Did you see the rally for Obama in Los Angeles last Sunday? It rocked my world: Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and California First Lady Maria Shriver talking to a packed stadium at UCLA. (Watch the video here.)

For one thing, Michelle Obama is a great speaker in her own right and she is teaching us how to talk about race and women in new ways that only a non-candidate could do. But also, Maria Shriver made an unscheduled appearance to endorse Barack Obama even though her husband, Governor Schwarzenegger, had just endorsed John McCain.

It’s a great picture of how much power women have—women who are so confident in their power that they know they can throw it behind a man to get what they want out of the world.

Some of my harshest critics say that I’m “bad for feminism.” They say I give bad advice to women because I don’t see work as a place for women to fight against men to get equality.

Indeed, I generally see work as a place where women have equal footing with men. And personally, I see work as a place where men have mentored me the whole way. I would be nowhere without all the men who have helped me.

Sure, I know I’m still at a disadvantage because I’m a woman in the workplace. I was reminded of it just the other day when my business partner Ryan and I met with a potential investor. The guy passed on girl-related small-talk and spent twenty minutes with Ryan talking football.

And the same is true for black people in this country. Obama’s success doesn’t mean that things are suddenly great for black people everywhere. But Obama’s success suggests that we can stop requiring everyone to divide everything by black and white.

And that makes me also think we can stop dividing things by men and women. I don’t need to vote for Hilary Clinton to show that I support women. I support women by looking ahead to the next generation. My generation—which is Obama’s generation—does not need to fight the women’s fight anymore. Other people did it for us.

So thank you, feminists, but we’re moving on. And to see all those women in California—those women who got their power on their own, using it to support a man—that sends chills up my spine, because I relate to that. I want to stand with the men and be on their team, and the only way to do that is to earn power myself and share it, with whoever deserves it, man or woman.

Watch for this in politics, and do it yourself at work. You can get stronger at work by breaking free of the divide that some people assume is there. We don’t owe it to the last generation to keep fighting their fights. We owe it to the last generation to thank them, and then move on.

We have our own, more relevant fights today. Like how to work to live instead of live to work, how to stop being a slave to money, and how to make time for our families. These are issues for men as much as women. We are in those fights together.

And that’s what I saw happening in Los Angeles on Sunday. I saw a centerpiece of the new fight: For change. Whoo hooo!

58 replies
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  1. Ask a Manager
    Ask a Manager says:

    Thank you for saying this. I couldn’t agree more about not needing to fight old fights anymore. It’s something that I think older generation of feminists don’t realize about younger generations: because of the work they did, younger women don’t feel we have to automatically flock to the female candidate to prove something. We implicitly accept our equality, and that makes automatically flocking to the woman unnecessary and even odd. That’s what real progress looks like.

  2. Brian Johnson
    Brian Johnson says:

    Great reminder of how sometimes institutions, policies, attitudes, and organizations outlive their usefulness. There was a time when Unionized Labor made radically positive changes that we’ve all benefited from. But today many unions do little more than protect the weakest workers at the expense of the most talented and driven in the group.

    Many of the ideas criticized on this blog had a time and place where they made sense. MBA’s and law school made a lot of sense when they actually distinguished you from your peers. But they’ve outlived that purpose.

    Feminism is a great example of a cause that served its purpose but now almost distracts from more relevant issues like the meteoric disproportionate rise in CEO pay relative to the workforce, or the crushing costs of health care for small businesses and uninsured, or the divisive influence that organized religion has on our government’s policies and decision making. There’s a multitude of causes that can have a profound effect on a large number of people. Hopefully the spirited and talented leaders that have affected social change in the past can recognize when times change and apply their leadership to more pertinent issues. Oprah actually seems to be a great example of this.

    Great post.

  3. Benjamin Ng
    Benjamin Ng says:

    Here is a very touching and inspiring music video of Barack Obama’s victory speech after the South Carolina primary. Enjoy!

    http://www.dipdive.com

    Go Obama!

