So I owe you all a response to those very thoughtful comments on my Hillary post. I'll let you know where I ended up, but I'm a little worried that (i) I remain not terribly well informed on this, and (ii) not terribly well informed on up-to-date feminist theory - it's a long time since I read any. So please forgive any errors.
I think at least part of the reason that Hillary lost is due to misogyny. And I think that being a feminist means voting for/selecting/appointing a female candidate wherever possible - yes, even if the male candidate may, in some ways, look more qualified (although no, of course not if the woman candidate is clearly unqualified). You have to dissect why he looks more qualified and bear that against generations of prejudice. And no, I don't believe this weakens women and their cause. If you look at it the other way round, for hundreds, if not thousands of years in most positions, people (men) have believed they have a good reason for appointing a man. Of course he is better qualified. He is more rational. He has greater vision. His experience goes beyond hearth and home and raising children to issues of state. He is more intelligent. And so on. Some of these world views persist into today, almost without our noticing them. So we have to work to redress the balance, and only then we can go into a contest and not worry about gender, because we'll know that there is no aspect of our gender biases biasing our decision. But until women are 50% of the decision-makers in any particular institution, we are not equal, we are not being judged equally, and we should be aware of that and make decisions accordingly.
Let me tell you a story. My mother is an academic. In the late 1970s and 1980s she was a lecturer at a UK university. In early 1980 she was up for a promotion to senior lecturer in her department. She didn't get the job. When she asked for feedback, she was told that although she had been one of the two strongest candidates, they gave the job to the man concerned because after all, he had a family to feed. At the time my mother had 3 children. In 1983 she acted as head of department for a year while the existing head of department took a sabbatical. But she wasn't given the title head of department. The assistant to the old head of department told her she had taken minutes in the meeting where this was discussed, and the powers that be had decided not to formally appoint her interim head of department because if they had, she would have had to be appointed to the university's guiding council, and she would have been the first woman there and they didn't want to set a precedent. In 1983. In 1986 she applied for a year's sabbatical and was denied as her teaching contribution was thought to be too important. Despite the fact that her direct contemporaries had both had a sabbatical in the last 3 years.
Yes, that was 25 years ago, but that's just one generation of university graduates, do you think we have removed ALL those attitudes just yet? I deal with sexism every day at work, in little ways. Much much less so than my mother, but present nonetheless. When one of my colleagues calls me 'strident', do you think he would make the same comment about a man? Have you looked at the composition of the boards of the Fortune 500 recently? At the composition of the US Senate? Of the UK House of Commons? Until those attitudes are all gone, I do think it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to redress the balance.
And yes, black men were often not included in that power base, so I quite see that this applies to discrimination against blacks as well. But in this case, I think the comments made against Obama (mostly) did not come from the world view that he had fewer of the qualities required for the job because he was black - almost the opposite. Whereas the concerns raised about Hillary did come from that world view. She's too aggressive. She's too political. She's not warm enough (aka, I don't like her enough), - not to mention those which were obviously sexist - calling her 'Mrs Clinton' where the other candidates were referred to as 'Firstname Lastname', jeers at debates of 'iron my shirt'. As this article at MSNBC points out, a jeer of 'shine my shoes' was never made at Obama. Racism is perhaps easier to spot, these days. None of those concerns would have been raised about a man. Yes, some of the concerns about her - particularly her earlier vote on the Iraq war and how she spoke about that subsequently, and the comment on the last post about how Hillary hadn't responded to a constituent - seemed quite gender-free. But many were not.
I also didn't think the comments about a Clinton dynasty were fair. She's married to the man, not descended from him. She's established a political career in her own right, using her own skills. I imagine that for some voters, the fact she had Bill on her side was a bonus, but for many others I imagine it wasn't - so I don't think it's reasonable to not vote for her because she is married to a politician.
So while I agree that misogyny wasn't solely responsible for her defeat, I absolutely believe that it was a contributor. Obama has clearly touched something that Americans need right now - a vision, an inspiration. But 'more qualified'? No, he simply isn't. He has less experience, and getting stuff done in politics takes experience. Many of his policies have less thinking behind them than Hillary's. I understand voting for the inspiration. I just don't know what a woman - any woman - would have had to have done to be seen as that kind of leader. It may be that Hillary just doesn't have the right skills to touch that nerve, but I also believe that as a woman, she had her work cut out for her to be seen in the role of visionary leader. People didn't want to see her in that role, they wanted the nurturing, emotionally open, vulnerable woman who displayed her feelings near the end of the campaign - and her numbers went up. But I don't think that's the whole story of who she is, she didn't maintain it and it was probably too late anyway.
So that's what I think. You all helped clarify my thoughts a lot, so thank you. I hope this won't be seen as an attack on any of your comments, you all voted thoughtfully, with concern for your country and the world as a whole. I'm someone who is watching from the outside, someone with a particular world view, and this is just my opinion.