Thursday, October 18, 2007

Musings on Clinton

I hate to rehash this old argument, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes when I saw this story in the Globe today. I wish that we lived in a world where, if a woman were running for president, the only thing relevant about that is that you have to refer to her as "madam" or "madam" instead of "sir." But we don't live in that world. Instead, we live in a world where there are endless articles about how Clinton is a woman, Clinton is a feminist, and the oh-so-popular CNN tagline "Is Clinton feminine enough?"

As a feminist, I recognize Clinton's accomplishments, but I also recognize her failings and hawkishness when it comes to foreign policy. But with endless stories about her gender, and her appeals to women based on her gender, it's really hard for gender to not be a factor in the election. The Globe story pointed out things I've found to all be anecdotally true. For example, "But analysts also see a political calculation: She is less popular among older, married women who are more likely to prefer a more traditional role for women. Clinton's focus on women this week was a bid to consolidate her support among female voters, who account for much of her lead in many polls." I heard a friend recently refer to a Midwestern relative that fits this description exactly. Come to think of it, my mom might, too. It's frustrating, though, to see women be so judgmental of other women. Men's personal lives (see Rudy Giuliani) have little to do with their professional electability.

Calculated by the Clinton campaign or not, I wished I lived in a world where I didn't have to read such stories and could judge candidates on their policy proposals and experience, rather than on their gender or personas. It seems, though, that I will have to endure this for as long as Clinton is running for president, and perhaps if another woman runs for president, too.

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