    * * * * * *
    Oh, this is so fun to watch. And I get so excited at how much creative energy people are willing to put into getting the message out…

    –Penelope

  4. Carole Dixon
    Carole Dixon says:

    As a Barak Obama fan, I agree that we don’t have to vote for a women, but as for not fighting old fights anymore, this simply isn’t true. Our reproduction rights which were fought for and won decades ago are again in major trouble (I live in Georgia and things aren’t so rosy down this way). The environmental progress has been trashed, and so has our fight to stop nuclear proliferation.
    We most definitely are fighting some of the same old battles and are in dire danger of losing them.
    I say vote Obama, yes! But do not fool yourself in thinking the old battles are won. And I will add – a vote for Obama is for peace and a vote for McCain is a vote for war!

  5. Jenflex
    Jenflex says:

    Carole: I don’t think that Penelope meant to imply that all the old battles on the topics you describe are won for good. I took it to mean that the landscape of the battlefield, and the group dynamics of the battles themselves, are changing.

    It makes sense to me, because I think Hillary, even though she is the female candidate, has moved “beyond” just being a female/feminist candidate: she has developed her positions on different issues, which in some cases don’t align with just being a female/feminist.

    She won’t get my vote, because she is such a hard-nosed political creature, that I don’t think there’s any ideal she wouldn’t throw under the bus, in service of maintaining her position.

  6. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “For change” – it’s already happening while the candidates are talking about it and taking credit as if it’s their own idea. It’s the people of this country that have made it possible for candidates and their spouses to have their voices heard regardless of gender, race, and religion. It’s refreshing to have this discourse. As for the workplace, I’ve worked with and for a woman. We each concentrated on our strengths and worked together as a team. It’s a great feeling to get past our own prejudices and generalizations and well worth the effort.

  7. Monica O'Brien
    Monica O'Brien says:

    So true. I think it’s great that women are not saying “I’m voting for Hillary because she’s a woman.” That defeats the purpose of women’s rights – the whole point is to be equal – to be seen not as a woman but as a leader and worthy presidential candidate.

    I know I’m viewed differently in the workplace as a young woman – but I’ve tried to find ways to use it to my advantage. I still get strange sexist feedback – for example, I was recently told I’m “feisty,” which I had to look up to figure out meant I speak my mind. I don’t see this type of language going away any time soon, but at least being a woman brings strengths to the table too.

  8. Cecily
    Cecily says:

    As a fan of yours, and a passionate feminist, I think you’re setting up an unnecessary dichotomy here.

    Check out any of the blogs run by younger feminists (feministing.com is the most prominent) — most of them aren’t endorsing Hillary. But ask any of them if that means they’re finished fighting “old battles”. Those battles are unquestionably still raging, even though some of the terms have changed.

    Take the tech/software industry, which loves to trumpet itself as being at the forefront of “change”, “the new economy” and all that. The proportion of women in this field is actually lower than it was 20 years ago, the pay gap in tech is growing instead of shrinking, and long hours are the norm.

    As a young woman working in the software industry, I don’t see a triumphant forward march here, and I’m not ready to “move on”. And still, I’d pick Obama over Clinton. Assuming that a vote for Clinton is a vote for feminism (and conversely, that not voting for her signals a departure from feminist ideals) is deeply problematic, not least for women of colour.

    * * * * * * *

    First, I really like the feministing.com, and I encourage people to go there. I always learn something when I visit.

    I’m glad you brought up the software industry. The pay gap is largely becuase of the long hours — women are less willing to work them, so they don’t rise high in that industry as frequently as men. (In fact, that’s how I got my first column – Fortune magazine was looking for a woman high up in the tech sector who wanted to write and there were, apparently, very few to choose from). If you look at equal pay for equal work in the software industry, engineers who are women acutally make more than engineers who are men. (This information comes from the think tank, Catalyst.)

