I'm probably just the type of woman--almost 9 months pregnant, on leave from my job as TNR's managing editor, and happily bouncing away on my birthing ball as I watch Hillary Clinton tank--that gives Gloria Steinem a headache. Steinem is right--I don't feel any compulsion to support Clinton. But this has nothing to do with her being a woman or me being a woman (or at this point, a woman and a half).
The reason that I'm not jumping on the Clinton bandwagon has to do with the fact that I've long found her inauthentic--an impression that Dahlia Lithwick suggests many voters share. This impression has only been heightened by Clinton's post-Iowa rash of protean transformations from angry debater to tear-filled diner patron. What's next? Will she be taken away by ambulance after locking Chelsea in a hotel room and refusing to come out?
In all seriousness, I don't have a problem with Clinton being a woman. But sometimes I get the feeling that she does. And, frankly, that lack of comfort in her own skin, and with her own identity, turns me off. Clinton--and Steinem, for that matter--represents a generation that fought the culture wars but now can't let go of those old axes and paradigms. This is not to say that the issues Steinem raises aren't real: Heck, as a woman in journalism I know that sexism (not to mention racism, classism, and many other -isms) exists. And, sure, there are folks who won't vote for Clinton because she's a woman just as there are folks who won't vote for Obama because he's black. But I resent Steinem's implication that I--and many other young women--are unable to look beyond gender and evaluate a candidate based on other merits. This is a failure of Steinem's imagination just as Hillary's inability to translate her life experiences and policies into a fresh vision is a failure of her own.