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There's a new book out about Hillary Clinton, Thirty Ways Of Looking At Hillary: Reflections By Women Writers. Susan Faludi reviews the book here. I had no intention of reading this book, and now that I've read Faludi's review of it, I'm feeling like my instincts were right.

This Faludi quote sums up why I'm avoiding this book:

Reading through these pages, I wished for a companion volume, Thirty Ways of Looking at Women Looking at Hillary, which answered this question: Why do so many of these women writers—who have shown themselves to be graceful essayists and well-reasoned analysts in other contexts—resort to unfactual and illogical thinking and, in many cases, downright 13-year-old cattiness when the topic is Hillary?

When I first saw the title of the book, I thought - "hrm, I'm guessing these are mostly personal opinion pieces, but I wonder what it would actually be like to look at someone 30 different ways."

Mother, Sister, Cousin, Friend, Co-Worker, Activist, etc. On a basic level, the title alone reminds me of the fact that we can all be perceived differently by the variety of people who know us. It got me thinking about how I perceive my mother, sisters, friends, etc.

But Faludi makes a great point that I'd like us to think about and discuss a bit -

She says:

But reading this book, I began to wonder if these women’s problem with Clinton also has to do with mom—and a mom’s lack of power.

Faludi goes on to talk about female figures and the conflict of motherhood and power and she comes to this thought-provoking suggestion (not the first time we've come across this thought, not even here in Feminisms, but I thought she put it pretty plainly):

If any female demographic exerts force in American culture, it’s not moms, it’s girls—and it’s been that way since the possessed teens and ’tweens of the Salem witch trials were trotted out to attack the society’s independent matrons. The American girl’s power, of course, is limited, derived from powerful daddy sponsors, aimed typically at other women, especially those whose 30-years-old freshness date has expired. Grown women, so often without patriarchal backing, are out of luck—there’s no matriarchy to step in to offer wisdom and hand over the reins. We have no female establishment invested with the power to bestow authority, to pass clout from "mothers" to "daughters." The only clout comes from attacking mothers to establishment applause in the public square.

Reading this book, I’m reminded that we’re essentially a distaff nation of motherless daughters, who operate on a marriage metaphor of power. Only one woman gets the prize, and the others must be knocked out of the ring so that she alone can grab the ring. With no real foundation for female strength, the much-vaunted "sisterhood" is destined to degenerate into a Lady of the Flies scrum—with, in this case, Hillary as Piggy.

I'd prefer to try and have this conversation without discussing the primary race - I realize that makes things a bit difficult, but I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this - is the only way for women to gain power by bringing down or bashing other women?

Obviously power is something that is actively sought and taken (as opposed to being given), but are younger women then claiming power for themselves by knocking their own mothers as opposed to knocking men?

We've talked before about generational differences among Feminists - in a way I suppose this is a continuation of that discussion. I have to admit that I've thought quite a bit about how this kind of thing relates to the primary election and women voters. I diaried about women voters for Kossacks Under 35 last week and there do seem to be some generational differences among female voters and who they support. This isn't particularly shocking, but I do find some of the accusations flying each direction to be incredibly disappointing.

Anyway, tell me what you think - are women destined to this cycle or power-grabbing from one another? Is this a perceived cycle or a real one? etc.

Originally posted to Elise on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 08:23 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My wife put it best - Misogyny (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldjohnbrown, Bernie68

    Women have issues with Hillary because they're harder on other women than they are on men.

    I've written about this in many of my blogs.

  •  well, I never would want a whole (6+ / 0-)

    bunch of the people who know me to write about just wouldn't be fair to me, imo.  Those with an ax to grind like my brother and an ex-friend would have a field day and spin things to a faretheewell.

    When a book does not allow the lady in question to respond, it is not fair.

    In general, I have mostly known good women who would not abuse other women, but there are always a few bad apples who get a lot of attention.

    I have known three women who were school principals who were just terrifying and I would have loved for them to have been good ones.  Was it the job that made them like that?  I have a small sample, though, of all who are out there.  