    –Penelope

  9. Sleepercell
    Sleepercell says:

    I like this blog and I’m an ardent Obama supporter, but I’m surprised to see such ignorant views on feminism here. If you think things are truly equal you apparently haven’t seen the studies that show that women are consistently paid less money than their male counterparts for equal work. You obviously haven’t noticed how the media consistently picked over every detail of Hillary from her jewelry, to her voice, to her lack of (or too much) emotion through to whether she would be able to keep her spouse in line.

    The fact that women may or may not vote for Hillary says nothing about the state of equality between men and women in the US. As a woman, it makes sense to vote for the candidate that has the policies that I believe make sense for the country regardless of gender/race. If there was a candidate with an explicitly feminist platform they would probably get my vote again regardless of gender.

    I agree with others here that visiting feministing.com occasionally will probably help shed some additional insight.

  10. wayne
    wayne says:

    If you want REAL change, Ron Paul in 08. Everyones is missing the point that the candidates of both parties represent the ‘haves’ and not the ‘hve nots’, regardless of their rhetoric. Talk is nothing more than that. And since Ron Paul won’t win, let’s see the actions behind the promises. (Be prepaired for disappointment.)

  11. Cody
    Cody says:

    If you really think Shriver’s appearance was “unscheduled”, I have a bridge I’d like to sell–etc

  12. Connie
    Connie says:

    I’m sorry, I have to disagree. The very fact that it’s okay to criticize Clinton for getting a little emotional in an interview while all the male candidates get a pass on crying for the camera is evidence that feminism is still necessary. Sure, the major legal battles are mostly over (though I second the concern expressed above about reproductive rights being under assault); but the rampant misogyny I’ve witnessed in this campaign indicates that we’re not considered equal in this country and the double standard still applies to everything we do. Check out today’s post on Feministing about the 13-year-old girl who thinks women should support decisions, not make them: we are nowhere near out of the woods yet.

    That said, there is no Oppression Olympics. This is not an either-or issue. Sexism and racism intersect on multiple axes: both continue to be problems in western society, both need to be fought. You can be a feminist and vote for Obama without being a hypocrite, and you can be an anti-racist and vote for Clinton.

    Feminism will be unnecessary the day that it’s no longer publicly acceptable for a presidential candidate to laugh when someone asks him “how do we ditch the bitch?”

  13. Trista
    Trista says:

    Hi Penelope– I love your blog and I agree with much of your current post, but I have to strongly disagree with your statement about not needing to “fight the woman’s fight anymore”.

    Not only do we have to continue to fight legal battles, especially in the area of reproductive rights and discrimination (yes, it still happens), but we have to continue to fight cultural and religious norms that do not see woman as equal.

    I’m in my 30’s, was raised a right-wing Republican and evangelical Christian and I can tell you that women in leadership roles were (and often still are) frowned upon, unless they are under the protection of their husbands/pastors.

    Assertive women like Hilary make attractive targets for many religious fundamentalists (including Jewish, Muslim and Christian), so I think the battle’s far from over– we shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

    That said, I like Obama’s stand on the issues better than Hilary’s, so I will be voting for him on Super Tuesday. :)

  14. Priyanka
    Priyanka says:

    You aren´t bad for feminism, you´re just honest, and not afraid to challenge all values, including feminist ones. That kind of attitude is what the feminist movement was founded on…

  15. wayne
    wayne says:

    Women like you are the only hope feminism has to continue to be taken seriously. Statements like “If you look at equal pay for equal work in the software industry, engineers who are women acutally make more than engineers who are men. (This information comes from the think tank, Catalyst.)” are not representative of the feminist movement at large. You have taken a balanced viewpoint stance, whereas the feminist movement in general feels that if you can find ANY example of disparity (not in favor of women) then we are still living in a mysogynistic world. Why aren’t they crying foul about the software engineers you mentioned above if they are about “equality”?

