the vagina litmus test

Perhaps I should create an entirely new category for things that are beneath me yet I still have to comment on them lest someone somewhere somehow mistake my silence for support or agreement.

And so we come to Hillary.

I have a feeling this is going to get long. Maybe so long that right away we should stick one of these dudes in:
Here’s the deal. I have no problem with a women for president – of course I’m totally, absolutely, 100% for it. And I was brought up to worship Gloria Steinem. But let’s be rational – that editorial was pretty much crap.

Here’s my problem in a nutshell:
A) We all should accept that there is, without the shadow of a doubt, a huge double standard when it comes to women politicians.
B) We should also accept that Hillary is a pretty crappy politician.

That said, A does not equal B, and B does not equal A. They are two entirely unrelated issues. I can’t see what these two issues have to do with each other at all, except that Gloria Steinem did her very best to equate the two in an editorial published in the most prestigious paper in the country.

(I should state that I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that she is a bad politician in part because the rather patriarchal society she moves in has brainwashed her to such an extent that she believes that the only way to be a politician is to be exactly like war-mongering men. Perhaps I am overly optimistic about women in general, but I believe this is a defect in the person of Hillary Clinton, not a defect to which her entire gender is subject, thus I blame Hillary for the person/cyborg she has become while recognizing that our unfair society might have had a hand in creating that person. Happily, there are other women politicians who do not seem to have come down with the same disease – Barbara Lee from California comes to mind, as does Cynthia McKinney.)

What I want more than any old woman for president – much more – is the total transformation of our society from one obsessed with money, hierarchies, and war (i.e., traditional “male values”), to one that stresses those values that have been traditionally associated with women – sharing, loving kindness, respect for the earth and its critters, etc.

Hillary has made it clear again and again that she is not the woman that will do very much to bring that society about. She is what I call a “Ms. Magazine” kind of woman – she clearly wants to add women to the top tier of our government and industry, but she seemingly wants to do it without any critique whatsoever of the way our society is currently running. I just can’t accept this.

For me, the only reason to vote for Hillary is that she is a woman, but that’s just not enough for me. I care much more about the quality of my politicians than their gender.

I understand that there have been vicious attacks on Hillary from the Right. Of course those are based on institutionalized misogyny and fear of the Old Boys Club that Hillaary (accurately) points to being dismantled. Those attacks are not based on the issues. My opposition is only based on the issues.

Unfortunately Gloria Steinem – a wonderful woman and an inspiration, for sure – embodies the spirit of leaving society fundamentally unchanged and hoping that women acting exactly like men have for centuries will magically improve society. While it might improve the pocketbooks and power-cravings of some women, I want to go much, much deeper. I want (nonviolent) revolution.

Perhaps I should state that I’m not for Obama. I’m simply not a Democrat, so I’m watching all this from the sidelines and what I keep seeing over and over is the way the system, particularly the horserace, is broken. I’m a registered Green Party voter who devotes time each week to build my local Green Party. I have moved beyond two party politics and the mess it has wrought. (If I was a Democrat inclined to go the “electability” route I would vote for Edwards because I believe he will stand up to the huge corporations that are ruining the universe more than anyone else – except Kucinich.)

I couldn’t ever vote for someone who voted for the war and for the Patriot Act when way before those events took place me and all my friends were literally in the streets doing our best to ensure that they didn’t happen. If I knew in 2002 that war was not the answer, why does Hillary say that if she knew then what she knows now she wouldn’t have voted for the war?

Maybe I should be president.


I got the phrase “vagina litmus test” from They have a great article on the Steinem op-ed here.

And has a great conversation with G.S. here – check it out ASAP!

3 Responses to “the vagina litmus test”

  1. jenny s.

    from wikipedia, but ive heard about this before..wondering if you know more on this….not being critical of her, just found it curious as someone used this to argue with me.

    Steinem has enjoyed widespread recognition in the US, and so has been a popular target for those critical of feminism generally. Within the feminist movement she has been criticized by radical feminists for what is seen as a liberal approach that makes too many concessions to patriarchy — notably, her involvement with the CIA was exposed in 1975 by the the left-wing Redstockings

  2. ivan

    ugh the times? is she their other new columnist along will the awesome billy kristol?

  3. lagusta

    I know! Bill Kristol! Ridiculousness.

    And yea, I’m not generally such a gigantic fan of The Steinem…I was trying to be super nice to her up there for some reason. She’s not exactly my type o’ feminist, but for sure she’s paved some pathways.


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