    I hope we can do better to others...both men and women.

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat Wednesday evenings 8 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 08:38:41 PM PST

  •  Short answer: no. (6+ / 0-)

    I don't believe the only way for women to gain power is to pit themselves against other women.  Short term maybe that can work sometimes, but I'd never believe it was the only way and I think long term it's usually going to bite you in the ass.

    I'm sort of reaching for a more nuanced answer, but that's my immediate thought.

  •  The old term for what Faludi is ... (8+ / 0-)

    ...saying in your excerpt is "male-identified," describing women who have no power except by virtue of their connection to men and their subservience to the "male agenda."

    Now, I'm a believer in nuance, and the above statement is a very condensed over-generalization brimful of complex psycho-sexual under- and overtones and ties to the "glass ceiling" and a multitude of other interweavings about which books have been written.

    But, and I guess I can't follow your advice and keep the primary out of this, I would guess that a lot of women are unhappy with Senator Clinton because they  wish she'd stop leaning on him (or seeming to lean on him) so much. Too much of her campaign, in their eyes (I'm only speaking in terms of a half-dozen feminists I know who are unhappy with the Senator) has been about Bill, when Bill was president and all the good stuff he did, yada yada yada, and they want to really feel she is speaking for herself. Their perception is that she isn't, and they don't like it. While they might not call that "male-identified," I think that is what many of them mean.

    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 08:50:24 PM PST

    •  Interesting. (7+ / 0-)

      I've been feeling like many Feminists are pushing the idea that "if you don't support Hillary, you're not a real Feminist". I honestly hadn't put much thought into the idea that Hillary is leaning too much on Bill. My younger sister was telling me today that a woman she works with (a Republican who voted here in IL for McCain), said she would have considered voting for Hillary if she'd divorced Bill after his Presidency. Who knows if she's telling the truth - but that's really the first time in a while that I'd thought about Hillary as a female figure who is at least perceived as not doing what she needs to do to stand up for herself.

      I guess I haven't really thought about what you're speaking to in terms of gender. I've just considered it as a campaign tactic - that she gets bonus points for "experience" by claiming involvement during 8 Clinton years in the White House. I've felt like there are a zillion issues related to Feminism that I'd like to discuss when it comes to the Clinton campaign - but like the atmosphere here has just been way too toxic to attempt it, so that's why I try to avoid it in the discussion - kind of unfortunate really because I've had some great conversations about this with Kath25 and a few others in person and on the phone.  

      •  Toxic? Nah. Mix a primary campaign ... (5+ / 0-)

        ...with century-old issues of race and gender and get toxic? How can you say that?

        Seriously, I agree with you entirely on this. There are so many things that this contest brings out related to feminism. The last race - and it was a very short one - that I observed fairly close up was Pat Schroeder's attempt at the presidency in 1987. (She never made it to '88.) Full disclosure: I worked on Schroeder's first campaign in '72 and was preparing to work on her presidential effort when she bailed.

        Donald Regan, one of President Ronzo's boys, remarked at the time that women were interested in and couldn't understand important stuff like "missile throw-weights" - the implication being that a woman could never be a serious contender for the presidency. This, despite the fact that when he said it, Schroeder has been serving on the House Armed Services Committee for 14 years and probably knew more about missile throw-weights than most members of Ronzo's Cabinet combined.

        This time around, we haven't heard much of that a-woman-can't-be-commander-in-chief bullshit, or, worse, women are too emotional. (Schroeder cried, as you may recall, when she gave up her bid for the '88 race.) Women are too emotional is code for having the wrong emotions. Anger is an emotion, too, and personally I'd rather see a few more tears from my future president than so much rage.

