THE BLOG
05/17/2008 08:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Is Obama Man Enough To Be a Feminist Too?

In the vitriol over primacy claims to victimhood between females and blacks, we see our two candidates draining the pustulous boil of the once-silent liberal majority. That in the end, is going to be a good thing. It might not get either of them elected against the rich white guy with the snappin' salute.

Then again, it just might.

The kids recently pulled my junior high school yearbooks off the book shelf. Ellis Junior High, 1974, was the kind of mixed-race, mixed-class public school I don't think exists anymore. Hard by the crumble-down projects in Elgin, Illinois, it served black and Latino kids on welfare, and lower middle class white kids like me, but was close enough to country club suburbia to draw students who fox-hunted and would soon head off to East Coast prep schools. The black guys came to school with picks in their huge Afros, and joints in their pockets, and we danced with them to Bootsy's Rubber Band, in parentless, pot-scented, subsidized living rooms.

We never imagined that in our lifetime, we would someday be competing for the spoils of dying-Empire America.

Looking at those yearbooks, I realized I have no idea what happened to any of those young black men. Did they get lucky, draw the affirmative action straw and get into private colleges and law school, get promoted up the EEOC ranks of a multi-national? Or, are they delivering mail, pounding nails, in jail?
Whenever I start to think about the competing victimhood claims between blacks and women, I think about those guys. The fact is, for all the "glass ceiling" and sexual harassment crap I endured, those guys started off a long ways behind where I was.

Like others (including Erica Jong, under attack on this page right now for referring to Obama as a boy) I think Obama looks boyish. And by that I mean young - not "bwah!" With his infectious grin and stick-out ears, he looks like a kid, and that's a good thing and a bad thing. I like that he's my age, he's new and fresh and he's going to negotiate with our enemies (yes! Long overdue!), say things the old fogeys would never say, and try new ways of doing. But he doesn't exactly look grizzled or "seasoned," and it's not because of the color of his skin. As we all know, in our generation, fifty is going to be the new forty.
Like many women, I feel the visceral draw to vote for a female. The nasty sexist crap Clinton has had to endure only makes me want to support her, even though I don't even like her, and I don't think she's a good leader. She doesn't have that warm, follow-me, sun-god quality that leaders in a democracy must have. In politics personality does matter, and it doesn't matter how many disastrous frat boys we elect, that'll never change.

I have a white female friend so passionately supportive of HRC that she screams the Tina Fey line "bitch is the new black" after a few glasses of wine at dinner. And accuses me of being a bad mother and sister for not feeling the pain of our not getting a female president elected this time around.
The fact is, as the UN reported some years back, women world-wide are five hundred years from parity with men. So why should we expect to get a female president right now? Furthermore, and not to make the perfect the enemy of the good, this particular female is not the best candidate anyway - she de facto offends many working women because, even though she did work herself, she really did get to where she is thanks to her husband. And, as has been repeated countless times, she's playing the game the old way.

She's phony Beatlemania in the age of the Clash.

That said, it would be nice to see some glimmer of feminism coming out of our presumptive black male candidate. I'd like to know what he thinks of OJ Simpson, for example. Would he, law professor, stand up in front of a black crowd and admit that he thinks OJ got away with murdering a white woman - unlike the countless black males who actually didn't murder the white woman, but were hanged anyway? In all cases, remember, the woman was actually dead.

More importantly, will Obama repudiate the misogynistic undertone in rap music, the tidal wave of bitch and ho vulgarity that does nothing to move young black (and white) women an inch closer to parity with men?

Calling female reporters "sweetie" is not - ahem - a step in the right direction.

Every day in America a woman gets the crap beat out of her by a boyfriend, every other day, in New York anyway, a man kills his wife or girlfriend. That's feminism 101, friends, it's where we really are on a planet where whole nations can still deny women the right to drive, use birth control or go to school, and force them to wear black blankets over their heads.

All we can do is hope this new kind of man leader cares enough to speak about it.