April 13, 2008

NOT MY TRIBE:

Hey, Obama boys: Back off already!: Young women are growing increasingly frustrated with the fanatical support of Barack and gleeful bashing of Hillary. (Rebecca Traister, 4/14/08, Salon)

Young people are voting for Obama; Clinton is a troubling candidate for many women and men; and there is a sense that younger women feel more distant from second-wave feminist leaders than ever before.

Yet some female voters have begun to express nearly as much disenchantment with the Obama-mania of their peers as with their Clinton-promoting mothers. And even while they voice dismay over the retro tone of the pro-Clinton feminist whine, a growing number of young women are struggling to describe a gut conviction that there is something dark and funky, and probably not so female-friendly, running below the frantic fanaticism of their Obama-loving compatriots.

I began reporting this story in part because, as a 32-year-old woman who is more liberal than either candidate, and who was quite torn until Super Tuesday, I had found myself increasingly defensive of Clinton in the face of the Obama worship that rules the mostly white, liberal, well-educated circles in which I work and travel. I was confused by the saucer-eyed, unquestioning devotion shown by my formerly cynical cohorts, especially when it was accompanied, as it often was, by a sharp renunciation of Hillary Clinton, whose policies are so similar to her opponent's. I was horrified by the frequent proclamations that if Obama did not win the nomination, his supporters would abstain from voting in the general election, or even vote for John McCain. I was suspicious of the cultlike commitment to an undeniably brilliant and inspiring man –- but one whom even his wife calls "just a man."

I am a loud feminist and a longtime Clinton skeptic who was suddenly feeling that I needed to rationalize, apologize for, or even just stay quiet about my increasing unease with the way Clinton was being discussed. Meanwhile, I was getting e-mails from men I didn't know well who approached me as a go-to feminist to whom they could express their hatred of Hillary and their anger at her staying in the race -- an anger that seemed to build with every one of her victories. One of my closest girlfriends, an Obama voter, told me of a drink she'd had with a politically progressive man who made a series of legitimate complaints about Clinton's policies before adding that when he hears the senator's voice, he's overcome by an urge to punch her in the face.

A few weeks ago, my friend Becca O'Brien, a lawyer and policy advisor in New Orleans, visited me. She told me about her experience on the morning of the Louisiana primary. O'Brien had been openly torn between Obama and Clinton, and perhaps as a result, she received five phone calls from male friends around the country, urging her to vote for Obama. They were, she understood, just campaigning for their candidate; they didn't realize how many calls she was receiving, or that taken together, they were making her furious. As O'Brien saw it, "The presumption was that I was undecided because I was a young woman, and they could talk some sense into me if they were the last ones I spoke to before I went into the voting booth."

O'Brien told me she'd heard similar reports of irritation from female friends around the country. I asked her to send them my way, and I put out feelers on my own. Not since I wrote a story about the book "He's Just Not That Into You" have I received such a tremendous response.

The women who contacted me were almost exclusively well-educated and professional, a culturally and politically elite demographic, to be sure.


The rules of political correctness are so complicated it's no wonder even good little liberal elites fall afoul of them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2008 11:00 PM
Comments

Five calls from guys around the country - this chick must be hot! What's her number? I'll start off with who I'm going to vote for...dude, are these guys gay?

Posted by: KRS at April 14, 2008 1:18 AM

I wonder who the author of the article eventually voted for. I come from a similar demographic: female, more liberal than the Democratic party, but hardly "elite." I voted for Obama....not because anyone called me, not because of male/female or black/white questions (Obama is as white as he is black) or that I've developed a saucer-eyed, cult status. I simply compared the candidates, and decided that Obama was more likely to succeed at working their very similar agendas through Congress.

Posted by: Marina at April 14, 2008 7:45 AM

I'm supporting Hillary Clinton, wanna come over my place and talk about it?

Posted by: Perry at April 14, 2008 7:46 AM

Whoa, Marina's comment snuck in there ahead of my joke. I was not directing it at you Marina but at the author of the article.

BTW, how could you compare candidates when very little is/was known about Obama?

