Take Your Boobs and Go Home Watch

My thanks, ahem, to Nicholas Kristof for inspiring the title of this post.

Lest anyone presume that I have to go looking for this shit, I found all three of today's examples at the aggregator Memeorandum, and had absolutely no intention to write a post about this topic until I read all three examples and felt obliged to do so. And, just because I've had to say this in comments a few times lately, I'll say it again here: I have not endorsed either of the remaining candidates since my candidate, John Edwards, dropped out. Neither Clinton's nor Obama's records particularly inspire me, both of their levels of religiosity and triangulation bug me, and any appearance or actual failure of even-handedness on my part is not deliberate; it happens that Obama has more (and quicker) defenders among the contributors at Shakesville, for one thing, and, for another, I'm an active feminist and this campaign has, much to my chagrin, required all too much of my attention be drawn in defense of Clinton.

So, that said, let's look at who's telling Hillary to take her boobs and go home today...

Slate's Hillary Deathwatch

I don't guess I need to point out the whole "deathwatch" thing is a little creepy, made even more so by the fact that it is introduced with the declaration "Hillary Clinton is as good as dead," as opposed to "Hillary Clinton's campaign is as good as dead." Bonus points for referencing their own atrocious Clintometer, which measures "the chances of a Lewinsky-related ousting," right in the explanation for the "Hillary Deathwatch." I mean, it takes real class to reference a woman's husband's mistress from a decade ago in a piece where you're declaring her political fortunes dead.

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter with "Hillary's Consolation Prize?"

Perhaps Patrick Leahy really was being generous when he exhorted Hillary to drop out and move on with a "tremendous career in the Senate," because the alternative is evidently pushing her out of Washington altogether. Bonus points for noting that her husband has reportedly dismissed the idea "out of hand." If you're like me, I know you can't read an article about Hillary without thinking, "I wonder what Bill thinks about all this!"

New York Magazine asks "Who'll Stop the Pain?"

Good question. I've also been wondering "Who will stop that harpy from talking?" because her shrill tone and witch-like cackling is hurting my ears. The amazing thing about this piece is, despite its opening with an interesting anecdote (which happens to confirm what I've heard privately) about how Edwards was quite pleasanly surprised by Clinton's "solicitous and respectful" response after he withdrew from the race, and its concession that she stays in because she has a genuine fear that McCain would beat Obama, she is still, in the (literal) end cast as a maniacal freak obsessed with her own "long-range self-aggrandizement." And then, of course, there's the subhead—simultaneously suggesting her husband knows what's best, and it's that she should drop out, but she just won't listen to him!—and the artwork, which seriously could not be a more perfect visual of the idea that Hillary is a bad girl who needs scolding by the Big Boys. I can't imagine where people could be getting the impression that underlying many of the calls for Hillary to leave is some pretty nasty misogyny.

* * *

You know, I actually get the perplexity about why those of us defending her right to keep campaigning don't concede that it's "obvious" she can't win and should drop out, and about why we don't see the "undeniable logic" that, even though Obama might not be able to win outright, either, he's closer than she is. I really do get the bewilderment. I do.

And I don't know if I can properly explain why that "obvious" conclusion and "undeniable logic" don't appeal to or persuade us, but here's the thing: Lots of us are women who have been told "You can't" for much of our lives, or had seemingly unnavigable barriers put in our way by people who didn't want us to succeed. Lots of us are women who, had we played by The Rules, wouldn't have gotten where we are—because The Rules are designed so that we fail. The odds have been against us our whole lives; everything we've ever done has been in defiance of the distinct likelihood—and expectation—that we would settle for less than we wanted.

Our routes have been nontraditional, our strategies neither obvious nor logical by traditional standards. By design, and by necessity.

What if we'd all taken our boobs and gone home, when someone who saw the perfect logic of it told us to...?

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