In Which I Express A Brief Desire to Commit Violence Against Women

January 16, 2008


That’s Gloria Steinem, apparently protesting US Imperialism and women’s oppression in Iran. Photograph, apparently not recent.

In further violation of my usual obsessive focus on my own daily problems, I feel that I must once again rant about events taking place in the world outside my own tiny universe.

Much blogspace has already been spent criticizing feminist icon Gloria Steinem for her recent oped in the New York Times which made the argument, after Obama’s Iowa victory, that Clinton lost because “gender is probably the most restricting force in American life.” No more needs to be said about the article’s bizarre leade in which Steinem argues that because a fictitious Black woman (Carol Moseley Braun? Shirley Chisholm?) would have a harder time being elected to the presidency than Obama, that this somehow tells us something about whether Clinton’s gender is more of a political problem for her than Obama’s race is for him. I’ll leave such thoughtful, non-violent, reactions to the commentators linked above, and in the capable hands of a Princeton professor below.

In response to the controversy surrounding the piece, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! hosted an on-air debate between Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Harris-Lacewell is a professor of politics and African-American studies at a fancy Ivy-league school, and Steinem, as you know is a founder of Ms. Magazine. Go listen to it.

Frankly, I’m surprised Harris-Lacewell didn’t punch Gloria Steinem in the face. I wanted to. I would have, I wasn’t decidedly too distant from the “firehouse studio” to make it down there before my rage subsided into persistent heartburn.

Because, at first, when you listen to this debate, you feel sorry for Gloria. Because, it seems, she kind of just doesn’t really get what she is being criticized for. Kind of like how your old, sweet grandma doesn’t understand it when you tell her you never want to have children or that you actually prefer red wine when it is not stored in the fridge between pours.

But then you realize. Gloria Steinem has been doing politics for nearly four decades. She wrote her op-ed with a political strategy in mind for the Democratic primary. She has probably met all of the authors of your favorite books on feminism, and all your historical heroes who fought to link women’s oppression to the greater project of human liberation, and probably all at the same party. A party at which she probably told them they are all completely ungrateful and wrong, and then returned to calmly sipping Chardonnay.

You imagine this and then you realize, Gloria Steinem is not stupid. And yet she seems to be stupid. You think; Gloria Steinem is not stupid, she is merely pretending to be stupid.

Gloria Steinem. Is Pretending. To Be Stupid.

Gloria Steinem is pretending to be stupid.

And then you want to punch her.

2 Responses to “In Which I Express A Brief Desire to Commit Violence Against Women”

  1. katakuris said

    aiyaaaa! where’s a new post m’lady? your restless fans are gettin more restless!!!

  2. […] that the Clinton camp has thus far avoided racist innuendo, insult and implication. Hardly. But if Barak Obama is crowned presumptive nominee, I think we can expect […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: