Are US women so angry that they would allow McCain to take the Presidency? a post on another UU blog asks breathlessly*. He goes on to explain that women who don't like Obama, by, you know, not supporting a candidate they don't like, are "playing into an age-old trick of stereotyping strong women as insane."
Clearly these foolish women should be showing how sane they are by supporting the guy that the blogger wants them to. Then they wouldn't be playing into anybody's tricks at all, right? Right?
The thing is, despite years of pressure and some might argue indoctrination from the ChaliceRelative**, I didn't particularly see myself as a feminist until this campaign season began. I still don't like some of the hills mainstream feminism often chooses to die on, especially the linguistic ones, but I am more and more coming to get that society completely sucks when it comes to these issues and people really do accept and repeat crazy ideas about women without giving them the slightest rational examination.
(And I know using this campaign to make racism/sexism comparisons is pretty tired at this point, but do you really think that if Hillary had won, Slate would be printing articles about angry, irrational black people?)
The blogger seems to be getting this stuff from a Slate column by Dahlia Lithwick (whom one assumes is an Obama supporter, so you can trust in her sanity despite her apparent strength and apparent ovaries) writes a long column about "PUMAs" or, as she puts it "Hillary Harridans." She compares their image to that of Cruella DeVil and Lady McBeth, and, of course, Snow White's wicked stepmother and she makes lots of dramatic declarations like that they are "embracing the same she-devil stereotypes they once claimed to resent."
Lithwick, whom I suspect had this column nearly written before she turned up this article, is at least honest enough to link to a Columbia Journalism Review article that explains that poll numbers don't actually support the conclusion that these women, you know, exist in statistically significant numbers***.
Or, to give it to you in the words of the Columbia Journalism Review:
But back in June, when the primary wounds were the most raw, a Washington Post/ABC poll made a startling finding. Yes, 37 percent of Clinton supporters were considering voting for McCain or staying home on election day. However, this was not because anger about the campaign’s gender dynamics. “Obama is not disproportionately weaker among Clinton supporters who comprised her core groups, such as women, seniors and working-class whites,” it found. “Instead he’s losing those who value strength and experience over change, who doubt Obama’s qualifications and who see him as a risky choice—mirroring his challenges among all adults more broadly.”
And again, this was back in June when the Hillary supporters were most pissed. (For example, June is when I wrote this.)
The CJR article sums up their findings succinctly with:
But the angry-women-will-sink-Obama myth is yet another example of the media confusing activist opinion with public opinion in general. And public opinion generally defies such a simple—if dramatic—storyline.
But hey, that's not nearly as much fun as the "crazy bitch Hillary Clinton supporter" stereotype, is it?
I don't particularly expect more from the media.
I do expect more from UUs. (Which I probably shouldn't, after all, UUs are human and subject to the same culture everybody else is. But we are supposed to be refining stuff through reason and thinking things through and to me the "huge numbers of Clinton supporters are determined to sink the election" stuff doesn't even SOUND plausible to me.)
*I'm going on a rant here, so I will spare this guy a link. You're a smart person, you can find it if you care so much. He more or less parrots what Lithwick says and I do link to her.
**The Chalicerelative uses "you're a bad feminist" as an insult totally without irony, and has done so since I was a little kid.
***Though I swear to God sanctimonious Obama supporters are tempting me. No, I'm not going to retract my declaration that I'm voting for Obama and go become a PUMA. But I do feel that by making Hillary supporters' inferiority such a natural assumption, people like Lithwick and the UU blogger are contributing to a sense of learned helplessness that might not unreasonably lead one to a conclusion that if one is going to be thought crazy anyway, one might as well play the part.