To read today

Because these are the things I think but fail again and again to articulate:

Why everyone’s wrong about Gloria Steinem’s controversial statement
Jill Filipovic

“Men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women tend to get more radical because they lose power as they age,” Steinem said. “It’s not fair to measure most women by the standard of most men, because they’re gonna get more activist as they grow older, and when you’re young, you’re thinking, Where are the boys, the boys are with Bernie.

“The swift backlash did indeed garner an apology from Steinem. But the actual point remains lost: Not that young women only support Sanders because they want to impress boys, but that, especially among the young, “guy stuff” is cool and enviable, whereas “girl stuff” is lame, uncool, and, well, girly. In this primary, Sanders is the guy stuff. Clinton is the girl stuff.

Similarly, this isn’t to say that plenty of young women don’t like Bernie Sanders for his policy positions, his revolutionary message, and his far-left politics. They do. Young women aren’t dumb, and they aren’t pledging allegiance to Sanders just to get the boys. But especially for young women, there are social benefits to supporting Sanders — the Guy Thing, the cool thing — that don’t come with supporting Clinton. It’s difficult to discuss the nuances of cultural misogyny without sounding like you’re saying young women don’t know their own minds, but the “cool” dynamic isn’t relegated to young women. Every voter is influenced by factors other than policy positions — whether that’s perceptions of strength, radicalism, relatability, authenticity, who you’d want to have a beer with, whose face or voice just bugs you, whose candidacy would be historical. Those factors are distributed among the candidates unevenly and some matter more than others, but certainly, for young Democrats, coolness is a key factor in support and turnout — just ask Barack Obama.

To be clear, there’s nothing inherently suspect about being cool. Hillary Clinton had a moment of coolness too, when she was secretary of state — recall the Texts from Hillary Clinton Tumblr, and the meme of her with the dark sunglasses on, looking her Blackberry like a boss. That cool factor receded, though, as soon as she was running for president. As political writer Rebecca Traister has pointed out, powerful women can be cool, but women get markedly less cool when they’re competing for power against a man.”


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