Saturday, February 9, 2008

A feminist's support for Hillary: "Goodbye to all that #2"

"Goodbye to all that #2" is the follow up to a 1970 essay Robin Morgan wrote about sexism within the press and it is regarded as a very feministic manifesto. "#2" seems to be of the same fiery nature, with Ms. Morgan strongly citing arguments about her support for Sen. Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Some excerpts of the text, (of which the full version can be found here):

She’s “ambitious” but he shows “fire in the belly.” (Ever had labor pains?)—When a sexist idiot screamed “Iron my shirt!” at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted “Shine my shoes!” at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.

The women’s movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments ( But what about NBC’s Tim Russert’s continual sexist asides and his all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN’s Tony Harris chuckling at “the chromosome thing” while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that’s not even mentioning Fox News.

Goodbye to an era when parts of the populace feel so disaffected by politics that a comparative lack of knowledge, experience, and skill is actually seen as attractive, when celebrity-culture mania now infects our elections so that it’s “cooler” to glow with marquee charisma than to understand the vast global complexities of power on a nuclear, wounded planet.

Goodbye to the phrase “polarizing figure” to describe someone who embodies the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make in this one. It was the women’s movement that quipped, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” She heard us, and she has.

Time is short and the contest tightening. We need to rise in furious energy—as we did when Anita Hill was so vilely treated in the U.S. Senate, as we did when Rosie Jiminez was butchered by an illegal abortion, as we did and do for women globally who are condemned for trying to break through. We need to win, this time. Goodbye to supporting HRC tepidly, with ambivalent caveats and apologetic smiles. Time to volunteer, make phone calls, send emails, donate money, argue, rally, march, shout, vote.

The essay was written on February 2nd, 2008.

What's most apparent of the essay is the very combative tone of the text. It seems to stem from a very personal opinion that women throughout history have always been on the shorter end of things, and that Sen. Clinton is, through her credentials ànd her identity as a woman, a chance to break from that past.

Cited and posted fiercely around the blogosphere (eg.'s Ben Smith), the essay is evoking very diverse reactions. One such reaction is that it does Sen. Clinton's candidacy more harm than good, and that it is a creed of an older, more bitter generation of feminists that dons the role of the eternal victim and spitefully reminds everyone they have been, are, and will be, right.

This blogger's opinion is a bit more moderate. To start, note that in the text, other candidates like John McCain or Barack Obama, were cited only very scarcely. It is almost everyone else that gets a' whoopin'.
I believe the essay is a very strong piece, citing many valid points, at least in spirit. The analysis of biased journalism, the criticism on the popularity of an inexperienced President-elect and the exposure of people's short memory spans and categorizing thinking is fair. However, such a strong way of wording, some unfair statements (Pardon me for not being able to feel labour pains) and a stance of moral superiority are elements that are in the way of constructive politics. Even if it stems from true events, continuing vindictive reminders of past injustices will tap into people's unwillingness to move beyond, simply because human nature has the ability to hold a very tough grudge.

And don't we all want to say goodbye to that?

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