For the Record: Follow-Up

My Tuesday post "For the Record," has been linked a lot over the past couple of days, and there seem to be a couple misconceptions that I want to quickly clarify.

1. I wasn't saying anything critical about Obama. Not overtly, not obliquely, not sarcastically. My reference to "the breathtakingly awesome celebration of the first ever presumptive nominee of color, ZOMG" was sincere. That's major. It's important to me.

2. I was never a Clinton supporter. I was never an Obama supporter. Or, if you prefer, I was both a Clinton and Obama supporter. I endorsed John Edwards, and I did not endorse either Clinton or Obama after he dropped out. I'm not a partisan Democrat—I've never been a member of the party, as it's way more centrist than I am—and I generally take the position of a defensive supporter of any Democratic candidate rather than an offensive one, which is why you'll find a Sexism Watch and Racism Watch, but not a "Here's why I love Hillary" or "Here's why I love Barack" series. That's been my personal approach. Other contributors to Shakesville declared for one or the other and blogged in favor of them, and that was fine with me.

3. A few people have questioned the premise that there has been a lot of sexism used against Clinton in the progressive blogosphere. Here is a thread that documents just a small percentage of it.

4. A few people have also taken issue with my conflating Clinton being pushed out of the race with misogyny. I've previously addressed that here.

5. The post was not about Clinton losing. In fact, it wasn't really about the election at all, per se, except insomuch as Clinton's candidacy served as a big fat target for public misogyny. That's why it's really, really, really not about Clinton supporters being sad that Clinton lost, or even about Clinton supporters at all. It was about the women specifically (and feminists/womanists generally) who had seen this spectacular display of Misogyny: Unleashed! and, irrespective of whom they were supporting, were upset at how the primary had played out with regard to sexism.

(That doesn't mean all women, or all feminist/womanists. It means those who experienced this thing.)

6. Finally, and most importantly, I want to address some concerns raised by women of color about my post. I don't think that Hillary Clinton becoming the nominee, or even the president, would have ended institutional misogyny, either. I don't think it would have ended sexual violence or harassment or domestic abuse or pay disparities for women of any color. I don't think it would have thrown wide the doors for any woman to follow in her footsteps. I don't think it would have been any kind of panacea at all. It's a symbol—and, to my mind, not a symbol of acquired power (although it may be that, it's certainly not the most important thing, because that really doesn't mean squat to average women), but a symbol of sex equity that is meaningful whether it's the first female president, or the first woman to make manager at the mill, or…

I don't think those sorts of things are consolation prizes, and I don't think they erase the effects or pain of bigotry. In my estimation, they merely give the struggle some meaning, or maybe just some hope. I regard them much the way I regard doing advocacy about sexual assault; writing about that stuff is hard, and it doesn't for a moment diminish what happened to me; sometimes, frankly, writing about it only intensifies what lingering pain there is; but it also, for me, gives purpose to what happened to me. Advocacy, the possibility to make someone question the rape culture and the chance to provide a safe space for people to talk about their own experiences with sexual assault, doesn't make everything okay; but it matters.

That's where my thinking was on the last part of my post. I apologize for making people feel like their concerns didn't matter, that they didn't matter. I appreciate your thoughts, and I'm trying.

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