Friday, September 19, 2008

Telling feminists how to vote (by Suzie)

          Back in 2002, Katha Pollitt took Dennis Kucinich to task for opposing abortion rights.
That a solidly anti-choice politician could become a standard-bearer for progressivism, the subject of hagiographic profiles in The Nation and elsewhere, speaks volumes about the low priority of women's rights to the self-described economic left, forever chasing the white male working-class vote.
          She reported the reaction:
A surprising number of readers felt pro-choicers should shut up about their silly little issue and embrace Kucinich in the interests of progressive unity.
          Kucinich changed his position when he ran for president. Fast forward to the present, when feminists are told they must vote for Obama to preserve abortion rights. I’m voting for Obama because I dislike McCain’s positions on abortion and other issues that matter to me. I believe in coalition politics. But I may tear out the throat of the next hypocrite who cares little about abortion but wants to bludgeon me with it.
      Similar inconsistencies have arisen since the primary, when some feminists who supported Hillary Clinton were maligned for paying more attention to sexism than other injustices. An example would be Betsey Reed, executive editor of The Nation, who complained about women “confined” to feminism.
        Also in The Nation, Jessica Valenti criticized Clinton supporters who suggested that anyone who voted for Obama was less of a feminist. She said feminists should resist calls for solidarity, and recognize the differences among women. Now, some Obama supporters are telling feminists that, if they really cared about sexism, if they were true feminists, they would help elect him. Solidarity is good, as long as we are all backing Obama.
        I wish people would stop making support so distasteful.
        Note: I'm not slamming my colleagues on this site or any other who have remained consistent. I'm not trying to single out anyone. I'm just tired of being jerked around.