The media blitz around Hillary Clinton’s campaign left the impression that “feminism” is a movement solely oriented toward electing middle-aged white women into high office. This would lend one to thinking that “feminists” would want to elect Sarah Palin vice president, no matter how bad her policies would be for ordinary women.
I then go on to point out that real feminists actually give a damn about policy and how it affects the lives of real women. Then, as if the universe is out to get me and make me feel stupid, I get an email forwarded from the NY NOW from Marcia Pappas. Yes, the very same one who threw an unseemly hissy fit when Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama. Who bitterly scolded Hillary Clinton for having the nerve to suggest that your vote should be about progress and people, not about hero-worship of Hillary Clinton. Which proves that Clinton could do no wrong….except endorse Barack Obama. And now this email crosses the line from being mildly funny to downright upsetting, especially since the media has managed to fix themselves another close election. Some other pseudo-feminist who puts voting for women above voting for women’s rights has republished the whole thing.
Many years ago, I read a book called “Women Who Love too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change” by Robin Norwood. It’s a book to help women look at why they might find it difficult to leave unhealthy relationships. So I got to thinking, what if we exchanged “men” for “the party?” I have often used this analogy when talking about my feelings and to explain why women have such difficulty holding their “party” accountable for its actions.
In the women’s movement, we often say the personal is political. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known that abusive relationships can extend beyond our personal relationships with individuals into our political lives. So let’s re-read Women Who Love Too Much, substituting “the party” for “men.” It will show the dynamics of some current events, so I urge you to take this test I send, with love and a desire to empower women. Women inside and outside the women’s movement, please ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you find yourself attracted again and again to a troubled, distant, party?
2. Do you obsess over a party that is emotionally unavailable, addicted to power, money, alcohol, or other women?
3. Do you neglect your friends and your own interests, your ethics, and ideals to be immediately available to the party?
And so on and so forth. It’s deeply fucked up. First of all, Norwood’s book is a classic bit of sexist self help trash that Susan Faludi expertly destroyed in Backlash. But it’s worse than that. To her credit, Norwood did accurately describe the helpless loop women get into when they’re entangled in emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive relationships. (The sexism came later in her diagnosis and solutions, which Faludi dismantles.) Which means that Pappas is using the experience of abuse victims to concern troll female Democrats. Which frankly, I think is victim-blaming abuse victims. Because Pappas isn’t actually concerned about us. She’s angry and bitter and is saying, “Nyeh nyeh you’re being treated like an abuse victim and I’m not because you’re stupid.” Calling someone an abuse victim as an insult is insinuating that abuse victims have anything to be ashamed about, as if they did something wrong.
This seething hatred Marcia Pappas has for Barack Obama has really crossed a line this time. I’m usually loathe to say this, but perhaps Pappas needs to reconsider her continuing spot as the president of NY NOW if she can’t behave in a professional manner. She’s not issuing these paranoid emails from a personal account or personal blog. She’s speaking in her capacity of president. And frankly, I’m shocked at the utter lack of concern she’s showing for the rights and quality of life of your average American woman, which will suffer under John McCain.