Jill at Feministe responds to a Clinton candidacy autopsy in the Washington Post by Linda Hirshman on the future of feminism. By all means, read the whole thing, because there is much for the brain to munch on; but I liked this bit here where Jill responds to Hirshman’s thesis that feminism got bogged down by concerns of race, class, and sexuality, inhibiting strategic alliances among various groups:
But my main concern comes at the way the issues are split into authentic “feminist” issues and those “other” issues that those “other” women are trying to integrate into feminism. It’s a question of who feminism belongs to, and who is entitled to set out its goals and concerns. I view feminism as a collective, where women of all backgrounds can set the agendas and push the movement forward. I don’t think feminism has to be a unified force on all fronts; I don’t think it’s main purpose is to get the right Democrats elected. Electing progressive politicians is a crucial goal for some parts of the feminist movement, but it’s not the be-all end-all to the movement. And since I see feminism as ideally offering equal space for women of all backgrounds, I don’t see why middle-class white women’s issues are more purely feminist that the issues raised by poor women or Black women or Hispanic women, or any other group of women. The issues that disproportionately effect middle-class white women are also issues colored by race and class — but because they’re the dominant race and the dominant class, that gets glossed over. It seems to me to be an unfair double standard. And it seems to me that white middle-class feminists shouldn’t be doing the same thing that the white guys have always done: We should not be telling other women to forgo their issues for the ones we deem important. We should not be telling other women to wait their turn. We should not construct a movement that assumes “woman” to only represent one narrow construction of womanhood.