  16. Sabrina Morgan
    Sabrina Morgan says:

    You’ve articulated something that’s been spinning around in my head for a long time now. “And to see all those women in California – those women who got their power on their own, using it to support a man – that sends chills up my spine, because I relate to that. I want to stand with the men and be on their team…”

    Our generation of women doesn’t feel comfortable on the women’s team. The definition of women who belong on the women’s team feels too restrictive and exclusionary to possibly include us, women who identify as people first and people with ovaries second. When it started, it was good and necessary because men’s spaces were specifically set up to exclude us simply because of those ovaries, but the ladies before us beat some doors down to make that (to a large degree) a thing of the past.

    We grew up roughhousing with the boys and it feels strange to go off to play house with the other girls when we have different interests. Frankly right now I’m interested in gender parity – we’ve made it (grudgingly) more acceptable for women to make “male” choices and take on male qualities, but female roles and qualities are still devalued. That’s one fight that plugs right in to work/life balance, because Gen X and Y men that feel comfortable raising their kids will push right along with us for work schedules that accommodate those needs.

    On the other hand, part of the whole reason women don’t feel comfortable identifying with the women’s team anymore is because I hear even women disparaging traditionally female qualities and roles and criticizing women more closely (maybe subconsciously in an effort to be seen as not a female supremacist?). When two or more women talk about someone else’s life events, it’s gossip. When my male friends sit around and do the same thing, it’s catching each other up or exchanging information… whether it’s a man or a woman doing the labeling.

    We’ve internalized some serious gender-loathing.

  17. The Engineer
    The Engineer says:

    This is from Jay Nordlinger’s “Impromptus” column on National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). He is reporting from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. I think the sentiment expressed here by Shimon Perez ties in well with your column.

    “Peres maintains that conflicts today are not between nations or ethnicities but generations. This is far-fetched, but he's worth hearing out. Peres says that older people – people like him – have too much baggage, too many memories. This can keep them from achieving anything. Younger people are less encumbered; they have much less baggage. And "thinking is better than remembering."”

  18. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    I both agree and disagree.

    I agree that there is no reason to vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman. I find the notion of voting for someone on the basis that she’s a woman just as insulting and sexist as the notion of not voting for someone just because she’s a woman. I’ll vote on merit (or in this case I won’t vote at all since I’m not American).

    I disagree that feminism has won its cause and that men and women are on an equal footing in the workplace. There have certainly been great strides made in the cause of equality and I’m grateful for the generations of women who have gone before me. But equal pay for equal work is still not a reality and women are underrepresented at senior managerial levels.

    I’m inspired to see a contest where the two serious candidates for the Democratic nomination are a woman and a black man. That’s not a reason to vote for either of them but it’s a sign that things are heading the right direction.

    PS The point about Maria Shriver is not really that she’s married to the Governator, it’s that she’s a Kennedy. The Kennedy clan has already endorsed Obama.

  19. jim bunstock
    jim bunstock says:

    Although I agree with your comments, I must note that your example of your disadvantage in the workplace may have less to do with feminism and more with circumstance. Had you and Ryan been meeting with female investor, I suspect that the “girl-related small talk” may have taken up twenty minutes, while Ryan sat by thinking of football. We tend to chat at length about subjects that interest us, with those present who share those interests. Were you excluded when you got down to business? That would speak more to your position in the workplace.

  20. Zainab Usman
    Zainab Usman says:

    Please refrain from partisan politics otheriwse i would stop visiting your blog. This is the second article you are writing on Obama.

    I am voting for Hillary because she is more competent. I refer readers to New York Times endorsement of Hillary. Being the President is not about how good a speaker you are. It is not about getting Oprah support. It is much more than that.

    After voting in 6 states, Hillary won four. She got more votes in Florida than all the votes Obama gathered in the previous 5 states.

    Hillary has my vote. Obama can return in 8 years.

  21. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Surely, you must be joking about feminism or trying to be provocative.

