After a visit to Bill Maher’s show, “Real Time with Bill Maher” Gloria Steinem found herself under fire for comments made about young women’s candidate preference for the 2016 Presidential race. Steinem is quoted saying,
“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,” insinuating that young women are only backing Bernie Sanders, because that is who many young men are supporting.
These comments struck a nerve with many and ignited social media, with the hashtag “#NotEntitledToMyVote” becoming popular. What was most odd in this situation is that Gloria Steinem is a strong figure in the feminist movement, yet she made sexist comments implying that young women are making their decision for the democratic candidate based on hormones. This is what most shocked me, and made me want to share this story with the class.
This reminded me of the reading, Oppression by Dr. Marilyn Frye, because Dr. Frye expresses that commitment to political ideas is one of the many networks in which women are exposed to penalty (p. 12). Frye states that, “The experiences of oppressed people is that the living of ones life is confined and shaped by forces and barriers which are not accidental or occasional and hence avoidable, but are systematically related to each other in such a way as to catch one between and among them and restrict or penalize motion in any direction.”
The fact that a renowned feminist icon is expressing sexist ideas, such as “young women only want to impress boys,” shows that some patriarchal notions are deeply ingrained in all of us. They can and should be avoided, especially by someone who has fought for gender equality for years, yet here they are being used as a way to describe why young women may not necessarily vote for Hillary Clinton.
Additionally, I thought of the term heteronormativity. She is assuming that all young women choosing to back Sanders instead of Clinton are heterosexual and “just there for the boys.” Her statements are dismissing intersectionality and completely disregard LGBTQ supporters of Sanders, which was not taken lightly.