From the lowering-the-glass-ceiling-and-making-chauvinists-cackle file, I give you what is either a completely lunatic breakdown by a NOW press flack or a brilliant political dirty trick. To wit, a press release from NOW of New York regarding Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama:
“Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.
“And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one) . . . ."
And so on in that vein. Politico claims that it's confirmed with NOW the authenticity of the release.
When I first read it, I figured that it was political agitprop — a fake press release sent out to make NOW (and, by extension, Hillary Clinton) look foolish. I checked the NOW-NY site and saw they didn't list it among their press releases. However, that's when I saw that they did list this press release by the same purported author, Marcia Pappas:
Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary is Proof We Need a Woman President
January 11, 2008
Search Site With
by Marcia Pappas, President NOW – New York State
We've all witnessed scenarios where, on the playground little girls are being taunted by little boys while both girls and boys stand idle, afraid to speak up or even cheering. Or, in the workplace males tease young and older female co-workers; make obscene gestures, inappropriate comments, laughing and expecting (often correctly) that everyone will join in. Then there was that movie where Jodie Foster portrayed the true story of woman who was ganged raped in a bar while others looked on and encouraged the realization. Still others pretended the rape didn't happen. In short, gang raping of women is commonplace in our culture both physically and metaphorically.
This past week, we witnessed just such a phenomenon involving men who are afraid of a powerful woman.
And so on, in that (using the term extremely deliberately) hysterical vein. In other words, criticism of Clinton, a candidate for President, is a gang-bang.
What a Victorian sensibility about the treatment of women.
So, the new press release seems entirely consistent. If it is agitprop, it is brilliant agitprop — expertly calculated to draw attention to the fact that even if Marcia Pappas didn't release this specific demented rant about opposition to Clinton, she's released other demented rants.
Pappas demonstrates exactly why I feel that feminism (defined, IMO, as the support of the legal and social equality of women, interest in how formal and informal barriers hinder that equality, and openness to discussions of how those barriers should be addressed) cannot possibly mean devotion to the agendas of the well-known entities that purport to represent women. Pappas' freakish explosions — which are clearly purely partisan rather than legitimately feminist — are an embarrassment.
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