The Triumph of Patriarchy

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 · 60 Comments »
Rick Warren delivers the Inaugural invocation.

Rick Warren delivers the Inaugural invocation.

The dominant narrative of Barack Obama’s inauguration is that it represents the triumph of civil rights for African-Americans. And it does, undeniably. It’s a transcendent moment in America’s tortured history of race relations.

But there’s another, unacknowledged narrative. This one is about the role of men and women in the world, and about shoring up the patriarchal order. It’s about putting women in their place.

Throughout the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama’s candidacy was framed as America’s chance to elect the first black man to the highest office in the land. That was the narrative that dominated the media and shaped the public’s response. But the nation also had a chance last year to elect the first woman president or vice-president. That opportunity, however, was rejected, and not just at the ballot box. There was no glowing media narrative about women’s rights, no discussion of how the nation could redeem its history of female oppression and finally live up to the spirit of equality.

What we saw instead was a mass outpouring of sexism. Clinton was crucified as a nag and a bitch. Palin was ridiculed as a bimbo. Both candidates were routinely referred to as “cunts.” Feminism-free women raced to distance themselves from the two pariahs, affirming loudly that they would much rather support the gloriously historic candidacy of Barack Obama.

The message was clear. America was ready to take a momentous step in its racial history and scrub away at least some of the stain of second-class citizenship from black men. But the story for women — all women, of all races — was quite different. There would be no liberation for women from their prescribed roles, no elevation to a place of equality with men. The Hillary Nutcracker and the Sarah Palin Inflatable Sex Doll told us everything we needed to know about women’s proper place in America’s social order.

The Inauguration on Tuesday reflected both narratives. On one level it was a joyous celebration of racial progress, the realization of a long-cherished dream. But the secondary, implied message was that last year’s threat to the patriarchal order had been successfully squelched. The new president is a man — a darker-skinned man than before, but still a man. His wife, who has already announced that her only role will be as “mom-in-chief,” promises to be a First Lady in the mold of Jackie Kennedy or even Mamie Eisenhower. (Given that Michelle Obama declines to call herself a feminist, and said last year that a woman with an adulterous husband isn’t fit to be president, this is perhaps not surprising.) The invocation was delivered by Rick Warren, the nation’s most high-profile advocate for the belief that women belong under their husbands’ thumbs. And Obama was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, an anti-feminist who argues that women don’t even deserve equal pay for equal work. Of course Obama didn’t choose Roberts to officiate, as he did Warren, but he is on record with his keen admiration for the man.

President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts shake hands.

President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts shake hands.

What we’re celebrating this week, then, is that our patriarchy is now officially biracial. That’s certainly a tremendous improvement, but let’s do be realistic about what it means — and what it doesn’t mean. In a patriarchy, women derive their status from men. Men are the primary agents of power, with women in the role of subsidiary satellites. With Barack Obama in the White House, this basic structure hasn’t changed; it’s just that the composition of the classes is new. Black boys, like white boys, can now realistically aspire to be president. And black girls, like white girls, can now realistically aspire to be…the First Lady. That’s how patriarchy works.

On the bright side, these things do follow a pattern. In the past, progress for black men has always been followed by progress for women (of all races), even if a lag of several decades intervened. Black men were granted the Constitutional right to vote in 1870, and suffrage for women was written into law 50 years later.

So perhaps history will repeat itself. Maybe in another half century America will finally elect its first woman president.

60 Responses to “The Triumph of Patriarchy”

  1. Lisa says:

    Set off the fireworks and release the balloons! Yay! A biracial patriarchy! Now all men and little boys are equal in this country!

  2. Nadai says:

    Maybe in another half century America will finally elect its first woman President.

    If so, I hope someone comes to my graveside and leaves a note.

  3. purplefinn says:

    You nailed it. So refreshing to have it said. The truth shall set us free. I want to sign up for the posthumous instant messaging too.

