Far be it from me to defend women who think Bernie Sanders is exactly the type of person we need to change the course of this country. (I think he's got the same sense of direction as the Titanic's navigator.) However, while I certainly don't feel the Bern, I respect the people who do. In fact, even though I've been surprised at how many voters support Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, I wouldn't call them stupid. The candidates? Perhaps. The supporters? "Nyet," to quote Donald's friend and Bernie's associate, Vlad Putin.
Sadly, there is a rather vocal and irritated group of people who think that anyone who casts their vote for the senator from Vermont is doing so because it will make them much more attractive to the college guys at keg parties. People like Gloria Steinem, who during a recent interview with Bill Maher, said the following: "Women are more for (Clinton) than men are. … First of all, women get more radical as we get older, because we experience … I don't mean to over-generalize … but men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women get more radical because they lose power as they age. … And when you're young, you're thinking, you know, 'Where are the boys?' The boys are with Bernie."
Now, even though I think she has done more to single-handedly destroy society than anyone who ever looked good in a pair of aviators, I'd never say Gloria is stupid. Seven Sisters grads are not stupid (writes a Seven Sisters grad). Plus, she later apologized for her "misunderstood" remarks.
But to imply that young women are like Sadie Hawkins, looking to snag a "may-un!" is both insulting and, surprisingly, politically incorrect. Because I'm sure that Gloria doesn't want to dismiss all of the budding lesbians out there who like Bernie. And I'm equally certain that she doesn't think all "boys" are embroidering the red sickle on their lapels. I mean, there have to be a few who'll be pulling the lever for Trump, right?
So this momma of modern feminism is either having a senior moment (she's 81, after all), or she really doesn't give a damn about insulting women who disagree with her view of the world. I'm actually leaning toward the latter suggestion for two reasons. First, there are a lot of 81-year-olds with sass and savvy and who can kick Beyonce's taut butt. More importantly, Gloria and her feminist faithful have never had a problem attacking women who disagree with them, particularly pro-life conservative women. As I said to my friend Lisa DePaulo, a woman I admire significantly more than Gloria, I've been disrespected a lot more by my progressive sisters than by the men I've encountered in my professional career. As a 54-year-old woman, I'm clearly not the demographic Steinem was referring to when she said the ladies are thinking, "Where are the boys?" (I'm not aiming to be a Mary Kay Letourneau, after all.) I have probably suffered sexism if I really think about it. But I have had more vitriol thrown at me by feminists who are apoplectic about how ungrateful I am to the women on whose shoulders I allegedly stand. Frankly, if I really did stand on their shoulders, I'd make sure to wear stilettos because, let's face it, there is no love lost between me and the National Organization for Women and NARAL Pro-Choice Ameria. But that's neither here nor there. Expecting a woman to vote with her ovaries is wrong, regardless of past experience. Lisa makes a good point, though, when she says that the reason most young women aren't necessarily excited about a female president is that, "They haven't experienced sexism yet. Give them a year or two to get out of college and start a job. They'll get it then." Others have suggested that it's because women of Hillary's generation feel the sand running through the hourglass, whereas younger women feel that they have time and will eventually see a woman in the Oval Office (in a position significantly different than the one Monica Lewinsky once held, that is).
There is a lot of truth in both of these assertions, but I think it has much more to do with age than gender. So for Gloria to make that lame assertion that only young women are led by their libidos (when those Cialis commercials would suggest otherwise) is a sign that some people are desperate enough to eat their young in order to see Hillary in the White House.
I asked a young female friend of mine who supports Sanders for her take on the whole controversy, and this is what Angelique Zuppo had to say: "She needs to look into this research of hers if she thinks that young women are only voting for Bernie to get boys. I had a good laugh over that. It's actually a little insulting she thinks that."
Both Lisa and Angelique are smart women. I may not share their politics (I won't be voting for a Democrat this year) but I admire and respect them both. They don't go in for any type of group think. I don't admire Gloria, whose beliefs, if not her skin, are showing their age.
Christine M. Flowers
Philadelphia Daily News