        The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

        by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:11:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes and yes and yes and yes and but.... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, SallyCat, TravnTexas, Elise

          i have SOOOOO tried to stay away from any discussions about not race and gender in this campaign, because of course in the context of the campaign, race and gender are only going to be reduced to demographic markers rather than the deep depositories of human experience, history, struggle and joy that they actually are but away from discussions of the struggles against racial and gender privilege in this campaign, because our political system isn't equipped to handle this.  Unless of course we want to see panels upon panels of predominately male talking bobble heads explode right before our very eyes.  It would just blow out all of their pre-programmed ways of being.

          So, like you, I expect nothing on these topics in the context of a presidential election.  But, there is something I've ignored in this all (possibly others have, too?).  I'll put it in a context outside of campaigns and primaries.  Take the example of many of the new discoveries being made about gender and brain chemistry: the recognition that there are chemical differences based on the sex hormones.  The way this work is received is very intriguing, I find, not by those well-versed in the cognitive sciences, but by the "general public" and the media.  I heard some talk show host refer to is as "not pc", and "certain to anger feminists", yada yada yada.  I had an immediate intellectual clarity moment when I heard that.  Pre-feminism, or absent any history of feminism, this research would be rather unremarkable, and would be consistent with conventional wisdom that held women's brains are different, therefore the denial of women's public and civil rights is a logical and easily defensible position for societies to maintain.  As a woman, I would be afraid of this kind of research, absent a context of feminism, given how it would most likely be interepreted and to what uses it is likely to be put.  It is because feminism has taught us to be wary of easy, "biological differences = justifiable differences in privilege", that such research no longer has to be understood as dangerous, or as "non-pc".  It is a banally obvious point, but one so obvious that I think we sometimes miss the significance of it.  

          I do think the same thing has happened somewhat with regard to this campaign, though to a far lesser degree given that electioneering culture is a far more difficult thing to change than the whole of human society in its approach to gender.  the two-dimensional plasticity of electioneering culture makes stepping back and realizing what contributions the struggles against racial and gender privilege have brought a really difficult thing, because the campaign keeps putting things back into the dualistic models of race and gender, leaving the two rather dissatisfying options of thinking about either of them (or both) the way the idiot pundits are, or coming to the conclusion that "race" or "gender" don't matter.  They do matter, but the ways that they matter have changed, thanks to feminism and anti-racist struggles.  It pains me to think that the outcome of these two rich historical movements and struggles is for all of us to come to a point where we say, "race and gender don't matter".

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:42:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yep (0+ / 0-)

            It pains me to think that the outcome of these two rich historical movements and struggles is for all of us to come to a point where we say, "race and gender don't matter".

            Because saying it is wishing it so, and avoids the self examination we as a nation, and as people, would have to do.

            Nice to see you around these parts again.

          •  I don't want to (again) overgeneralize ... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SallyCat, heartofblue, Elise

            ...but most of the comments I've seen at DK and elsewhere recently about how race has been transcended (generally, or, in particular, by Barack Obama's campaign) or that we're in a colorblind era is primarily pushed not by people of color (most of whom know better from personal experience. Many white people I know think talking about race or racism is "playing the race card." I suspect, but am less certain, that there is a parallel occurrence regarding gender, say, that women no longer have to be concerned about "equality" because LOOK! there's a female CEO, general and head of surgery.

            What interests me most is what you say about the new brain research into gender differences. I find this stuff fascinating and not at all surprising. But I've had a very similar reaction to yours in hearing what some of the pundits say about this stuff: SEE! Women ARE different. Meaning, of course, that male supremacists were right all along. Somebody should come up with a name for this bogus I-told-you-so-all-along behavior similar to what I call the Kennewick Man Syndrome. In that case it is: AHA! Caucasians were here first so we didn't steal all the Indians' land, they stole it first. It's amazing what people will do to rationalize their irrationality.

            The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

            by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 10:24:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  2 very different responses to your post (0+ / 0-)

              I'll put the first aside and go to the second:

              I'm not sure we need a name for the "bogus I-told-you-so-all-along behavior.  I think what's needed instead is a discussion that points out exactly what we both know: that it isn't in fact at all what you told us, because it is made fundamentally different thanks to the ways that we now understand gender (or race) BECAUSE of the contributions of feminism.  When you focus on the "backlashers" of a "backlash" movement, you lose the momentum of the original movement (which, of course is the goal of the backlashers).  