Posted by: Perry at April 14, 2008 8:14 AM

Thank God that some young women are waking up to the fanaticism of many Obama supporters. My own two daughters, both colleged educated and in their mid-twenties, are Hillary supporters-based on her strengths and not overlooking her obvious weak points. However they can barely talk to their overwhelmingly Obama supporting friends about the election without being ridiculed or dismissed. This smug and arrogant attitude mirrors that of their candidate- a man with no known accomplishments who thinks he is ready to run our country. While primaries are always messy and full of critcism from both candidates and their supporters, the tone of this one is special. The media is blatantly hostile to Hillary and bloggers rip her to shreds- ridiculing her looks, her voice, her demeanor, etc. What many young women are missing is the anti-woman bias underlying this behavior. I have spent a lifetime watching men get promoted over more competent women, seeing women act ingratiating and not speaking up for fear of being considered a b...... Sure, women are slowly making gains in many areas but don't kid yourselves. Many American men have an innate fear of controlling, dominating women and this fuels the hateful comments regarding Hillary. Unfortunately, many women are too eager to jump on the band wagon. Hillary is not perfect but she has more intelligence, more public service, better ideas and is a harder worker than Obama. If an inferior male is elected instead of her, don't expect your daughters or granddaughters to have high aspirations. The message will be very clear-women have to know their place and God help them if they ever try to reach the top.

Posted by: Marross at April 14, 2008 8:20 AM

To steal an word from Lou, how exquisitely "gay."

So young, so well intentioned, so well paid, so well read, so well educated, so well informed and well -- just so darn wrong.

Posted by: erp at April 14, 2008 8:39 AM

At this rate, the rest of us are going to run out of popcorn before the real fireworks start in Denver....

Posted by: Chris B at April 14, 2008 8:49 AM

I was originally an Obama supporter and I've switched to Clinton. I have also been turned off by the media bashing of Clinton and their "Obama can do no wrong" attitude. Sexism is more subtle and more socially acceptable than racism. Obama's arrogance was clear during his secretly taped San Francisco remarks. I also don't think that Clinton is a perfect candidate, but I've been moved by her perseverance despite the constant bashing and calls for her to drop out of the race.

Posted by: Florida Dem at April 14, 2008 9:30 AM

Wow! Someone more liberal than the Democratic party visited this blog.

But I have to ask - how can Obama 'move' an agenda through Congress when he hasn't done anything while there. Obama is John F. Kerry, but only more so.

Posted by: ratbert at April 14, 2008 9:48 AM

"...dark and funky..."

Boy, talk about your thinly veiled tribalism, indeed!

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at April 14, 2008 10:13 AM

I am female, educated and an Obama supporter. In my opinion the media bias has gone back and forth any given week. How you interpret the slant depends on which team you are rooting for. I have learned more than I care to know about this process, it seems to be more about strategy,
connectedness, news cycles, and polls. I was extremely excited a few months ago, but now I just want it over before both candidates either self-destruct or destroy the other. I was truly hopeful before, but I feel worst now, than I did when I cast those protest votes years ago (Perot, Nader, Bush). I admit being blinded by hope (I wanted to believe) and lured into thinking that our society had matured in the ways that matched our highest ideals, not so.
Listen to the "so-called" pundits, and journalists, they are only interested in the sensational and in the process we are all being taken for a ride. For me it is the media coverage and spin that has zapped all of the hope out of me. Same of ___isms, different day.

Posted by: Cheryl J. at April 14, 2008 10:25 AM

I am female, educated and an Obama supporter. In my opinion the media bias has gone back and forth any given week. How you interpret the slant depends on which team you are rooting for. I have learned more than I care to know about this process, it seems to be more about strategy,
connectedness, news cycles, and polls. I was extremely excited a few months ago, but now I just want it over before both candidates either self-destruct or destroy the other. I was truly hopeful before, but I feel worst now, than I did when I cast those protest votes years ago (Perot, Nader, Bush). I admit being blinded by hope (I wanted to believe) and lured into thinking that our society had matured in the ways that matched our highest ideals, not so.
Listen to the "so-called" pundits, and journalists, they are only interested in the sensational and in the process we are all being taken for a ride. For me it is the media coverage and spin that has zapped all of the hope out of me. Same old ___isms, different day.

Posted by: Cheryl J. at April 14, 2008 10:26 AM

For the newbies ....

Your comment will go through even if you get that 'timed out' error page.

The 'pro-Obama' accusation in triplicate was good for a laugh.

How does that other shoe feel now that it's kicking y'all?

Posted by: Chris B at April 14, 2008 12:19 PM

Bush was a 'protest' vote? Who knew?

Posted by: ratbert at April 14, 2008 2:47 PM

Women's place is wherever men decide it is.

Posted by: oj at April 14, 2008 4:54 PM

All of you folks are way too passionate about this stuff. You really need to go check out Gene Healy's new book. genehealy.com

Please stop making all of this so much important than it should be.

Posted by: Tom at April 14, 2008 8:44 PM
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