First of all, this response is not an attack on Joan Walsh, Hillary supporters, her political views, her daughter or anything else.
What this is, is a response based off of my personal feelings this article brought up as I read it.
I disagree with the notion that a woman that does not support Hillary Clinton is somehow “not ready” for a woman president. This narrative suits Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and is supported by some versions of feminist theories. I believe though, that this is a false dichotomy and a disservice to women, especially women of color.
I also took issue with the view that a distrust of Hillary Clinton is an anti-woman view which to me appears to be the sub-point of her critique of the young man that declared millennials the generation of Bernie Sanders. She compares this critique to that of the 2008 primary. I understand that men and women are held to different standards and that Hillary Clinton faces issues that the male candidates do not. I respect that completely and an analysis of this is worthwhile but dismissing critique as anti-feminist ignores the core issue.
This is the quote,
Yes, the “likability” issue. I found myself thinking: Not again. Why the hell does she have to put up with this again?
Here’s the thing, this is a real issue. I would not classify it as a “likability” issue for myself personally but a trust issue. There are many valid reasons that I feel a level of distrust for Hillary Clinton that are based on things regarding more than just her policies, past and present. I discuss this in my piece Why Some Feminists are Choosing an Old White Guy over Hillary and for the sake of space I will not get into it here.
Another point of contention for me is the statement that the Hillary supporters, specifically millennials are somehow being erased. This is intriguing because it appears to be both anecdotal and based on personal experience. I have no problem with that but in the spirit of sharing personal experience, as a woman of color I have some experience with being erased. As a Bernie supporter I have experience being erased, by everyone from mainstream media to Hillary Clinton herself.
I disagree with the Bernie supporters that have attacked both Joan Walsh, and her daughter. I am happy to debate but I refuse to descend into negative attacks, and trolling. If I won’t do it in real life, I certainly will not do it online.
I will speak to the nepotism claims though. I believe that both young women discussed in the article are capable and worthy of any positions that they hold and I think that it shouldn’t be an issue in that aspect. However that is different from the positions of opportunity and privilege. There are many capable, worthy, young women of color that are not privy to the sort of connections and privilege that are available to these young women.
This is the same privilege that is prevalent throughout white feminism. This same privilege focuses on reproductive autonomy exclusively while completely neglecting other issues that are important to minority women such as access to housing, education, healthcare, and employment. This feminism is not intersectional and does not take into consideration the criminal justice system or the challenges inherent in higher education that limits the generational mobility the likes of which these young women can take for granted.
Again, this is not an attack on Joan Walsh or her daughter and their peers but it is frustrating and hurtful that as a feminist my voice is silenced for not supporting Hillary.
It is disappointing that my thought out and purposeful decision to support Bernie Sanders is taken instead as a failure to support women and that in my company are “vile, entitled young men.”I have spoken to Bernie supporters, and my feminist fiancee is one of them and I can assure you that he is not entitled or vile.
More than that though there is an assumption that we are all white, with easy lives who have just taken for granted the feminist movement. This is a common thread among Hillary supporters and it is why I wrote the aforementioned article.
The fact of the matter is that male, female, transgender, white, latino, asian, black, etc we are not having an easy go of it.
How much reproductive choice do we have when we are delaying families and home ownership because of student loans and a stagnant economy?
How much generational mobility can we obtain when higher education is not worth the money but is still necessary to be licensed or just to find some type of employment?
How many jobs are available to us when internships are unpaid but required for many professions?
To take it personal again, I am a marriage and family therapist in training. I also work multiple jobs, have a family and go to school full-time. I have thousands of dollars worth of student loans because a master’s degree is considered “optional” by our government.
There is a systemic failure on the part of colleges to keep costs low enough to where I would not need to accept minimum wage just to get my tuition paid. This is one of the many reasons why minorities are underrepresented in higher education. So many students are struggling trying to be the best in whatever their studies are while trying to survive. Therefore demanding free tuition is not entitled but a demand for equal opportunities. It is not so we can be lazy but so that we can work better jobs and get more experience in our fields. It is so we can live our education rather than just muddle through it as we take on the increasing amounts of responsibility inherent in a failed economy.
We are not entitled, we are angry.
The progressives have failed us time and time again. We are competing against our parents, and grandparents for entry level jobs that pay less and less year after year. We are mocked by politicians for pursuing careers in the helping professions. We are watching our parents struggle to afford a mortgage if they’re “lucky” while also paying thousands of dollars a year to the “Affordable Care Act” or just watching them get saddled with thousands of medical bills instead.
I get that this may not be universal. Like I said things can be, and often are tougher for people of color.
The reality is though that Hillary is not speaking to people like me, she chooses to speak to the elite. She chooses to do expensive fundraisers where one plate can cover my tuition or healthcare for my self-employed dad. That is her choice and I respect it, I don’t hate her but I am disappointed in her. In my core I would love to see a woman president. I believe in equality of the sexes and I am damn sure a woman can be commander in chief of this country, but I do not believe in Hillary.
I am not with her and she is not with me.
I am not her target population and I am silenced when pundits say minorities are in the bag for Hillary. That is untrue. We are not uneducated, and afraid. We are strong, and we are standing up to demand a country that works for all not just those lucky enough to be born into capital, or the CEO’s that have siphoned off the wealth for themselves.
So to conclude this response, I just want to say we will not be silenced! We demand pay equity, reproductive, economic, educational, institutional freedom. Bernie supporters are not all the same. I am a latina, intersectional feminist, mom, grad student, therapist, atheist, millennial, and more and one label does not suffice for me. I support the candidate that I believe has the integrity, passion, and conviction to create a lasting revolution that has mobilized disillusioned Americans like myself into deciding to invest into this archaic and corrupt system of government that we have. We are not going anywhere. We will fight for our future, whether it is against CEO’s on Wall Street, the GOP, lobbyists, or Donald Trump. So Joan Walsh, I hope that you read this and are better able to understand not only Bernie’s appeal but your own privilege.