  4. DancingOpossum says:

    Dayum. There’s not a single word that could be changed to improve this, and I say this as a professional (and heartless) word-changer. Wonderful.

  5. Alwaysthinking says:

    A beautiful and accurate description of what has just happened to us — and a deeply depressing picture of how oppression has been validated. I really want to ask every man how he can be happy with continuing to support the lie that women are lesser beings meant to be slaves with no right to their own happiness in this world. Every time the new president’s smirk shows up on my website (way too often), I am reminded that too many men just don’t get it and don’t care — and some, such as he, relish in the ill-begotten victory.

  6. sister of ye says:

    The thing I get a sardonic chuckle from is the fact that this paragon of racial progress is no darker than my two oldest, white brothers. Also that he’s the descendant of white American slave holders, not African slaves.

    If Shirley Chisolm had been elected in 1972, that would have racial (and women’s) progress. If Jesse Jackson had been elected in 1984 or 1988, that would have been racial progress. Hell, I’m tryiing to figure out where all that historic support was hiding for fellow black Chicagoan Carol Mosely Brown in 2004.

    If a light-skinned Obama is elected on the basis of strong support among young voters who’ve had black rappers and sports stars marketed to them as heroes their entire lives, eh, not so historic. Just another pitchman selling Hope and Change instead of sneakers – and motivated by his own bottom line.

  7. gxm17 says:

    Beautiful post. Put me down for postmortem notification. Younger readers, raise a glass to those who aren’t around to celebrate with you.

    Alwaysthinking, it was a very depressing eye-opener to see so many men (and women) embrace their inner misogynist. There are far too many people in my little universe who I will never be able to see in the same light as I did before the election. Now I know what they really think of me and my kind.

  8. Unree says:

    I think 50 years from now is about right for when it’ll happen–and damn skippy the public will hear NO triumphant narrative before or after this woman wins. Our heroine will be not only conservative but “controversial,” probably “divisive.” The inauguration will have a somber tone–no giddy squealing like, say, the NY Times’s special extra Section P recounting all the joy in the land.

  9. julia says:

    Excellent post, Violet. I cringe every time I look at a newspaper and see his face. And not her face, the one who should be there instead. And this may not help women in the long run at all, because patriarchy is patriarchy.
    I wonder why Caroline Kennedy decided not to try for Hillary Clinton’s senate seat. And the first reason I come up with is the blatant sexism. It had already started, and we are fresh out of a year where two strong women were bombasted with it. She may have decided it wasn’t worth it.

  10. quixote says:

    Parking on the left becomes parking on the right.

    Whoop-te-do.

  11. Gidget Commando says:

    This is scary good. I doubt that I’ll live long enough to see a kick-ass woman who really knows her shit (like our new secretary of state) win the White House. Maybe I should be talking to Kali about that one–she’s one goddess who takes no shit from any god, IIRC.

  12. orlando says:

    As a little girl I remember hearing the saying “any boy can grow up to be president of the United States”, and thinking how gobsmackingly ironic it was that the very words being used to express the idea of how fair and egalitarian the country was showed just how much it wasn’t.

  13. gxm17 says:

    orlando, I remember that too, being told that only boys could become president. And, even if teachers and parents are no longer reciting those same words to our sons and daughters, an entire nation of girls just got got the message that “only boys” can grow up to be president.

  14. anna says:

    As a feminist, I’m not really thrilled with the talk about how our founding fathers drafted a charter to assure the rights of man. Not to mention that Rick Warren spoke at all (since he is on record as saying “God hates divorce” even in the case of physical abuse, and that wives should submit to their husbands, not to mention being anti-gay), but Rick’s insistence referring to God as male really annoyed me. Joseph Lowery, who also believes that God is male, managed not to refer to Him as such, so as to be more inclusive. Though even he mentioned that the “red man” should get ahead, man- I know it was only a joke, but surely he could have found another way to express it. And did you notice Diane Feinstein was announced as the Chairman, rather than Chair or Chairwoman?

