, not a signal that she no longer identifies with women, or that she has chosen her blackness over her femaleness.

    It is interesting that the popular narrative now is that black people are voting for Obama simply because he is black. A few short months ago, Hillary Clinton held most of the black following. Heading into South Carolina, black women were polling as die-hard Clinton supporters. This was even held up by some black men as yet more evidence of black women’s non-support of the black male. Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.

    The level of sexism and racism in this presidential race–from people who should absolutely know better–really worries me. It is interesting, at a time when we have come far enough to have the Dem frontrunners be a woman and an African American, that very fact can bring up so much ugliness, demonstrating how far we haven’t come.

    Posted by Tami | February 14, 2008, 10:55 pm
  75. Not wanting to diss a woman, but honestly, if there’s a second wave feminist I could never abide — and she is one I did read when I was at the UW in the early 70s, though I was not really a feminist then, I was on the anti-war/peace movement side — it’s Erica Jong. Some things do not change.

    Posted by womensspace | February 14, 2008, 11:11 pm

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