              I'm not sure that what folks are doing there is "rationalization", however.  

              On the other matter, I'll take your word about what the "general trends on dKos" tend to be.  I'll say only that I find the notion of "transcending" race and/or gender even more disturbing that the "race and/or gender don't matter".  "transcending" strikes me as a profoundly disrespectful conceit on the part of a populace that doesn't want to do the work necessary that a movement to confront entrenched privilege demands.   I have really serious problems with the language of transcending especially in a US political/cultural context.  

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 10:41:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just FTR, I didn't say it was a general ... (0+ / 0-)

                ...trend here, just that there are numerous comments to that effect. How many Kossacks (whatever that once useful appellation now means) believe in transcendance I have no idea. Could be 5% or 25%. But I have seen it often enough to get irked by it.

                I agree that we shouldn't focus on the backlashers too much. But ignoring them and hoping they will go away doesn't work, sad to say. Not when they control the levers of what Gramsci might call the means of cultural (re)production, the megamedia.

                The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

                by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 10:48:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  again (0+ / 0-)

                  its the duality of the communication system, or something at work here.  I don't think we should focus on them, but that doesn't necessary translate to "ignoring them".  Deal with what they are saying, by pointing out how, even though they are saying the same thing they have said for 20 years (100 years, 500 years, take your outdated prejudice of choice) and point out how the struggle they keep seeking to discredit or dismiss, has rendered what they say into something entirely different.   I've never been in favor of ignoring them, but of "reframing" them.  Reframing the megamedia is a huge task, I know, and one that sucks the life and hope out of you fast, if you're engaged in it, which is why it has to be a movement thing, I think.

                  A big piece of it is also just the general anti-intellectualism in the media and in the culture.  We don't really know how to make sense of what intellectual developments bring us, politically.  We tend to look for political developments rather than seeing how the intellecutal ones have political impacts.  Academics don't help much, because academic culture now has to mimic the structures and practices of the commercial media in terms of celebrity, fame and definitions of success.  Political activists are really placed to do this, and they already have too much to do handling the political activism parts.  In the early days, I had always felt this is what the blogosphere can do, its really ideally positioned to do it, but that idea sort of died away once the blogosphere began to mimic the celebrity, fame, noise-making model of the mega-media and sort of fall into the same problems that academia fell into wrt to public communication, ideas and politics.  

                  I guess that's why I remain such a sourpuss vis-a-vis the "netroots nation".   ;)  There was a moment, and there was potential and then got eaten up by something else.   </sigh>

                  I have little to no sense of the tone of things about here, so I trust your judgements about what are popular sentiments, what are oft commented ones. the language of trends is tricky at a wonky place like this, so sorry for my lack of clarity here.  I'm overcome by my own ambivalance to yesterday, and stuck realizing I now have to figure out who the hell to vote for, because for once, my vote actually matters beyond my own sense of responsibility.    

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 11:03:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  If You Support Hillary Only Because... (0+ / 0-)

        you're a feminist then you are not a feminist.  


    •  That's an excellent description of some of the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldjohnbrown, Elise, jlms qkw

      responses I've gotten from other women, mostly my middle aged neighbors, about HRC.

      It is I think just one aspect of a greater total that self-described feminists might object to in the candidate.

      Memo to Congress: Put up or shut up ~ all talk and no action pisses me off.

      by SallyCat on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:01:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've heard that a lot as well, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, Elise

      during this election campaign, generally from some veteran feminists.  But it's always kind of angered me.  

      Looking at it as you suggest, who is really more "male-identified?" Is it Hillary Clinton for not abandoning her imperfect but arguably successful  partnership with a good and useful, if flawed, man?  Or is it rather those who would keep defining her primarily in terms of her relationship with her husband, implicitly labeling her a "bad" wife by not divorcing him for his indiscretions.

