Zillah Eisenstein’s notion of gender decoys was very important to me (and my esteemed editor, De) in writing Sex & War, the book I did a couple years back on gender and militarism. So I am happy that Eisenstein has weighed in over at Commondreams on the execrable race-baiting of the Clinton primary campaign.
It seems clear that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for president this fall. Nevertheless, it is crucial to clarify how wrong-headed Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been so that the legacy she leaves does no more damage to a multi-racial, multi-class based feminism/womanism both here and abroad.
None of the pundits and journalists appears to be wondering and worrying about black women in this post-Indiana-North-Carolina-West-Virginia moment. Instead, all eyes, and especially Hillary and Bill’s are on the so-called “white-hard-working working class”. Hillary’s preoccupation with white voters is a dead give-a-way of how she thinks about gender, and being a woman. Gender is white to her, like race is black. Bill and Hillary Clinton have thrown African-Americans to the wind because they thought they could play the gender card with its history of whiteness and win.
And here lies the rub. Hillary Clinton presents herself to the electorate as a woman. She argues that she wants to break the glass ceiling of/for gender. But the truth is that she is not simply a woman but both a woman and also white. The very fact that she ignores her own race, in a way that Obama cannot, is proof of the normalized privileging of whiteness. In this instance white is not a color, but the color, the standard, by which others are judged. So she silently, inadvertently but knowingly, uses her color to write her meanings of gender and mobilize older white women and angry white men by doing so. She presents herself as a woman but her real …