Monday, May 9, 2016

Oh, Jill: On the Exceptional Woman's Dilemma

Hey ya'll. just in time for Mother's Day, the Green Party enters the sexism fray:


Here are the lessons.

Actually, this might be old news, but I had a sudden realization over the weekend that verbally bashing Hillary Clinton is a trendy way to signal to others one's own purported ideological cred/purity. We see this on the left and the right. Beyond making fair critiques, people trade on rightwing talking points that have been around for decades and attack Hillary for not adequately or properly being a woman.

Two, never mistake a leftist "revolution" for a feminist one.  The two do not necessarily always go hand in hand. While Stein seems to agree with Trump that Clinton "plays" a "Woman Card," she also suggests that there are More Important Things to deal with than the women's issues that Clinton addresses. Women in poverty is a feminist issue.  But attacking a woman in a sexist way in order to address that issue is not a feminist way to address the issue of female poverty.

Three. Should Stein ever actually become a viable candidate, I suspect that we would find that lots of progressives, liberals, conservatives, and the media would find many reasons to hate her, hold her to standards of perfection no candidate could ever meet, and other otherwise frame her as a Disney villain of the first order too, because she's a woman!

So here we see a key mistake people make when they try to shall we say, play the Exceptional Woman Card. You may be better than that woman, but in the end, you're still a woman.  Just a woman.

Four, I have typically liked Jill Stein and have voted Green in several elections in the past, particularly in local elections where candidates have actual shots at winning.  In my opinion, Dr. Stein is, from a progressive standpoint, more ideologically pure, less hawkish, and certainly less "establishment" than Bernie Sanders.*

Yet, the progressive bros aren't rallying around her.

I wonder why.

Snark aside, I attribute Sanders' success relative to hers, in part, to him running as a Democrat, and so more people view him as a viable contender.  However, isn't part of Sanders' appeal for so many Berners is that he's purportedly more ideologically pure and anti-establishment than Hillary Clinton? Which, fine, but in supporting him over Stein, his supporters show that they too will make compromises when it's politically pragmatic to do so.

Which, of course, when Hillary Clinton and her supporters do so, is a virtually disqualifying characteristic.

(*Regardless of their respective purity, I think both Stein and Sanders' agendas are largely moot from a pragmatic implementation standpoint, given a Democrat and Republican-controlled Congress not comprised primarily of progressives and Greens)

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