  •  Apparently to some (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is sexism to believe that Hillary is not perfect.

    And since politics unfortunately isn't about kindness but rather winning, there will be some low blows. Displays of weakness (in particular a loss of composure) when under a mere verbal assault from others is not something I would want in a leader. People will say the most infuriating, hurtful things just to get an advantage, and I would expect my president to react in a strong, confident manner.

    But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. (1776)

    by banjolele on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 08:51:27 PM PST

  •  Hard to draw conclusions from a sample of 1.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldjohnbrown, jlms qkw

    I have seen other diaries trying to make Clinton's candidacy a reference point for feminism and I am not sure that can be done. It's one thing to describe trends, issues, characteristics, symbolic meaning, etc etc etc for a population as a whole, but I think there are real challenges when you try to bring that discussion down to a "micro" level, ie use this language to interpret a single person or, in this case, a single candidacy.

    The reason is simple--each human being is a unique person with unique experiences. No matter how many "truisms" apply to a general population, there are always exceptions. I just think there are too many variables to try and draw conclusions from a sample of 1, which is what Sen Clinton represents.

    Deny. Distort. Divert. It's not just for Republicans anymore....

    by Azdak on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 08:52:22 PM PST

  •  I'm glad you brought this topic up. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldjohnbrown, Elise, jlms qkw

    I think it's very real.

  •  In the corporate world and public accounting (6+ / 0-)

    world that I have lived in since the early 1980's I have seen women become positive role models / managers / executives / partners and I have seen them step all over others, including women to get to the top.

    Disclaimer: these are my observations of women that I have worked with...and only my observations and opinions.

    The most successful of the women, in terms of respect for their abilities and thinking, were women that empowered everyone around them. These women empowered the men and the women that worked for them and with them. These women are both under and over age 40. Dozens of people would write wonderful things about them.

    There were / are women that have reached the pinnacle of success and have few close friends that would say anything nice about them. These are the ones that scratched and clawed and got power anyway they could. Most of these women are over age 40 but under 55.

    I will also add that in the same time frame I've worked with a reasonable number of men in both categories.

    Hillary, in my opinion alone, does not inspire the loyalty to her as an individual. She inspires loyalty to the power that she can bestow if you participate in her power efforts.

    For the record, Obama does not inspire me to follow him either. He does not empower those around him to reach beyond his vision. He asks only that you accept his vision without encouraging his followers to reach beyond his own.

    The key to any candidate, or manager, or executive, or person in power is to inspire and empower and motivate to do more and be more. These are just the lessons learned the hard way by an old feminist...with lots of former co-workers and former  employees that I still call friend after 20 years.

    Hmmm....maybe I should have written a diary instead of a comment.

    Memo to Congress: Put up or shut up ~ all talk and no action pisses me off.

    by SallyCat on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 08:56:29 PM PST

    •  I like what you're saying about empowering (4+ / 0-)

      everyone around you. I think that's completely true.

      I think there's something to be said for healthy competition - I wonder how that conflicts or competes with empowerment.

      I have to say that I'm inspired a bit by both Hillary and Obama - even though I pretty clearly feel more excitement for Obama...but I think Hillary has tons of great qualities - and I certainly admire her strength.

      •  A generalization here...I think the competition (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oldjohnbrown, Elise, emeraldmaiden

        doesn't really exist in the corporate world.

        Being in the management role I have worked to encourage and push my staff well beyond their comfort zones. Most would reach beyond their comfort zones to excel at their specific jobs. Only a very few were comfortable reaching for the next rung on the ladder. In most of the cases, from CFO's that encouraged me, to stff that worked for me...for advancement and challenges we left the organizations that we were with at the time. We moved outward and upward to find more and give more to others.

        Building teams and cross-training eliminates most of the negativity of competition. I like to compare the business model to teams playing Rugby in the mud and getting bloody, then going and having a beer with the other team. We work to make a difference in our lives and if possible the lives of others. BUT I always stress to those that work for is just a job and not worth sacrificing who you are as a person.

