Don't boomersplain your feminism to me

Shaming young women for supporting Bernie Sanders is damaging to the feminist movement.

The political and social climate of this year’s presidential election has gotten me used to having things boomersplained to me by people with the wisdom and "experience” to know what they’re talking about. I guess they think whippersnappers like myself don’t know how to read a history book, and therefore, can't shape an informed opinion.

I guess I should have seen it coming when Gloria Steinem undermined millennial women in an interview with Bill Maher last Friday by suggesting that they were only supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the democratic nomination to find dates.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’” Steinem said.

This is an ignorant and lazy assertion as well as hypocritical. It's this kind of thinking that stunted women from being allowed to be politically active in the first place. This drawn up caricature of the boy-crazy, feeble-minded girl is something I’d expect to see on TheRedPill. I was extremely disheartened to hear that Steinem — a woman I’m supposed to look up to as a hero — said this.

Steinem has been an outspoken leader of women's rights since the '60s. She stood beside Bella Abzug and Betty Frieden in forming the National Women's Political Caucus and co-founded "Ms. Magazine." Steinem has an outstanding resume as a feminist and could have used her position to articulate the feminist narrative while positively endorsing Clinton, but instead, she blew it.

In response to the backlash, Steinem posted a retraction on her public Facebook page saying that she "misspoke" when she implied that young women aren't serious in their politics. 

In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what's been...

Posted by Gloria Steinem on Sunday, 7 February 2016

While I respect Steinem for acknowledging her serious case of diarrhea mouth, her apology still didn't confront the damage her comment did to her credibility as a feminist. To say viewers simply misinterpreted what she meant is not enough. 

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright — who was also the first woman to serve as secretary of state — also joined in with scolding women for not supporting Clinton.

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” she said. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

I agree with Albright, the mission behind feminism is not done yet, but that doesn't mean everyone is going to agree that Clinton is the most qualified to finish leading the climb. It’s true that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women but there is also a spot reserved for women who feel justified to tear other women down. 

Related Links:

How do You Define Feminism?

MonOrchid's 'Feminism Today' amplifies diversity & impact of feminist thought


Reach the columnist at kgrega@asu.edu or follow @KelcieGrega on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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