Friday, May 9, 2008

Susan Faludi in the NYT

Susan Faludi (author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women) has an op-ed in the Times this morning on Hillary Clinton's willingness to cross the gender barrier between fighters and rule-enforcers (i.e. players and umpires ... etc.)

Interesting idea ... and clearly she is constrained by the Opinions editor, who must have kept her word count in check. However ... some examples of Hillary leaning on the rules and some examples of her later fighting 'like on of the boys' would have made the article more persuasive. (Does that sound obnoxious? I tutored writing in college ... forgive me).

The beginning, though, offers an insightful observation:

NOTABLE in the Indiana and North Carolina primary results and in many recent polls are signs of a change in the gender weather: white men are warming to Hillary Clinton — at least enough to vote for her. It’s no small shift. These men have historically been her fiercest antagonists. Their conversion may point less to a new kind of male voter than to a new kind of female vote-getter.

Pundits have been quick to attribute the erosion in Barack Obama’s white male support to a newfound racism. What they have failed to consider is the degree to which white male voters witnessing Senator Clinton’s metamorphosis are being forced to rethink precepts they’ve long held about women in American politics.

We do tend to hear that white votes for Hillary indicate racism of some sort ... which they might. But the idea that men are shifting their perception of women features less prominently in that discussion. (Though of course the two aren't mutually exclusive ... the idea that equality for women and equality for minorities is a zero-sum game is not new). Maybe that is because it would require an admission that sexism is a problem. Hmm. I won't hold my breath.

(Side comment: this photo isn't really related ... I just love it. She looks like the life of the party).

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