  15. Branjor says:

    Violet, I don’t see it as any improvement at all that “our patriarchy is now biracial.” So now we have two races of male oppresors instead of just one. Whoop de do.

  16. octogalore says:

    Well said, as always, Violet. The twin narratives are unfortunate in creating some dissention that to my mind is unnecessary. I think, as you’ve stated, regretting the limitations for one group is compatible with celebrating the advancement (I’m not suggesting problem solved, just advancement) of another.

    I believe that most generally socially liberal people do not subscribe to any hierarchy of oppressions. And that to feel one or another is likely harder to conquer does not indicate any opinion as to relative importance. I believe sexism is part of the fundamental structure of the nuclear family (although I do not think this is inevitable, just pervasive) in a unique way, and therefore is among the most stubborn.

    Feminism also does not lend itself as well to community-based activism as other movements. And our members receive substantial societal praise for subordinating our issues.

  17. Lisa says:

    gxm17, what I find even more upsetting is that many parents now are saying to their daughters that “they too can become president”, when that is an absolute falsehood.

    America can’t even look sexism in the eye.

  18. gxm17 says:

    So true, Lisa, so true. They can’t look sexism in the eye because it means taking a long hard look in the mirror.

  19. qaz says:

    what I find even more upsetting is that many parents now are saying to their daughters that “they too can become president”, when that is an absolute falsehood.

    Even if the statement were true, I would rather women of this generation or the generation before me be given the opportunities.

  20. kelly g. says:

    So perhaps history will repeat itself. Maybe in another half century America will finally elect its first woman president.

    This is a question my husband and I continue to return to when discussing the racism, misogyny and the election – will we ever live to see the first woman president?

    I don’t think so, though he’s more optimistic. But I have long-lived genes (my grandmother is in her 90s, and her brother recently celebrated his 100th), and 50 years will put me at 80. So maybe, just maybe.

    Sniff. 80. Maybe. That’s fucked up.

  21. Unree says:

    Octogalore and Violet have both written a bit, but not enough for this hungry reader, about why a smart woman in the US would celebrate this result. I come here to confirm that I am not the only progressive who isn’t turning cartwheels of joy. But what fraction of feminists feel the same impulse?

    What explains this near-consensus of progressive women? Wanting to huddle with the winners? Opportunism? Genuine satisfaction–which I and others here share–about the racial hurdle overcome? Fear of ticking off one’s man, one’s friends? Or a conclusion that the Second Wave failed and it’s time to admit defeat and move on?

  22. yttik says:

    Wish I could think of something positive and reassuring to say, but I can’t. The Triumph of the Patriarchy was decadently celebrated and left behind 9 tons of trash.

    I don’t understand people but there are twists and turns that come along that you weren’t expecting. I never expected Bush would be the one to usher in a black president. I also never expected to find some common ground with those on the Right side of the aisle, but the Palin/Hillary bash fest changed all that. Never thought I’d see the day MS mag declared Obama a feminist and feminist groups declared I was not.

    So the patriarchy continues it’s business as usual, but I still think some sort of shift has happened. We shall see what it will bring…

  23. Kali says:

    Octogalore and Violet have both written a bit, but not enough for this hungry reader, about why a smart woman in the US would celebrate this result. I come here to confirm that I am not the only progressive who isn’t turning cartwheels of joy. But what fraction of feminists feel the same impulse? What explains this near-consensus of progressive women?

    I’m trying to understand this too. It’s baffling. Andrea Dworkin explained some of the motivations behind some women’s support of the patriarchy (i.e. they honestly believe that their best chance is in sucking up to the guys), but that explanation generally does not apply to progressive women. Especially last year they could have easily elected a very feminist woman, i.e. Hillary Clinton, if they really wanted to. But so many of them didn’t and they gave sloppy reasons with sloppy logic to explain why they didn’t. How much logic is there in “Hillary is too much of a hawk, she voted for the war, but btw, my first choice was Edwards who also voted for the war but that somehow doesn’t make him a hawk” or “We can’t have another Clinton in the white house, and btw, wasn’t Bill Clinton the greatest president ever” or “I totally blame Hillary for welfare reform even though it was Bill who passed it under Republican pressure”? Then there was the painting of horns on Palin for being anti-choice when some of these same people have a history of Kucinich worship even when he was openly anti-choice. It’s completely bizarre.

