Prof. Crenshaw Questions the "Either/Or" Feminist Stance in the Huffington Post

Teaming up with Eve Ensler, Prof. Crenshaw co-wrote a piece in the Huffington Post, titled Feminist Ultimatums: Not in Our Name,  about feminists who have turned the choice between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama into a divisive issue. By creating this divide, these feminists ignore the global reach and expansive nature of feminism that embraces multiple issues and seeks a person willing to take a stand for social justice and against an unjust war.

The article introduces the reader to the “with us or with them” dialogue created by feminist that resounds with the rhetoric utilized by President W. Bush to propel the United States towards war after 9/11.  As Prof. Crenshaw points out, “the ‘either/or’ feminists remind us that the Black (man) got the vote before the (white) women, that gender barriers are more rigid than racial barriers…. Never mind of course that real suffrage for African Americans wasn’t realized until the 1960’s, that there are any number of advantages that white women have in business, politics and culture that people of color do not….” Without considering the nuanced reasons for why women should or should not support the first viable woman candidate against the first contending Black male for president, the ‘either/or’ feminists have labeled those who support Obama as “traitors” to women’s issues.

Prof. Crenshaw goes on to purpose that younger feminists who support Obama have chosen him based on the possibility his presidency may bring and shows that feminism can evolve and grow. Instead of seeing a women’s vote for a male as simply following their boyfriend’s or husband’s lead, this younger generation realizes that feminism needs to address all forms of injustice and prejudice in order to make headway in the feminist agenda as well. Instead, Prof. Crenshaw notes, “we are led to believe that having a woman in power is the penultimate accomplishment” by the ‘either/or’ feminists.  

Choosing Clinton based on her gender, however, fails to recognize her stance on such issues as the war in Iraq. By voting for the war, Clinton ignored a broad coalition of feminists, liberals, progressives, compassionate conservatives amongst many others who demanded the US not enter into an unjust war. By considering the principle of her position, the candidacy debate should move beyond a simple issue of gender differences.   

As Eve Ensler and Prof. Crenshaw argue, a nuanced form of feminism recognizes the global nature of feminism and acknowledges the significance of voting for a candidate most likely to strive for gender, racial and economic justice. With a need for a united front to elect the best person as the Democratic candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, it seems that the ‘either/or’ feminist stance will only weaken the chances for fairly considering which option that may be.

To read the article, Feminist Ultimatums: Not in Our Name on the Huffington Post, click HERE 

 

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