“Postfeminism and Other Fairy Tales”

This interesting article in the New York Times is well worth the read.  The author, Kate Zernike, tries to put together the impact of both the mysogynistic attacks on Hillary and the travesty of Spitzler on generational divides among feminists.  She suggests many young women have thought that the US was beyond gender discrimination.  And it is true that some women seem to have gotten the message that the power and responsibiity is theirs, a belief less for their convenience, surely, than for that of a discriminatory culture that does not want the blame.  (I remember uphappily a meeting at which a local young female chamber of commerce administrator insisted that women professors themselves were responsible for the fact that women hold almost no academic leadership positions in our university.  “You need to work on yourselves,” she asserted.  Ouch!)

Is that changing?

Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia and director of its sexuality and gender law clinic, called the current climate “a perfect storm.”

“I’m not such a Mars-Venus person but this is one of those moments where gender is at least a partial explanation, it affects how people hear campaign rhetoric, how people see political downfalls,” Ms. Goldberg said. “Even people who were unwilling to see it before are more likely to acknowledge the pervasiveness of sex stereotypes.”

Younger women, for their part, are starting to have what Ms. Goldberg calls “the aha moment” — even if it doesn’t put them in Mrs. Clinton’s column, as some of the welter of commentary last week found.

Why don’t younger women see what Kath Pollitt is described as articulating? That is,

“The hysterical insults flung at Hillary Clinton are just a franker, crazier version of the everyday insults — shrill, strident, angry, ranting, unattractive — that are flung at any vaguely liberal mildly feminist woman who shows a bit of spirit and independence,” she [Pollitt] wrote, “who puts herself out in the public realm, who doesn’t fumble and look up coyly from underneath her hair and give her declarative sentences the cadence of a question.”

“Every woman I know who calls herself a feminist, or is even just doing well, especially in a field in which men also contend,” Ms. Pollitt wrote, “deals with some version of this.”

We’re offered a dismal explanation:

Noreen Malone on The XX Factor, the Slate magazine blog written by women wrote] “The most powerful people in the world are old white men and pretty young women.”

“During my supposedly post-feminist lifetime, the women who’ve created the biggest stir are the young women who’ve ruined the careers of powerful old men,” she wrote.

Some power.