    I cannot *believe* you are saying women can just take those rights for granted. Certainly, there are many countries where women are permitted precious few of the rights some people take for granted in the U.S.

    Have you forgotten about freedom of reproductive choice? Last time we as women took that for granted, we began to lose ground rapidly.

    Smarten up, Penelope!

  22. Neil C
    Neil C says:

    Penelope,

    I disagree with all of your politics & half of your other views & I guess I might be the only conservative idealogue that visits your blog regularly. I think it is important to listen to all viewpoints & I find your articles very entertaining, informative & useful in the workplace. I am still trying to figure out what this article has to do with women in the workplace. I’m a sales manager & part of selling is figuring out what interests your clients & being able to converse with them about their interests whether thats girl talk or the Super Bowl. This one’s on you & has nothing to do with being a woman (especially if you didn’t watch the highest rated, most exciting Super Bowl in history).

    I actually agree with you that a vote for Hillary just because she is a woman is ridiculous. A woman doing this has no capability for independant thought. I will also go one step further & say that she has only gotten here from being married to Bill & staying with him through his countless indiscretions. Hilary is a woman who has stayed with a man who does not respect women & has repeatedly treated them like objects. How is this good for feminism?

    Obama will be the next president due to likeablilty & the weak Republican field. Due to his inexperience (he is essentially a lawyer with 3 years in the senate) he will be a one-term president.

  23. Dave "The Volleyball" Manager
    Dave "The Volleyball" Manager says:

    Neil – I haven’t read your posts here (and I haven’t been here in awhile), however I disagree with your 1st premise. Kudos for Penelope not getting bent out of shape when meeting with the investor (when Mr. Investor did not have enough sense to recognize whose business he was investing in). Further, Ryan should have followed his bosses lead because, well, she’s the boss. That speaks to Penelope’s constitution.

    I agree Hillary stayed with Bill to further her own political ambitions which is sad actually.

    If Senator Obama was white [sic], you would not have made that statement … oh … his mom is white … I disagree with the “Weak” Republican field. Romney has a heck of a background from business – to – politics.

    Everyone make an informed decision and vote for SOMEONE today.

  24. Kate Hutchinson
    Kate Hutchinson says:

    I have to disagree about “moving on” from feminism. Women aren’t equals, and I refuse to settle for less than equality. I want to live in a world where business small talk isn’t split along X and Y chromosome lines. I’ll keep pushing to make sure that older men in my workplace know that it’s not okay to call me “Honey.” I won’t give up and move on, because I’m still judged by my clothes, by the loops of my handwriting, and by the vagina between my legs to be inferior to men, and that’s one thing I refuse to let slide.

    Saying that feminism is over is the language of the Backlash. It’s men saying, “Hey there, you made it to the top, great job!” while they plot behind your back to curb your rights to your own reproductive organs or label pregnancy a disability, or mommy track your job. Don’t buy into that, Penelope. Don’t encourage it. Women *haven’t* won.

  25. Joselle Palacios
    Joselle Palacios says:

    I plan to formulate a more complete response tomorrow after I’ve voted. Because right now, I have no idea if I’m going to vote for Obama or Clinton. As Rebecca Traister wrote in Salon (http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/02/04/undecided/), this will be the first time in my voting life that I’ll be walking into a booth not sure of who I’d vote for.

    For the record, I’m female, feminist, young, Latina, and I really like Obama, am truly inspired by him and I will happily and excitedly vote for him if he wins the nomination. But I also respect Clinton’s record on domestic issues and do feel she would be competent enough to at least attemtpt to clean up this mess of a war. I endorse her health care proposal over Obama’s, though I understand neither plan will end up in their ideal state when all is said and done. Finally, I felt truly invigorated by hearing Edwards, a rich white man, speak when he was still in the running so go fig.