        Give all you've got but if you HAVE to succeed...then it's time to re-evaluate your priorities.

        Memo to Congress: Put up or shut up ~ all talk and no action pisses me off.

        by SallyCat on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:20:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I admire you for trying to get (6+ / 0-)

    this kind of discussion going in the context of this really amazing and ground-breaking primary season.

    I am an "old-school" feminist who started as an Edwards  supporter but was always fine with shifting to Obama if it became necessary.

    I am conflicted about Hillary. She is obviously capable of being a strong and successful national leader. I hate that she is saddled with the baggage of her husband's poor choices.

    To go back to your discussion about competition between females, here is where I often get an image of the lobsters in the supermarket display case with them clawing to climb over each other and ultimately not getting anywhere.

    The thing is- women are still trading on their looks. Men are allowed to be gray and jowly, but still powerful, and dare I say, sexy. Women in the same circumstance are analyzed and mocked if they fall short of some physical perfection.

    I have had this discussion with my much younger sister (eighteen years younger- sometimes I feel like her mother) She is trying to raise a strong, intelligent young daughter but she despairs at all of the sleazy sort of appeals that are made to 8-11 year old girls that tell them that it is more important to look a certain way than to be what your heart is calling you to be.

    "though we rush ahead to save our time- we are only what we feel" Neil Young- 1968

    by blindyone on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:01:03 PM PST

  •  After reading the diary and the Faludi (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, oldjohnbrown, Elise

    article, and not having read the book, I will offer some thoughts.

    My first thought is that the book began as a request from Susan Morrison ("who’s also the articles editor of The New Yorker, and former editor in chief of this newspaper") to various writers to write on the topic of Clinton.  She told them that she was asking women writers to write about Clinton from a personal perspective.  I don't know exactly what the wordking of the letter was she sent to them.

    As Faludi remarks, some writers fell for the bait and some didn't.  In this case, "falling for the bait" means writing a first draft in which you don't look beneath the surface of the request from Morrison, and do exactly what she asks you to do: write about your personal gut reactions to Clinton -- in a way that you think Morrison wants, for the book.  If a different request had been made in a different way, then the writers would have produced different essays.

    This is rather like the way two diaries on the exact same topic with only stylistic differences can produce wildly different threads, with the same commenters offering contradictory opinions on each, because the style of the diary elicits different kinds of thoughts.  Here, Morrisons request is like the diary, and the thread is like the essays elicted by the diary.

    Now, this is, if anything, a remark on the writers.  It appears (not having read the book itself) that many of the writers wrote at a shallow level, in unthinking response to the request.  I am not sure how thoroughly I want to condemn them for this -- from there point of view they were just writing a stupid essay in response to a request.  But at the same time they are obligated, as writers, to their audiences, not to produce tripe.  And apparently they produced tripe.

    So then here is the question I mean to be asking, I guess.  Does this book reveal anything about the shallowness of "women" writing about Clinton . . . or the shallowness of the process by which Morrison went about producing this book?

    •  or does it reveal something (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, oldjohnbrown, Elise, LithiumCola

      about the shallowness of the publishing world, the world of newspapers, and even our election culture, because none of these three seem capable of addressing a topic as complex as feminism? and female candidates (?)

      I dunno, the whole premise seems trite to me, completely in keeping with the trite public culture and its approaches to feminism (as if it is thiss "monolithic and easily identifiable thing).

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:14:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SallyCat, oldjohnbrown, LithiumCola

        honestly, I think it says something about each of these things - the process, the publications, the authors, etc. It seems like there's a laziness, but it also seems like there's a desire to just avoid really thought-provoking discussion. I don't know if it's that the audience is perceived as being unable to discuss or digest the arguments being made, or if it's something else.

        •  of course there is a laziness (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SallyCat, Elise

          that's the very definition of our dominant public, commercial media culture. short-handed buzz words, formulaic plots and easily packaged conventional wisdom.  that's an equation for laziness.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:45:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well certainly there are books (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SallyCat, oldjohnbrown, Elise

        that deal with the compexities of femisism.

