My alma mater -- Smith College -- boasted two first ladies as alum. We even had a T-shirt showing Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan that read: there must be a better way to get a Smithie in the White House.
Well, we don't have a Smithie yet. But we do have a Wellesley grad running for highest office. But, when faced with the cocktail conversation question, Hillary or Obama? I have to say I go with the Big O every time.
Ellen Goodman, the feminist columnist for The Boston Globe, addressed this at her keynote speech in March at the Women, Action and Media conference. She called Hillary's run for office a "de-gendered" candidacy, as she was running as the establishment candidate, not the woman candidate. In many ways, this is very good news for women. That we have someone who has the name, the experience and the money to get to the top of the heap is lightyears ahead of where women candidates have been in the past.
In other ways, this makes her less accessible. She's not one of the marginalized. She's one of them.
As I've said in other posts, Hillary Clinton is not someone who I'm behind. But that's right now, when the primaries haven't happened and others seem a little less blow dried and speak in a less canned way. I cringe when I hear Hillary Clinton trying to girl it up on an entertainment show -- please. This woman is about power and I can't take it when she starts gushing about somebody's shoes.
A piece on AlterNet today about the unrelenting criticism from liberals and feminists about Clinton is all about gender, and then sometimes not at all about gender. Take the CodePink antiwar group's obsession with Hillary and her vote to give Bush authorization to go to war:
Ouch. Well, as Clarence Thomas can show us, just being black doesn't mean you're going to support affirmative action. As Ann Coulter proves, being a successful woman doesn't make you a feminist, or a peace-nik. And being Hillary Clinton demonstrates what we should have known all along: that being an ambitious, mainstream candidate with a legacy doesn't mean she'll be a terrible president. It just might not mean she'll be great for women. The question is, can we feminists live with that.
Clinton's supporters also argue that women candidates are unfairly subjected to higher standards, especially by women themselves. It's why antiwar feminist organizations like CodePink are less likely to give her a pass for her Iraq vote than they would, say, John Edwards. Explaining the reasoning behind their "bird-dog Hillary" campaign to The Nation, founder Medea Benjamin wore her double standard on her sleeve: "You expect more of a woman."