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Monday, February 15, 2016
Hillary's 'Woman Problem'
Hillary Clinton And The Failure Of Gender-Tribal Feminism
Clinton was sporadically booed at the debate held on February 11, 2016. Why? The ongoing identity crisis that is thrashing contemporary feminism—is it more important to be loyal to one’s gender-tribe or to someone who is a “better” feminist, regardless of gender? The issue came up when one of the moderators asked Clinton to respond to a comment made by another former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at an earlier Clinton rally in New Hampshire. Said Albright:
“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
Clinton wouldn’t explicitly condemn Albright or the statement, an almost Trumpist move on her part in terms of sticking to her guns:
“She’s been saying that for as long as I’ve known her, which is about 25 years, We have to empower everyone, women and men, to make the best decisions they can make. I have spent my entire adult life to make sure that women are empowered to make decisions, even if that decision is not to vote for me.”
And in vanilla New Hampshire, they decisively selected against her; Sanders won a majority of female voters in the state, and 82% of women under thirty. For feminists who place gender-tribe over policy preferences, this is a disaster and these women are traitors. But it also says something about how fragile the concept of gender-tribes is in the first place.
As the establishment has a priori accepted, Clinton will win the black vote. But recall, however, that she did not win the 2008 Democratic primary. Why? Because she had to compete with a black Democrat. Ethnic loyalty is a tribalism that actually works. Barack Obama won the black vote by a landslide; Clinton was put in the cuck shed (this time, only metaphorically). She will get it now because ((((Sanders)))) is neither a reliable gibs dispenser to the black community (he is from Vermont), nor is he black. Gender-tribal identity is purely theoretical when it comes to political identification. Women may come together on some issues, but women are not a blood and soil people with a shared history and culture. Those who smugly refer to nations as ((((imagined communities)))) need to take a step back and look at some of their own imagined political identity groups: e.g. feminists, LGBT, etc. These simply do not hold up politically—even feminists have lately begun to promote something they call “intersectionality,” which consists of inserting racial identity politics (and occasionally sexual identity politics) into feminism to give it more substance. For example, the preceding wave of feminism is criticized as being too ((((white))))) and not responsive enough to the special needs of women of color. Which of course means it isn’t gender-tribal feminism anymore; it’s ethnocentrism. The more self-aware feminists seem to know gender-tribalism is insufficient.
But back to Clinton’s abysmal performance with liberal White women—the feminism they value is gibsmedat-based, not gender-tribal. They want quotas, they want women to be mandated higher pay, they want on-demand no-strings-attached baby disposal, and they want free sociology degrees; and they don’t care if it is a man or a woman who gives it to them. This sets them apart from black Democrats (including black feminists and the #BlackLivesMatter movement), who want gibs but also want power for their group whenever they can get it. A black candidate who offers gibs locks down the black vote. A woman who offers some gibs but not enough cannot win the “feminist” vote. (Though I have to wonder if liberal millennial White women would pick a black lesbian with the same exact policies as Clinton over Sanders in order to signal their progressiveness).
For both Democrats and Republicans, the election is turning out to be a referendum on two kinds of identity politics. The first is ideological, which includes concepts like feminism and conservatism and Evangelical Protestantism as being the basis of one’s tribe and its voting patterns. But among non-White voters, identity politics is, well, identity-based. The majority of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and overseas Israelis vote for the same party. And the majority of White people vote for the other party, though explicit appeals to Whiteness remain to be heard. For the time being, implicit White populism only exists in the form of Trumpist patriotism and nativism. It is an era in which both feminists and cuckservatives are struggling to find a footing.