    My suspicion is that it has something to do with the patriarchal value system we all grow up with and internalize to a lesser or greater extent – a value system that sees women as being deserving of less gain and more pain than men. So a woman’s success is not as valuable as a man’s success, the righting of injustice against women is not as important as the righting of injustice against men, and the suffering of women is not as bad as the suffering of men. Rich, powerful women are hated more than rich, powerful men, and oppressed women are less sympathy inducing than oppressed men. This is the consequence of an extended project of expectation management by men spanning thousands of years.

  24. ElleR says:

    What an insightful post. Thanks, Violet.

    Since the patriarchal value system overvalues men and men’s work and undervalues women and women’s work (work traditionally associated with men and women) and patriarchy’s structure is founded on the elevation of the male and the oppression of the female, the election of another man, albeit a man whose skin is a little darker than his predecessor’s, is not that radical.

    The election of a female to the most powerful office on the planet would have signalled the beginning of the end of patriarchy — the overthrow of the patriarchal system. As feminists, I think we need to understand just how radical feminism is. It’s not just about women seizing male power, it’s about a complete overhaul of our cultural value system.

    Imagine really questioning the social value of hedge fund managers or rocket scientists vs. “stay-at-home” moms! Whether we recognize it consciously or not, feminism calls just about everything into question. And as patriarchal values continue to lead us daily down the garden path to self destruction, the establishment of an alternate, feminist value system becomes more and more critical — not just to the advancement of women — but to the survival of the human species.

    Whew!

  25. Kat says:

    Unree says:

    I think 50 years from now is about right for when it’ll happen–and damn skippy the public will hear NO triumphant narrative before or after this woman wins. Our heroine will be not only conservative but “controversial,” probably “divisive.” The inauguration will have a somber tone–no giddy squealing like, say, the NY Times’s special extra Section P recounting all the joy in the land.

    Yes. I think it will happen in the coming decades and I think it will look exactly like this. And women who celebrate it will not be joined by a tearful corporate media and women’s groups. Rather, women who celebrate it will be excoriated by the enlightened left.

    Actually, I think it’s interesting that I’m so convinced the so-called progressives will never find a woman to support for president. I’m convinced it will be, say, the Republicans in an electoral season where conservatism is the hat that suits. I have a few first thoughts as to why that is, but I need to keep pondering it. Why am I just so convinced a female leader will never come from the “left,” why wouldn’t it be allowed, why can I never even picture it? It has much to do with everything that happened during this past year, I think.

  26. Lynn H. says:

    Kelly G said that “maybe” by the time she is 80—

    For me, there were a few bright shining moments when I actually thought “maybe before I am 80″, but at 77 I now know that will never happen. So I am pledged to pointing out sexism when I see it. Maybe for my granddaughters…

  27. julia says:

    This blog feels so much like home to me. It never wavers from feminism. I don’t like the criticism of the New Agenda and I wonder why it bothers other feminists so much.

    Unree, I am thinking about this over and over – how women could fall at Obama’s feet. Which is very different from support – support could just be to say ‘I don’t want a Republican’ or ‘I like him more than the other candidates’. But swooning is not support, it’s something entirely different. I feel like wearing a black armband, like they did in the 60′s to protest the war. But mine will be to protest the wiping out of women; the continual pushing of women to the smaller, less important roles.

    I guess my take on women crazy about Obama is this: it was easier for them to seem like radicals when Bush was in office, but really they were mainstream. Or, people are afraid and depressed, and when the whole country seems like they’ve found ‘it’( whatever the ‘it’ of the moment is), people join. And I also agree with you and Kali and anyone else who’s written that women still bow down to men.
    I met a woman recently in a health food store cafe, we struck up a conversation about how sexist the art exhibit in the cafe was. When she said how much she had supported Hillary Clinton I actually gave her a hug! This stranger whom I had just met! That’s how happy I was to meet a real live feminist in the flesh who’s not afraid to speak her mind.

