Trump or Clinton? Sanders would be my choice, and I’m not that enthusiastic about him as POTUS either, but I do empathize with him and his politics. Is there a special place in hell for me Ms. Albright? Or am I a silly millennial chasing after boys Ms. Steinem?
I declare I’m a Gen X woman who is supremely disappointed in Baby Boomer and Gen X feminists who have lost their damn minds by trying to “Femisplain” me into voting for Hillary just because she’s a woman. I find this theory of solidarity ridiculous, it’s like telling me that I should support Justice Thomas’ decisions just because we share the same skin color.
Rewind to 1999. I had the highest test scores coming out of my MOS school in the Marine Corps. The teachers of my class got together, “recalculated” the grade weighting of our tests and quizzes so mathematically I ended up with a class average hundredths of a point behind a man. I was upset for a minute. It was unfair, and I felt cheated. I said nothing, and I let it go.
I ran a 5k on February 20th, 2016. According to the race results, I had the fastest time in my age group. I was awarded the second place medal by the race organizers. Apparently a runner without a time chip was allowed to enter her time manually, and she claimed to have finished a few seconds ahead of me. I’m not sure if she did or not. I was upset for a minute. It was unfair, and I felt cheated. The purpose of having timing chips is to ensure that the race is fair, and normally runners without chips are not qualified for race awards. I said nothing, and I let it go. It was not the first time something like this has happened to me, nor will it be the last.
I feel like Bernie Sanders. He won the New Hampshire primary, but lost most of the delegates. Do you see where this post is going? These are micro parables, but pertinent. In 1999, I lost unfairly to a white male. In 2016, I lost unfairly to a white female. Should I be less upset sixteen years later that I lost to a woman?
“We’ve come a long way baby” screams the type of “feminist” I loathe.
I should like Hillary Clinton for president, but I don’t. I do support her foreign policy stance. I also think that she’s qualified to be our Commander in Chief. So what’s my problem?
I don’t like Hillary Clinton and for very good and rational reasons.
I’m uncomfortable with her campaign and the links between the Clinton foundation, and her rise to political power. The optics on her, and women of color are awful. Really Hillary, kicking a #blacklivesmatter protester out of a 500 dollar dinner? I don’t like her policies, she’s a right leaning centrist. Check your reproductive rights ladies, because Hillary’s stance on abortion “…safe, legal, and rare” sounds a lot like Texas right now. Her record as a senator is devoid of any real legislation that is favorable to the working class, women, or people of color. Her words of ending the wage gap ring hollow, there isn’t a lobby with deep enough pockets to make that happen…etc…etc… and double pumpkin spice etc…
I feel by electing Clinton we are signing up for a presidency that will preserve the status quo that I find untenable as an unapologetic feminist.
But wait, Hillary Clinton is a woman? So the irrational feminist in me should tow the line for historical precedence sake? Right? So totes wrong!
Hana Schank wrote in her Salon piece “My Gen X Hillary problem: I know why we don’t ‘like’ Clinton”:
“I suspect that the millennial women who are supporting Bernie may simply not have gotten to a place in life where they’ve experienced this kind of chronic, internalized, institutional sexism. In order for someone to ignore you at a senior level, you need be old enough to have reached that level, and most millenials aren’t quite there yet. They’re still where I was in my early 30s, hopeful that we’ve come through the other side to a post-sexist world. Because nothing says “sexism is dead” like a woman voting for Bernie.“
Is it just me? Or are feminists of a certain age starting to sound uber patronizing right about now? And I’m going to throw the privilege grenade at the scores of women like high-handed Hana, that refuse to look around, down, and up, from their particular small view of the “post-sexist” world. Women—the “we” referred to in the title— who firmly believe that feminism, and its ideals and implementation, began and ended with middle class white ladies and their moms (and grandma’s and great-grandma’s if we extend a shout-out to the suffrage age ladies.) Isn’t it ironic that women are starting to sound a lot like men, when they try to make an argument for Hillary? Or is it intentional that this “we” discounts the continued damaging experiences of young women, poor women, and women of color? You know those of us that couldn’t possibly have experienced “chronic, internalized, institutional sexism” because we haven’t reached the “senior level” of being a woman yet. Schank writes from a point of view that pretends that we don’t exist, or know our own minds, when it comes to our thinking about Hillary Clinton.
Besides my very rational reasons for not liking Hillary, reading a dozen or so think pieces about internalized sexism, has brought out another reason for me not to like her. I think I’ll call it “Trickle Down Feminism” and just like trickle down economics, it just doesn’t work. I know from the personal experience of being a veteran.
Back in 1999, as a young Marine I arrived to my duty station, as a radio repairman, a Lance Corporal (E-3.) I was one of three women in our shop. PFC E, was my (E-2) bestie from MOS school and Cpl Highlander (E-4.)
Cpl Highlander (not her real name, but she is a type of woman and part of an allegory, I’m taking liberties while I still can) was the “best” female Marine in our shop. She was also the only one, until PFC E and I showed up. She was the “best” because she did all of the admin tasks in the shop, was agreeable, and not particularly threatening to the forty other men in the shop. As a woman with some power (she outranked us,) she should’ve taken us under her wing and helped us to become better Marines, because thats what “we” as women in a male dominated field should do. Instead she spent most of her time trying to get the two of us thrown out of the Marine Corps.
She was threatened by two younger women (one black, one white) who were both measurably better than her professionally. She was right to feel threatened, it soon became apparent that she was really a middle of the road Marine. While a genius with the admin work, she couldn’t fix a radio, and she couldn’t run at all, or do any of the physical activities that are part of being a Marine. Instead of knowing herself and seeking self improvement (had she reached out she could’ve gotten better by running and training with two Marines who were passionate, and healthily competitive about being Marines) she spent her time and power charging two junior Marines with various crimes in order to make herself look better.
The Cpl Highlander philosophy was that there was only room for one woman in our shop. Fortunately for me, I picked up rank despite her efforts to burn me and I transferred out. Unfortunately for PFC E, she almost bled out from the blood feud between her and Cpl Highlander. She persevered, but not without scars. She spent the better part of a year getting her rank stripped from her, and on barracks restriction.
Cpl Highlander was the type of woman I suspect Hillary Clinton is, and this is playing out on the campaign trail. Her smugness when dealing with other women “Why don’t you run for something, then?” her reply to a young women who asked her a valid question is just a politer version of Trump tossing protesters out of his rallies. A type of woman who believes in her entitlement, just because she’s outlasted all others. There is little in her record that suggests that she will be good for other women like her, and the record shows that her policies were/are devastating for women not like her.
Be warned from someone who knows what women do to other women to be “successful.” My immediate response to Ms. Albright’s question about that special place in hell for women was “I guess I’ll be there somewhere behind Hillary.” The way Clinton got up the ladder was not by being a liberal, or a feminist. In fact, she’s been relatively silent on most “woman’s issues.” She has her reasons, and I think one of them is that she doesn’t care about other women. In order for feminism to trickle down, I think you have to be a feminist to begin with. I don’t like Hillary because I know too many women like her, cis gendered but ideologically aligned with men.
Clinton has spent so much time and effort trying to prove that she is one of the good ole boys, that she just might be one.
Hillary Clinton will probably shatter the glass ceiling. American women look out for shards of glass that will cut you as she breaks the barrier. And then look up after to make sure she doesn’t pave over the hole she leaves with cement.