So Very, Very Not What We Need

NOW-NY has just issued an appalling press release.

Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, and the Family and Medical Leave Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). “They” are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). “They” are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America,, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women’s money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future.

This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation- to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who “know what’s best for us.

This is not how anyone should argue. And it’s especially appalling coming from a large state chapter of a major feminist organisation. I will be so very, very happy if somebody reveals this to be a hoax. Please? Anybody?

20 thoughts on “So Very, Very Not What We Need

  1. Umm, I’m *criticising* NOW_NY for their criticism of Kennedy’s endorsement. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m not a huge fan of Clinton’s.

  2. So puzzling! Why mix the charge of misogyny with the victim trope? It sounds like the cry of a child whose daddy just walked out.

    I can’t figure out why the press release was written.

  3. Jonolan,

    Why is Hilary a walking nightmare? I have not been following things as closely as I should be.

  4. Oh, this is just so sad! I can’t believe NOW is caught in the “because she’s a woman we have to support her” thinking. Anybody remember Maggie Thatcher?!? Just because the person is a woman, it doesn’t we have to supend critical thinking and endorse them.

    I love your expression, Jonolan, “thinking with your genitalia.”

  5. Gack, that “Gang Bang” one is truly appalling. I mean, both of them are pretty bad, but using rape as a casual metaphor for any kind of sexist behavior seems somehow even more offensive and out of touch with reality.

    I have sent them an e-mail asking what on Earth is going on, and will report back if I get a reply.

  6. On second thought, I can already guess what’s going on. Somebody has probably gotten a big fat cheque from the Clinton campaign. I’m going to go laugh hollowly at my own naivite now now.

  7. Jender, do consider putting up the national press release as a very short post. It’s a good antidote to the other one.

  8. P. Burke, I don’t think the reference to “gang banging” is a casual use of rape as a metaphor for just any sexism. NOW-NY think, quite plausibly, there is a prolonged attempt to humiliate her publically and destroy her chances at having a national political career.

    Have you ever had to endure months of a public attempt to turn you into a fool? Ridicule, cruel remarks, wildly inappropriate personal opinions treated as news?

    It is a truly terrible experience; it can leave people feeling extremely violated. In such a case, rape might in fact be more apt that an outsider can imagine.

  9. jonolan, I expect it feels good, but please resist the urge to share further your extremely negative and unsubstantiated opinions of individuals and groups of women who are easily identified as feminists. We have consistently taken a stand against bringing such cliches to bear in interpreting women. I will take action to prevent our providing a forum for such opinions.

  10. Jender:
    Thank you for the update on the national branch of NOW. I agree with Jender; it’s worth a post of its own.

    Have you ever had to endure months of a public attempt to turn you into a fool?

    Not as an adult, thankfully. I was harassed pretty extensively by my peers in middle school, to the point where I seriously considered killing myself, if that counts. I’m definitely not trying to argue that harassment is no big deal. And you’re right that all forms of bullying share an underlying dynamic. But I still don’t like the gang rape comparison. I don’t like the gratuitous reminder that rape is common in an announcement that doesn’t discuss address rape directly as a problem. And I don’t like the implication that what happened to Clinton was exactly like rape–aren’t there any other bad things that can happen to a woman?

    Jonolan: I have seen people on the Internet asserting that hetsex is never consensual, so I have to grudgingly admit that such people exist. But I doubt that they’re very common, and I see absolutely zero evidence that most NOW NYS members are among their ranks

  11. P.Burke, Points taken. I don’t think we exactly agree, but we seem to be on the same page. I had, in a much more limited context, some of the experience of being made a public target, and it was extremely traumatic. Still, I respect your cautious desire to restrain one’s reactions and language.

  12. JJ, Although Jonolan’s comments were not well-phrased, I take him to be referring only to the person who wrote the NOW-NY press release and those who agree with her. And I can understand his frustration with such people.

  13. Jonolan– Two points I’d like to make. First, I’m not sure why you’re emphasising the femaleness of those holding the NOW-NY position. That seems to me irrelevant– it’s a bad position regardless of who puts it forward, and I’ve seen men do it too. Second, I disagree about Clinton’s treatment by the media. she has done nothing to deserve the sexism of the coverage that she’s gotten. (Which is why we’ve criticised it.) However, I do agree that recently she and her campaign have behaved very badly toward Obama, and I find their race-baiting really reprehensible. She very much deserves to be criticised for that.

  14. Could we just clarify whom we are trashing now? Pappas is president of NOW-NY, which is NOT really a “local chapter,” it’s a state chapter. NOW-NYC, which has a different president, is a local chapter, but as far as anything has been said, has not had anything to do with the press release.

    NOW-NY is located in Albany, where jonolan appears to allege there’s a possibly poluting GLBT community. Alternatively, perhaps jonolan is confused about which group he is talking about. That’s a bit careless.

  15. Jonolan, sorry for the confusion; I guess I was thinking of your comment

    I live in NY and have experienced the behavior and rhetoric of the local NOW organization.

    Jender, good idea! As I say frequently, “Please take the trash out.” :)

  16. Actually, I would have picked on the suggestion that there’s something wrong with close connections to the GLBT community. Anyway, this is my final contribution to this discussion, which has gone on way too long.

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