  28. Alwaysthinking says:

    A year ago during the debates of the Republican and Democratic parties, I looked at the array of men on the Republican side and thought, “oh, how boring. They all look alike.” On the other hand, I was excited about the Democratic hopefuls — they were demographically more like America except for the fact that there was only one woman. Still, it offered excitement and real hope. But now what have we gained (as Violet so clearly shows in her lead photograph) but a group of boring look alikes!

  29. Sis says:

    There is that element Julia, that really turns me off, and then there’s another element that ignores what’s right in front of their faces, one after the other sexist, misogynistic act, appointment and partnership made, only by Obama.

    I have grown very suspicious of his motives, because I think he’s a liar. In words, deeds and his stated plans. I see he’s made some change re abortion, but based on his record so far, I can’t rejoice for my American sisters, because he’s been dishonest and hypocritical up to now adn in spite of the spin, not much better than Bush (we knew for sure Bush was harmful, he was openly so compared to Obama’s doing differently from what he says) that I’m wondering what the unknown harm is in that single act. Waiting for some of you to inform me about that, because I don’t know what that law/act which he over turned actually is. No amount of his lying and dishonesty seems to register with the majority of his supporters.

  30. chezmadame says:

    President Barack Obama has signed an executive order ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option…

    …Obama signed it quietly, without coverage by the media, late on Friday afternoon, a contrast to the midday signings with fanfare of executive orders on other subjects earlier in the week.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hGEFeIsWrfluY5Iqqe_zaKFw9YOgD95T3M0O0

    His first Friday night dump as president.
    How progressive.

  31. Sis says:

    However it was done, I’m celebrating to the extent that I know about and understand what this means. But I’m wondering what else is there, because he is on record as being less than supportive of abortion rights.

    So can someone who is on the same page as me– abortion on demand, everyone, any time–please explain?

  32. Davidson says:

    But that’s just it: the people wanted Hillary Clinton; the Democratic leadership rigged the primary nomination for Obama, a pathetically weak candidate who needed fraudulent red state caucuses to rack up most of his delegates. Her nomination was flat-out stolen from her. So, the whole “black men first, then women” theory of history doesn’t apply here. The media and political establishment loathed Clinton beyond reason, but the people–the people!–wanted her.

    As horrible as last year was, the fact that the voters still chose Clinton time and time again, even after the media repeatedly lied about the nomination being “over” kept my spirits up. Besides, Obama could barely muster a slim lead over the GOP ticket in late summer. He was rescued by the financial crisis.

    Somewhat O/T: Isn’t it odd how Clinton could totally seem to forgive and forget when it comes to Obama? When he visited the State Department yesterday, she was beaming at him. I don’t trust that: either she’s an exceptional liar or she doesn’t mind that he exploited bigotry to steal the nomination from her.

  33. donna darko says:

    What explains this near-consensus of progressive women? Wanting to huddle with the winners? Opportunism? Genuine satisfaction about the racial hurdle overcome? Fear of ticking off one’s man, one’s friends?

    This was the third post out of 1, 127 on my blog:

    June 9, 2007: White women and men of color

    White feminists often don’t view Black men as men but as fellow victims

    When it comes to the Black man, it’s hands off.

    I overheard a certified radical feminist explaining why she dated only Black men and other nonwhite men. “They’re less of a threat to women; they’re less oppressive.”

    This was a comment on another blog:

    This victimhood mentality, (particularly with regard to MOC sexism as consequence of being a victim of white male imperialism), is like the Bible in some American minority communities. It is strong and potent and challenging it is like blasphemy. And white liberals enable this thinking out of fear and out of believing this false narrative themselves.

    It’s a false narrative. A lie.