        Certainly the premise of this book seems trite.  That's part of the issue here.  Why did it seem like a good idea to produce a book about "women's" attitudes to a candidate who is a woman, "as women"?

        Faludi emphasizes the oddness of imagining a sex-switch on this.  She does a good job, then, of questioning the premise.  

        I only mean to emphasize that what we're talking about here is one book generated by one editor who thought she could make money for her publishing house with this topic.

        Remember, during the B. Clinton impeachment fiasco, that Joe Esterhas, the highest paid (and among the worst, imo) screen writer in Hollywood, wrote a book about Bill, and, famously, had a chapter written from the point of view of Bill's penis?  Someone thought that would make money.  That's all.

        Now, here, the question, if there is a larger question, is, why did the writers fall for this?  And why did anyone think it would sell books . . . and why will it probably work?  I assume, actually, that this book will sell fairly well, unlike Eszterhas's book -- which I am assuming did not sell well.

        •  I would assume it will sell well - (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SallyCat, oldjohnbrown, LithiumCola

          mostly because there IS an audience out there of people who like to read about Hillary - positive and negative. Not sure many are interested in Bill's penis. I'm sure as hell not - of course, I'm not everyone.

        •  those books, yes (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SallyCat, oldjohnbrown, Elise, LithiumCola

          but they generally aren't published by general audience publishers.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:42:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't read the book either (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SallyCat, heartofblue, Elise, LithiumCola

          but it seems like the thesis is missing. "30 women write about Hillary." OK... what about Hillary? She's a complex and public figure about whose personal life and beliefs little is known. So are we talking about the evolution of Hillary the public figure? the political figure? the policy figure? what?

          I think LithiumCola nails it: The book's premise as pitched was shallow (Hillary's running! We need a book on Hillary STAT!), and the writers failed to transcend the premise in responding to the pitch, and the result doesn't contribute anything substantive to the discussion.

          Also I was going to comment that as long as one group holds power other groups can be easily manipulated into compete amongst themselves for access to that power, but Meteor Blades beat me to it and phrased it better as well.

          No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

          by oldjohnbrown on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 10:01:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just putting a link here... (4+ / 0-)

    ...for anyone who missed this:  Robin Morgan.  I think people should read it, no matter what they think of Hillary.

    •  thank you for this... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, rserven

      ...I especially appreciated the observation that older women are the only group who don't grow more conservative with the passing of time.  that in an of itself is a startling observation.  I keep thinking of all the women of "a certain age" who have been part of the fabric of social change in this nation.  

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 10:02:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The other problem I have (4+ / 0-)

    with some of the "feminist" appeals that label us fifty-plus women as traitors, somehow, because we are not feeling their enthusiasm for Hillary in this particular campaign is that it reminds me of the over-the-top fervor by some liberals for Obama.

    Vote for Obama and we prove that our hearts are pure and racism is a thing of the past. Well, that would be nice. Or, we have, vote for Hillary and we'll show those guys that we are just as good as them. Or, sexism is no longer a problem. Individual voting decisions should be made for better reasons, and I assume that they are. And a White female voting for Obama, or a Black voting for Hillary should be respected for their choices.

    "though we rush ahead to save our time- we are only what we feel" Neil Young- 1968

    by blindyone on Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:38:27 PM PST

  •  Power - - now there's a concept. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, SallyCat, oldjohnbrown

    I wonder, and I'm not directing this at the diarist exclusively, what we mean by power.  Is it power to accomplish, power to defeat (it was superbowl weekend, after all) power to demolish, destroy, make other people do what you want them to, just for fun?

    We have no female establishment invested with the power to bestow authority, to pass clout from "mothers" to "daughters."

    We do have some female establishments.  We just need to know where to look.

    I had the pleasure of working with Catholic Sisters for a few years, an order that has world wide presence and enormous clout in their various communities.  And, oh yes, a bunch of money.  They have power and use it.

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