Pocochina’s Weblog

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on the generational divide

Posted by pocochina on March 16, 2008

As a young feminist Clinton supporter, I keep wanting to talk about this. I fit, to a T, the profile of an Obama supporter – a young, liberal graduate student who has never supported the war in Iraq.  But I’m supporting Clinton, and I made that decision nearly a year ago.  (IN UR VOTIN BOOTH DEFYIN UR DEMOGRAPHIC STEREOTYPES.)

Maybe it’s just because we support the same candidate, but you know what?  I empathize totally with the utter frustration second-wave feminists feel at young feminists supporting Obama.  They – and yes, Hillary Clinton was and is among them, not just in age and ideology, but in vital action – did ALL THIS SHIT so that eventually, there will be the opportunity to make decisions not based on gender but on what we want.  But young women – and yes, Virginia, in our culture, our youth is a privilege which frequently insulates us from some of the penalties for our womanness – are all THANKS GRANDMA BUT THAT BORING GET WOMEN IN POWER SHIT IS SO LAST WAVE.  Um, first of all, bwuh?  Second of all, Hillary Clinton has always been a feminist, while Barack Obama has consistently proven himself to not be a feminist.  I am not arguing that a feminist cannot cast a vote for Obama, I’m saying that the candidate himself has made the choice to not be a part of our movement.  I respect that other feminists can prioritize different issues, but to me, the smooth sexist slurs which come out of his mouth (and his paid campaign staff) are fucking unacceptable, and it’s not just personal to Senator Clinton, it’s personal for all of us, until the day that saying that shit gets you spanked and sent home to think about what you did.  Young women who are able to make this choice without gender being our first priority are, in part, able to do so because of Senator Clinton.

She’s one of the 16% – shamefully low – of women in Congress, and her work there has been consistently feminist.  While the Senate is still very much an old boy’s club, she is working to change that.  I, as a young woman, have never had to wonder whether women will hold high office in the US, because of women just like Senator Clinton, and because of Senator Clinton herself.

I have over the counter access to emergency contraception, should I ever need it, and am therefore far more likely to be able to avoid the potential pain and certain financial setbacks that come from terminating or continuing an unwanted pregnancy.  I have access to this right because of Senator Clinton’s courage and political acumen.

I have never had to wonder whether a true marriage of equals – a marriage between two intelligent, ambitious people who love not only each other, but the causes and passions they share – is possible, and can withstand the worst humiliations in the public eye.  I have never had to wonder this because HRC and WJC have always shown the world (not as a political strategy, but as a critical facet of their very selves that they have never tried to hide) that their relationship is a true meeting of the minds.

I have never had to wonder whether a woman’s marital status must keep her out of the public sphere, and I have never had to wonder that because Hillary Clinton has shown the world that she will not be kept down.   (Nobody puts Mama in a corner!  Really, I fuckin’ dare you try.)   I know that it happens all the time, but I also know that it’s not the way things have to be.  I know this because of Hillary Clinton.

I have never had to wonder whether a woman can come through the hermetically sealed, sexist environment of an American law school and still stand up not just for herself but for those who are not like her, but still deserve a champion.  I know this because of Hillary Clinton.

I, personally, owe so much to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and all the women like her.  I can only imagine the deep frustration of the women who have fought this fight for us – before we were even born – to feel that we have given up, that we prefer a young, handsome face, that we have chosen any fight but our own.  She has given me privilege she never had – to feel that I may make a decision not based on gender, because my life is a little less constricted by my female body thanks to Senator Clinton and countless women like her.

To Gloria, to Geraldine, to Linda, and yes, to Hillary – I know your movement wasn’t perfect, but I also know that you have done great things, things undreamed-of in our grandmother’s time.  I understand your frustration, and I feel it too.  I thank you, and I am proud to stand behind you.

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