    But not needing to fight the woman’s fight anymore? I laugh at that. Have you been asleep during this last administration? Does McCain’s stance on reproductive rights not send chills up your spine? I’m a feminist all the way. A feminist that fully recognizes that black men get the shaft perhaps more than any other group in this country, if not world. But that doesn’t mean gender doesn’t matter. It’s one of the things that matters to me, that shapes my life. As a young woman of color from a working-middle class background, I don’t have the luxury to click off which box is more important to me.

  26. White Collar Working Schmuck
    White Collar Working Schmuck says:

    Here, here… well put!

    I applaud you voicing your perspective. As you say, it should be all about having everyone be on an equal footing. I have seen and been the victim of reverse discrimination, where women and minorities have been given unfair advanatges in the name of “fairness” and “diversity”. This approach in most cases doesn’t help the oragnaizations and it certainly does not help the individuals.

  27. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Oh, feminism, you divisive, divisive word! I may be reiterating what many of you have already said, but here comes my two cents anyway. The idea that the fights of either feminism or racial equality have been won is a misguided one at best. While the major legal fights may have been won (and I wouldn't count on that too much either), recall that the biggest legal fight, the right to vote, was won many decades ago (1870 for black men and 1920 for women). Yet here we are, equal under the law, but not equal in practice.

    That being said, the cause of feminism has moved forward, and those old-school feminists do frustrate us twenty-somethings by insisting on granting some great meaning to things like whether we like Sex and the City. The difference between now and then is that we no longer have to make everything a fight, and we don't have to look at men as the enemy. Thanks to our feminist fore-mothers, we have luxury of picking our battles and enlisting many men in the fight (Thanks for that, by the way. We don't mean to seem ungrateful!).

    I am a woman – an African-American, twenty-something woman, and I'm voting for Barack Obama (not against Hillary Clinton) not because I want to "move on" from feminism, or "because he's black" as Chris Matthews might like to think. I'm voting for him precisely because I want to continue to advance the cause of social justice, of environmental conservation, of educational excellence and American opportunity. Unlike his opponent, Obama doesn't relish politics as bloodsport. He's talking about what we can do to make the country better based on where we are now, and he's building a vast and diverse coalition to do it.

    Fundamentally, Barack Obama sees our hopeful future and isn't afraid to lead us there. Yes, we can :)

  28. Jennifer C.
    Jennifer C. says:

    By the way- the above comment is from a different Jennifer– Jennifer C. Not the one who want Penelope to “smarten up.”

  29. Caroline Aiken
    Caroline Aiken says:

    I love you people, all colors, whatever gender you claim.
    Thank you for your postings…I am the student…and a 52 year young white female, descended from indentured servants and prison in England in the 1600’s, who then came to America 1700 to grow crops for the king. I am one generation away from the Southern Taliban…who would rather kill the daughter than to try to understand her desire to be on her own, not marry up, tour and play music for a living.
    We are not THAT far away from the dark ages, and I don’t want to go back. It was a very dark place.

    When I finally got out, after being attacked, ignored, shut down, ridiculed, blamed, threatened to stay within and not go beyond the racial/gender/religion/social status…

    I found light beings who would open their eyes and hearts, to the inspired/hopeful. Race and Gender seemed to morph away and I could see through the skin to the heart, mind and soul.

    Finally, YES! There ARE people out here who aren’t so fearful of someone looking inside. Yes, there are people who believe in communicating this way.

    The south, where supporting their women folk looked like To Kill A Mocking Bird…
    I heard the previous poster when she said the Christian right will NEVER take a woman’s lead! It’s religious persecution, and this is alive and well, people!

    We’ve been wooed into a trap that tells us we must win in this game…a game that has been beneficial to a privileged few…that there is this god or that god that will only love a few.

    Everyone has ears, eyes, bleeds, needs and seeds the same.

    Women, our issue is in a good place, but don’t let your defenses down!
    Widen the scope to include any other inequality, any other wrong, and try to shine a light and make it right.

    may your muse bring a dish to the potluck,
    Caroline
    PS. I like the FAIR TAX…after being audited and wrongly accused by the IRS, being guilty until proven innocent, we REALLY need to change the TAX system.
    PPS. How about voting for the ISSUES, and let the politicians BID for the work, like everyone else has to? I’ve had enough of campaign promises.

