Hillary’s Woes Show That Young Women ‘Get’ Feminism

by Heather Robinson


From The New York Post


Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir. Angela Merkel. Indira Gandhi.

Most of us don’t recall the names of these women’s husbands. Surely they had help from mentors, as all successful people do — but they got to the top without marriage to a powerful man.

Hillary Clinton? Not so much.

The great irony of Clinton’s recent trouble with young women — rival Bernie Sanders won about 70 percent of women under 45 in the New Hampshire primary — is that it might mean women are listening to feminist doctrine after all. As second-wave feminists were fond of saying, the personal is the political, meaning that there are connections between one’s personal experiences and larger political and social realities.

By now most of the country knows that Clinton and her proxies engaged in a strikingly tone-deaf effort to guilt-trip young women into hopping on a retro feminist bandwagon.

Madeleine Albright announced, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” and feminist icon Gloria Steinem suggested to HBO’s Bill Maher that many progressive young women are thinking about voting for Sanders because of their hormones.

Young women interviewed at random last week around New York City, many of whom happen to be progressive and leaning toward supporting Sanders, weren’t buying the guilt trip.

“For someone on her team to say I’ll go to hell if I don’t vote for Hillary Clinton — I can see how a lot of women would be offended by that,” said Rebecca Sturcken, 23, a waitress and student at Borough of Manhattan Community College. “That was a counterproductive statement by Albright. Who’s to say [Hillary] represents the face of feminism? If someone supports Sanders or Trump, that is their business and their right.”

“I was more offended by Steinem saying young women are going where the boys are,” said Erica Astanehasl, 32, a speech therapist from Brooklyn Heights. “I’m shocked . . . and I don’t think it’s true. It matters what the issues are. I think Bernie Sanders has women’s issues in mind.”

Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder, if Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman president, what will we tell our daughters, nieces and granddaughters about her past, including the Lewinsky years, when she stood by her husband as he lied about an affair with a 22-year-old intern?

How “feminist” was it of Hillary Clinton, whose proxies are demanding that women stick together, to disparage then-22-year-old Monica Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon” — rather than to ditch her then-49-year-old husband, a man who surely should have known better?

Or how she treated her husband’s alleged sexual-assault victims? She called his accusers “trash” in 1992; both Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick report being threatened by Hillary — Willey even claiming detectives hired by Hillary threatened her children as well.

We’ve all known the woman who, in reaction to her husband’s or boyfriend’s wandering eyes and infidelities, blames the woman he has in his sights rather than dump the guy. We may understand her and forgive, but do we admire her behavior?

No — we see her as weak, and certainly not a stellar example of feminism or defender of the dignity of women.

It might sound progressive to say you don’t care what someone does in his or her private life, but if private behavior contradicts what you’ve built your public career on, your convictions will be questioned — and legitimately so. That appears to be what’s happening to Clinton right now, and it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

On the campaign trail, she doesn’t directly trade on her status as Bill’s wife. Yet it’s always there. She is married to Bill Clinton, beloved by some, despised by others, and indisputably a powerful man to whom she has chosen to remain yoked for decades despite his poor treatment of many women, including Hillary herself.

Plus she certainly does trade on her time as first lady to make the case for her experience, that she knows how things work from the inside. It’s thus impossible not to notice that “standing by her man” was a fabulous career move.

Is that inspiring? Is feminism about ambition and toughness alone? Or is it also about ethics and the dignity of women?

If we elect Hillary Clinton, what message are we sending to little girls about what it takes for a woman to make it to the top in 2016?

These are the questions Clinton’s campaign seems finally unable to avoid.