Just being around isn’t experience

I’ve never understood, or accepted, this idea that Clinton is the feminist candidate, or even that her election would be much of a victory for women or feminism. I’ve always thought it would be radically, drastically compromised by the huge boost she got from whose wife she was. I’ve always thought such an election would be a victory for women or feminism only if the woman in question did it on her own merits, not partly those of her husband.

Indeed, Clinton has never been just a victim of her gender. When it came to the deeper narratives of the campaign, Clinton benefited, as do many women in politics, from her good fortune of having married a successful political man. Hillary Clinton has spent only four more years than Obama in the Senate, but she was consistently assumed to be a more plausible commander-in-chief than her rival based on her time as First Lady.

Being married to a president does not make anyone a more plausible c-in-c, any more than being the offspring of a president does. And I think this kind of sloppy thinking does feminism in general no favours, in the same sort of way that invented history does feminism in general no favours.

At the same time, it’s been widely assumed that she’s been entirely vetted, leaving many parts of her life–her disastrous leadership style on health care reform, her role in trying to silence and discredit Bill’s mistresses, her husband’s post-White House financial dealings–unexamined.

Which, again, I’ve never understood. She keeps being credited with having ‘experience’ with health care reform. But her only experience was in completely fucking it up! Why is that supposed to be a plus?

And above all why are so many women loyal to her on the grounds that she is a woman? She’s not the only woman in the world! Thatcher’s a woman, too, but I don’t feel any need to be loyal to her. And to be quite frank, I despise some of the tactics Clinton used in the campaign; I despise that ‘elitism’ nonsense: it’s fraudulent, it’s cheap, it’s anti-intellectual, it’s ridiculous, and it’s just plain low. Feminism doesn’t mean admiring all women unconditionally no matter what.

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