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Feminist Gloria Steinem says young women support Bernie because they want attention from boys.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Steinem dropped the notion during an interview on Bill Maher’s show, in the context of a broader discussion of this season’s Democratic primary. Discussing Clinton and Sanders’s respective support bases during the Friday night interview, Steinem said: 

“Women are more for [Clinton] than men are. ...First of all, women get more radical as we get older, because we experience. ...Not to over-generalize, but ... men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, women get more radical because they lose power as they age.

And, when you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie...”

Maher then joked that he wouldn’t be allowed to say such a thing, lest Steinem slap him, because chalking young women’s politics up to their desire to meet boys actually is a profoundly sexist thing to do. (It’s also the case that people don’t appear to radicalize, or change much at all politically, strictly due to age.) It’s just too bad that insight had to come from Bill Maher instead of Gloria Steinem. 

Meanwhile, one wonders why Sanders has support at all-women’s colleges like Wellesley when there are few cute boys around to impress, and why Steinem once declared Bernie Sanders an “honorary woman” to endorse him in a 1996 race against a Republican woman. If Steinem has radicalized with age, her remarks about young women’s politics certainly don’t show it.