  34. donna darko says:

    In 2009, it’s a cop-out, i.e. Obama’s treatment of women last year was completely gratuitous unnecessary. Racism is no longer an excuse.

  35. donna darko says:

    Davidson, the media, political establishment and progressive bloggers are more in touch with PC because they are more easily damaged by the racist label.

  36. july4cat says:

    History likes to repeat itself, but always in unexpected ways. We may have to wait for 50 years, or it could happen in just five years. I’m more optimistic about the prospect of a female president, not because of my faith in humanity but because of my belief in evolutionary progress. The United States (and the world) simply can’t afford to continue to indulge in patriarchy anymore, period.

  37. anne says:

    I think the reason white feminists find it easy to ally themselves with black men (not so much black women of course – misogyny and racism are still at work in that instance) is that women are trained to suck up to men, and if they can’t do it for white men because they are clearly oppressors, they have to find another group of men to transfer that support and alliegiance to. It’s very ingrained.

    I’m pretty sure that’s why so many high profile white feminists came out in support of Obama too. That and the fact that if they didn’t, they’d have been called racists and their careers could have been over.

  38. qaz says:

    “So, the whole “black men first, then women” theory of history doesn’t apply here.”

    I don’t know about that. Maybe that’s why the political establishment chose him.

  39. qaz says:

    “Isn’t it odd how Clinton could totally seem to forgive and forget when it comes to Obama?”

    What did you expect her to do?

  40. Anna Belle says:

    It’s a false narrative. A lie.

    It’s so much more than that, though. I really think this topic needs a good airing out, and I’m hoping to contribute to that dialogue in February by writing about the two racial rifts that occurred in the feminist movements–one over the 15th amendment and one during the Civil Rights movement.

    One of the biggest problems as I see from this last year is women’s unwillingness to speak up until late in the game. As I’ve said on my blog, there are reasons for this. There are consequences in our society whenever a woman takes a contrarian point of view. Strident women are almost always tagged in negative ways, while strident men are tagged in positive ways. You’ve seen this before: Geez, she’s such a bitch! vs Wow, I really appreciate how he gets that he has to do unpopular things. What a leader!

    This racial thing is of that same dynamic. It’s a way that MOC and white men have of working together to make silencing women possible. That’s the whole goal, to shut us up. To shame us, to cheat us, to literally beat us; it’s all silencing technique. And that’s what happened last year. Women operated in ways they were trained to operate in, which is that they didn’t speak up about the inexcusable tone of the campaign, from the media and Obama, until it was really too late. Imagine if DCS (disaffected Clinton supporters) and PUMA had emerged last January, instead of last June.

    We’ll see if I can really contribute to the conversation, because honestly, thinking about writing that piece is scarier than writing about giving strip shows as a five year old. That’s how pervasive that narrative/lie is; the training is so deep.

  41. Anna Belle says:

    FYI: I’m in moderation.

  42. sister of ye says:

    I don’t trust that: either she’s an exceptional liar or she doesn’t mind that he exploited bigotry to steal the nomination from her.

    I’m hoping it’s a case of her knowing that she’s secretly punked him and will be carrying out her plan of success being the best revenge.

  43. julia says:

    Is Clinton lying? Politics is a game and she plays it well. She’s had a lot of practice in the male political arena – since she was 15 years old. I would bet that she is willing to put up with the B.S. to get the final result: she now has an important job. What impressed me was the cover of the NYT (yesterday?) with the 1,000 govt. workers who came to see her on her first day and crowded the lobby.

  44. donna darko says:

    When everyone views men of color as victims and not men who can oppress women, we have a situation like last year, when POC and white liberals enabled the grotesque sexism from Obama and supporters.

  45. Sis says:

    Bingo Donna Darko.

  46. donna darko says:

    This victimhood mentality extends to criticism of Obama which is off-limits because he’s a man of color.

    This victimhood mentalitiy is a lie if you believe (as I do) that the unprecedented misogyny of last year, what Violet writes about here and what MadamaB wrote about in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back is completely gratuitous and unnecessary.