  30. Shefaly
    Shefaly says:

    Penelope:

    I enjoy reading your blog. It is not for nothing that I comment so often here.

    But sometimes, I really think you just mean to provoke rather than to discuss things in a fair and balanced light (notwithstanding that goal is appropriated by something called Fox in one of the world’s most vibrant democracies, at least every 4 years). Don’t get me wrong. I do not expect a superb, fact-checked, referenced analysis on blogs but some of it will not go amiss.

    If you think the fight for feminism is no longer required, why complain about “girl-related small talk”? You cannot have it both ways. The workplace is not equal, the laws exist to protect the employer not the female employee etc etc – aren’t these some of the wise things you have written about? The wages of feminism and women smartening up are such that a smart woman can talk equally well about last night’s rugby match and the intricacies of baking a non-leaky-but-not-dry-yet-low-fat tarte tatin with the best of them. And irrespective of my gender, I am not interested in discussing with a business contact of either gender how fascinating their child’s snot might be!

    The “fight” is far from over. The evidence is to be seen right in your country. Ever seen a Planned Parenthood building? It has to be guarded against attacks and vandalism by rabid anti-abortionists. Ever wonder why the only woman candidate in your Presidential elections gets disproportionate column inches about her cleavage, her dress sense, her raucous laughter, her (lack of good) looks?

    The key flaw in your argument stems from extrapolating from a rather small sample of yourself and other women like you, and dare I say, limiting the extrapolation to the United States. The world’s 6Bn others – or at least half of that – have a very different experience of life.

    Or may be I should just expect less from self-proclaimed, smart, emancipated women…

  31. ernie
    ernie says:

    Hi Penelope,
    How does that song go?, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. You are right on about the new fights, however, don’t expect too much from Barack or Hillary.

  32. A.K.
    A.K. says:

    Penelope,
    You cannot be serious. Really, everything’s equal, we’re cool and those pesky feminists should just shut up? I wonder how you explain the fact that have never had a female president? Never. I guess it’s just a coincidence (???!)

    The fact that a major news organization even has to conduct a poll like this should tell you something:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/03/opinion/polls/main1281319.shtml

    And 5 percent of respondents would not vote for a qualified woman? It’s a small percentage – but that’s 5 out of 100 people, which should tell you that misogynistic attitudes still are prevalent, even if they’re not held by the majority. What about the unlucky women who encounter this 5 percent in the workplace, as bosses or coworkers? I’m really sure these women get a fair shake.

    Anyway, I think Obama’s great, and I was really torn between voting for him or voting for Clinton. I certainly agree it’s not a good idea to vote for Clinton solely because she’s a woman, but really, who does that? In the end I ended up voting for Clinton for many reasons – one of which is that I think it’s a disgrace that we have not had a female president. I also think it’s a disgrace that we haven’t had an African-American president. But in the end, all of the other reasons that I voted for Clinton ended up outweighing gender or race and it came down to who I felt would do a better job.

  33. Florence Brown
    Florence Brown says:

    Thank you! I’m both a woman and a minority, and neither trait was a major factor in my decision to vote for the candidate I chose. There are certainly things that swayed my vote which weren’t purely political (charisma, strength of character, family values) but race and gender were not part of that equation.

    Did you read Gloria Steinem’s op-ed in the NY Times? I wrote a response to the column here, in case you have a few minutes to kill. It runs along the exact same topic you wrote about.

    Keep up the great work, Penelope. You’re definitely one of my mentors! :)

  34. Matt M
    Matt M says:

    Penelope,

    I agree with your take on feminism 100% and I like your post as it relates to work.

