Feminism: It’s A Partnership Thing



In using Teh Google for an unrelated search, I came across an article by Dick Morris on September 13, 2008, and shockingly, he said something that I felt was worthy of mention. Yes. Dick Morris, he of toe-sucking, backstabbing fame, actually has held forth on “authentic” feminism – who’s got it, and who hasn’t. Surprise, surprise – Sarah Palin’s got it, but Hillary? Not so much.

Morris says that 2012 could be a historic election, because two women might be running for U.S. President for the first time ever – something I would, of course, be incredibly excited about. He goes on:

The 2008 US presidential election could force a realignment of how women vote, Mr Morris said.

“In Palin, you have an authentic model of feminism and in Hillary you have a counterfeit one.

“Even Hillary’s best friends agree that Hillary would not have been where she is if her husband had not been president. Palin’s worst enemies concede that Palin would be where she is no matter what her husband does.”

I won’t subject you to the rest of the article, which drips with Morris’ signature venom towards all things Hillary and Bill. (He “analyzes” Hillary’s voters in a particularly sickening way.) But isn’t that interesting? Dick Morris is suddenly a feminist, and he has apparently defined feminism to mean that any woman who has a well-known or accomplished husband, is not “authentic.” No, our little ladies have to make it all on their own, or they are Fake Feminists!!!

Well, I guess that leaves out Hillary. And Eleanor Roosevelt. And Lady Bird Johnson. And Dolly Madison. And Cindy McCain – her work in Rwanda and other war-torn places has got to be discounted because she inherited her wealth and married a well-known Senator. Right? 

As the amazing Dr. Violet Socks wrote recently, here is the definition of a feminist:

Yes, You Are

feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests — feminist n or adj — feministic adj

Above, the dictionary definition of feminism — the entire dictionary definition of feminism. It is quite straightforward and concise. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism does not ask for two forms of photo ID. It does not care what you look like. It does not care what color skin you have, or whether that skin is clear, or how much you weigh, or what you do with your hair. You can bite your nails, or you can get them done once a week. You can spend two hours on your makeup, or five minutes, or the time it takes to find a Chapstick without any lint sticking to it. You can rock a cord mini, or khakis, or a sari, and you can layer all three. The definition of feminism does not include a mandatory leg-hair check; wax on, wax off, whatever you want. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Golly gee, I don’t see anything there about whether or not your husband, brother, father, mother or sister is famous and/or accomplished, do you?

This is not to say that I think Morris is all wrong about Governor Sarah Palin. I think he is right, in that she is a feminist who is against abortion. Yes, women of America, THIS IS A VALID CHOICE FOR A FEMINIST. To state that it didn’t matter who her husband was is, however, ludicrous. After all, Todd Palin is, by all accounts, an exceptionally supportive man. He takes care of the house while she takes care of the State, and he is well-known as her closest confidant in all matters gubernatorial. If she had married a different man, would she have had the partner she needed to climb the ladder of success? And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t a man (gasp!) pick her as his Vice Presidential nominee? Where would Sarah Palin be without John McCain?

And the same goes for Bill Clinton. Clearly, Hillary and Bill are in a strong partnership, or he would not have put her in charge of health care when he was in the Oval Office. To try to claim Hillary is dependent on Bill, but Bill is not dependent on Hillary, is a leap that is unjustified by anything but Dick Morris’ CDS-infected cerebellum.

I really believe that the partnership aspect of feminism is one of the most overlooked components of the movement. Rianne Eisler, in her seminal work The Chalice and the Blade, wrote of the agrarian societies run by women 10,000 years ago. What she discovered was that when women were in power, the model became collaborative rather than hierarchical. Men and women worked together, and equality and social justice were stressed above all other concerns. The 30% Solution is the just the beginning of the long work ahead of us – the work to reintroduce the feminine principle into our society, and balance it properly with the masculine principle. Notice the key word: Balance.

Yes, many of us are angry and outraged by the disgusting misogyny that is, has been, and will be perpetrated against any woman who dares to try to crack that highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, and in so many other countries.

You know, like this. Or this.

But anger doesn’t preclude understanding that inclusion is better than exclusion; or that some men are better feminists than some women; or that working together is preferable to standing on opposite sides of the gender divide, screaming at each other.

We are certainly far from our goal this year. In fact, we are going backwards in some countries, like England, where it is now possible for Muslims to beat their wives with no legal repercussions. Yet thanks to Senator John McCain, we may have a woman Vice President for the very first time. And that would be one giant leap forward for all Americans, whether they want to admit it or not. Because when gender equity is reached, everyone wins.

It’s a partnership thing.

Cross-posted at Partizane and The Confluence


5 responses to “Feminism: It’s A Partnership Thing

  1. Ah yes, the first comment on every post has got to be from an Obamabot missing the point and ganging up on Hillary. How utterly boring and predictable.

    You’re all going to be deleted from now on. Comments must be both on topic and respectful – something you seem to be incapable of handling.


  2. I love this essay madam. I think you are absolutely right about inclusion. It seems as fundamental as the principles of choice and access. That’s why I worry about resentment between 2nd and 3rd wavers. (I took a swipe myself at 3rd wavers recently, which I shouldn’t have done. Sometimes you have to vent, even if it’s inappropriate, though.) ANYway, thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks, Anna Belle! You too. I love what you do at your place. I don’t always comment, but I read, and give credit where credit is due – including linky love!


  4. Pingback: Feminism: It’s A Partnership Thing : The New Agenda

  5. “Even Hillary’s best friends agree” oh give me a break. Another old white man describing what women should, need, and ought to think about Hillary Clinton. That’s funny too because many of her friends were interviewed for video while she was running and said the polar opposite of what Mr. Morris asserts.

    I voted for Hillary because I had followed HER career from before Bill was ever a thought for president. I knew what she’d stood for and what she had done. She was the PERFECT candidate to represent feminists…but, what do I know? I’ve only fought for women’s rights my entire life. God forbid we don’t just skip a whole generation of women to get to “z” because daddy soros said so.

    What a hilarious piece Mr. Morris wrote and again an insulting one. I’m so glad he knows who should be the first woman president and we who supported Hillary don’t know our own little “girly” pea sized brains.

    That article is the same thing as saying Hillary wasn’t stepford enough to be president while at the same time deriding her for chosing to stay with her husband. NO woman will be good enough for them. They will always hold women to ten times the standard a man would be.

    Meanwhile I see congress on my television..can count on one hand the people who look like me.