  47. Hedgepig says:

    Dr.Socks, you are perfectly, eloquently right.

    I feel the need to disagree with octogalore on this point: “I believe that most generally socially liberal people do not subscribe to any hierarchy of oppressions.”
    Sadly, I think there is most definitely a hierarchy of oppressions and women’s oppression is placed at the very bottom of the rung, even by otherwise reasonable people.
    I think in the case of liberal-minded males it’s because they often have a female significant other (usually a wife figure or a mother) and they don’t even want to admit to themselves that their partner is oppressed by the system in which they enjoy privilege. It’s easier to feel all righteous about the oppression of Others one ISN’T sharing a bed with.
    Liberal minded women prioritising any and every oppression above that of women is more of a puzzle, though I think Kali is on to something.

  48. Irlandese says:

    Fabulous. Another 50 years?? That’s how long it’ll take for a woman to follow a black man into 1600 Penn Ave?? That’s fantaaaassstiiicc. I’ll be pushing up daisies by then.

  49. Davidson says:

    @Qaz: It’s one thing to have to work with him and making the best of it, it’s another thing to be absolutely glowing in his presence. It’s the degree I’m focusing on here.

  50. Twisty says:

    There most definitely is a hierarchy of oppression. What progressive Americans care about most, oppression-wise, is when a particular species of oppression reads as a deviation from the standard honky American narrative. Hijab is oppressive, high heels are not. Forced marriage is oppressive, “sex work” is not. Racism is oppressive, sexism is just funny!

    Great post, Dr Socks.

  51. donna darko says:

    I really think this topic needs a good airing out, and I’m hoping to contribute to that dialogue

    One of the biggest problems as I see from this last year is women’s unwillingness to speak up until late in the game.

    It’s a way that MOC and white men have of working together to make silencing women possible. That’s the whole goal, to shut us up. To shame us, to cheat us, to literally beat us; it’s all silencing technique. And that’s what happened last year. Women operated in ways they were trained to operate in, which is that they didn’t speak up about the inexcusable tone of the campaign, from the media and Obama, until it was really too late. Imagine if DCS (disaffected Clinton supporters) and PUMA had emerged last January, instead of last June.

    We’ll see if I can really contribute to the conversation, because honestly, thinking about writing that piece is scarier than writing about giving strip shows as a five year old.

    Don’t be afraid. You know the victim mentality is a lie when Obama became the oppressor last year as described in this post, MadamaB’s and thousands of others.

  52. donna darko says:

    I’m hoping to contribute to that dialogue in February by writing about the two racial rifts that occurred in the feminist movements–one over the 15th amendment and one during the Civil Rights movement.

    This quote in relation to the misogyny of last year and the Obama administration should the topic of dialogue in February:

    This victimhood mentality, (particularly with regard to MOC sexism as consequence of being a victim of white male imperialism), is like the Bible in some American minority communities. It is strong and potent and challenging it is like blasphemy. And white liberals enable this thinking out of fear and out of believing this false narrative themselves.

  53. qaz says:

    “…it’s another thing to be absolutely glowing in his presence.”

    I don’t think she’s glowing because of Obama. It’s probably because she is SOS and can finally show herself to be the president she rightfully should have been.

  54. NoMo says:

    This is an excellent post, Violet – perfect explanation of what went down this year. I will send this to every single person who has called me a racist this election because they don’t get that I am protesting patriarchy, not the election of a black man.

  55. Violet says:

    There most definitely is a hierarchy of oppression. What progressive Americans care about most, oppression-wise, is when a particular species of oppression reads as a deviation from the standard honky American narrative.

    It was ever thus. I think of earnest young missionaries to the Native American nations, virginal women in corsets and starch, bemoaning how “oppressed” the Indian women were.

    Nice to see you here, Twisty.