    I can’t stand the feminists commenters here who apparently support Hillary just because she is a woman. Hillary is a feminist in rhetoric only. If she had any sort of respect for herself and the rights and respect of women she should have divorced Bill when during his presidential term or even before that if she knew of his infidelity before. The nature and scope of his infidelity shows that he doesn’t respect marriage or women in general. It would have shown that she was a stronger person than Bill and many others in politics and it would have shown much more leadership during difficult circumstances.

    Keep up the good work.

  35. Joselle Palacios
    Joselle Palacios says:

    Matt M, I’m willing to argue how feminist Sen. Clinton is. But I can’t find any of those feminist commenters here who support Clinton solely because she is a woman. I hear that played up in the media but you’ll have to point out that commenter here. What I read here is people, including those who identify as feminists, trying to rise above the short-sighted obsession with gender and racial binaries and trying to choose a candidate who they think most closely reflects their values.

    Penelope, I agreed with much of your post. I agreed with how inspirational you found Michelle Obama and Maria Shriver’s speeches and how you can support women in part by supporting a newer generation. But I totally disagree with dismissing feminism just because Obama is more appealing. That’s where you lost me. There is just so much more we need to do and a lot we have lost during the Bush administration that needs to be taken back. I agree with Shefaly that saying the status of women is just fine dismisses the reality of the lives of women all over the world who are not as free and fine as some American women.

    By the way, I decided to vote for Obama. I really grappled with it all day, which surprised me since for months I wasn’t too fond of Clinton but not full of Obama-mania either. Finally, it was Clinton’s vote for the war that was the decider for me. I can’t say I am madly in love with either one of them but I made the right choice for me for now.

    Interesting. I watched the Today show this morning and they broke down voter demographics for each party. For the Republicans, it was moderate versus conservative. That was it. For Democrats, they broke it down to women vs blacks vs white vs under 40 vs Latino vs over 20. This totally ignores any POLICY differences amongst Democratic voters. And it dismisses people like me who fit into more than a few of those boxes! I just haven’t met any real, live person whose voting for Clinton or Obama solely because of their race or gender. I only hear about it in the media.

  36. Dale
    Dale says:

    Having been burned so many times in my long long life, I find it difficult to get really excited about any political candidate.

    What does stand out to me however, is that your article articulates the fact that women by and large, still have to “stand behind” a man to achieve their rightful needs, wants and ambitions. True, things are better than they were, open wife beating and the sale of child brides are no longer standard practice … (here) but the fact that we feel compelled to celebrate the ability of famous women to “stand behind a man” to help him win support for his cause/self/agenda, just seems like more of the same to me.

    Would Clinton be there if it weren’t for Bill?

    Is this “socio-political development” any different to busty models standing next to new cars in magazines?

    I’ll celebrate if either democrat wins, but right now, I believe that both Clinton and Obama are chronological aberrations due to a dirt of appealing democrats .

    Just my two cents worth:(

  37. b
    b says:

    from a smart woman with actual perspective on career and how women fight battles often distinct from men – in other words, a woman who should know better – this is an appalling, analysis-free write-up about nothing. no one has ever made it easier for me to click ‘unsubscribe.’

  38. Noemi Ybarra
    Noemi Ybarra says:

    I generally agree, but this:

    “My generation – which is Obama's generation – does not need to fight the women's fight anymore. Other people did it for us.”

    Is a bit foolish. Sure, we’ve made great strides and in general, the workplace and other options we want are open to us. BUT…not always, not in all places. There are plenty of people in power who
    think we should be relegated to our Roles of Olde, who are actively working to shove us back there. That fight still exists, and if we don’t keep at it, if we don’t INSIST on being treated equally and fairly, we will not be.

    There is still a need for diligence. There is still a need for improvement. There is still (and always will be) a need for feminism.

  39. Samara
    Samara says:

    Dan Schawbel the use of the word “minority” is soon to be a thing of the pass. Using that word is an example of the separation of white, black, etc that Penelope reiterated in her post.

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