Young women voting for men (Obama).
Someone wrote that I should be cheered up by Obama winning Iowa's democratic primary.
Here are the three reasons why I'm not:
1. First off, let me say this: people put way too much stock into a totally unrepresentative sampling, and then it influences all the other primaries. I hate that.
2. Young women in Iowa voted for Obama, rather than Hilary.
3. More white people in Iowa voted for Obama (~ 70%) than black people - less than 50% of black voters in the Iowa primary chose Obama.
Yesterday I watched the (all white, on this occasion) commentators talking about why this is.
Apparently people can easily understand why black Americans wouldn't vote for a black man (the main reason among black women, they say, is fear that he would get shot).
What I don't like is that young women didn't vote for Hilary.
I agree that Hilary's campaign has not made a point to 'reach out' to younger voters, and that this was probably a mistake.
I also think, although no one has talked about it much, that younger women are mostly sheltered from the sexist realities of grown-up life. I know I was. I really didn't experience anything consistently disruptive to my success until after grad school.
It doesn't really help that organizations like NOW devote most of the pages of Ms. magazine to international abuses of women's rights. They also do things like putting out anniversary issues patting themselves on the back for all the progress they've made. It sends the erroneous message that most of the work is already done, that sexism in the U.S. is mostly gone, been taken care of.
I beg to disagree.
David Gregory said on Tim Russert's show that he thinks Hilary has transcended the whole gender issue.
I think he's wrong.
Let me say again that I think Hilary is great. I respect her more and more as a strong role model, the kind I'm sorely lacking for in life in general. And I think she'd be a great leader.
But in talking about Hilary, I've seen a subconscious sexism among my friends, the same thing I've seen when talking about female professors.
They don't say she's incompetent, stupid, lazy, or that she would do a bad job.
They say they don't like her.
What nobody seems to be able to articulate too well is why they don't like her.
Here's what I think: this is a classic example of subconscious sexism. There's plenty of evidence that we expect women to play certain kinds of gender roles, and that being liked is more important for women's career success than being competent.
In short, I think people are harder on Hilary because she's a woman. What's most insidious about this is that no one makes the gender connection in these kinds of judgments. That's the thing about prejudice: if you're not aware of it, you're probably influenced by it.
All of that said, I like Obama just fine. I'd be happy to have any of the democratic candidates, truth be told, and I'm terrified of all the republiscum.
But it's interesting. The more I see Hilary trying to 'soften' her image, and doing more interviews, the better I like her.
I feel the reverse about Obama. He's a bit too polished. I don't like his tendency toward overblown rhetoric. I don't trust it. I don't like how it's beginning to sound like unrealistic, evangelistic, pulpit-talk. And it seems to be getting worse the longer he's on the campaign trail. He's playing to young voters because he's preying on young people's idealism, and while I see what he's trying to do and I would love to buy into it- I don't. I know from personal experience that Hilary's battle-hardened pragmatic approach is where Obama will end up, whether in the White House after learning the hard way, or later on when he's a bit older.
So no, I'm not really happy that Obama won in Iowa. I'm just a little bit disappointed that minorities are being kept down by their own prejudices- against themselves.