  56. Sis says:

    Did you see this. I get my ‘tv’ news late, online.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/23/campbell.brown.lobbyists/

    By Campbell Brown
    CNN

    CNN’s Campbell Brown is disappointed by Obama’s moves to make William Lynn deputy defense secretary.

    (CNN) — Just a couple of nights ago, we heaped praise on the new president for announcing what he called a new era of openness, where in his administration, transparency would rule the day.

    And the lobbyists that he was so critical of during the campaign? Well, he told us they will now face even tougher new restrictions.

    President Obama: “The executive order on ethics I will sign shortly represents a clean break from business as usual. As of today, lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits than under any other administration in history. If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years. When you leave government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I am president.”

    That’s what he said two days ago. But as we first told you Thursday, and sadly we are learning more about this Friday, President Obama already wants an exception to his own rule.

    You see, what happened is, there is this former lobbyist for a big defense contractor called Raytheon. His name is William Lynn.

    President Obama wants him to be deputy defense secretary. So, the Obama administration wants a waiver to its own rule.

    That basically means they are saying, we will mostly put tough new restrictions on lobbyists, except when we won’t.

    Really? Is this how it is going to be?

    Please, please don’t make us all any more cynical than we already are, Mr. President.

    If you have no intention of abiding by your new rules, then don’t make new rules. That would be “actual” transparency.

  57. Satsuma says:

    I read more anti-Clinton posts on feminist websites than just about anywhere. Women are the majority in this country, and women blew this election. That was such a shock for me, to see how disloyal women will be to each other. We need to close the deal women. We need to stop nitpicking at the women who stick their necks out and pull in 18,000,000 votes.

    Liberal women were all goo goo gaa gaa over Obama and supposed anti-war record — no actual votes because he wasn’t in the Senate at the time those votes were taken, but hey, what facts right?

    As feminists, we can’t predict how liberal or conservative women will be once they become the president. We had a feminist running for the top job, we have the majority in the population. We had the patriarchal enemies everywhere, and we know all this. But real feminists wrote against Hillary Clinton, and real feminists still voted for the man. And this to me is inexcussible women! This makes me cry!! This makes me boiling mad. We know men don’t represent us, we know this. Someone above said we need Kali in this. Someone else said community organizing is particularly hard with women, and it is. There were women in my office who are still too timid to even vote!
    When women support women, when they stop the nitpicking and perfectionistic behavior, when they stop picking the young cute guy yet again…
    I’ll always be angry at the male enemy, but when your own sisters vote against a great woman candidate, I think we all need to send them back to feminism 101, and that’s the real nightmarish truth of this election for me.

  58. anne says:

    The reason Hillary lost isn’t because women didn’t vote for her though Satsuma, it’s because Obama and the DNC cheated and rigged the nomination.

    Blaming women for something that is actually the responsibility of men does make it look like we are our own worst enemies, when in fact the enemy is still men. It’s important to keep our focus on who is really standing in our way and trying to destroy us. The PUMA movement exists because women (and some men) decided to refuse to take this treatment any more. Hillary’s loss of the nomination is because *men* cheated, because *men* didn’t want to see a woman win or a woman lead them. That’s where the problem is. Plenty of women supported Hillary so instead of berating those women who didn’t we should be congratulating those who did as there were millions of us, all around the world. I felt women’s power rise last year, and it is power that the male supremacists won’t be able to contain, no matter how badly they beat down on the woman who currently symbolises it, Hillary Clinton.

  59. Kali says:

    Hillary’s loss of the nomination is because *men* cheated, because *men* didn’t want to see a woman win or a woman lead them.

    I thought it was very significant that donations to Obama’s campaign peaked whenever a female competitor entered the race (Palin) or gained ground (Hillary).

  60. Vera says:

    Excellent, beautiful writing, Violet. If my whiteboard (which is notorious for its radical feminist leanings) was big enough, I’d hand-letter your entire post on it for my co-workers to read. I’ll have to settle for this excerpt: “Maybe in another half century America will finally elect its first woman president.”

    I hereby vow to live to be 100.