Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright are unhappy that young American women aren't voting en masse for Hillary Clinton. They seem somewhat miffed that their efforts to change the world did not result in precisely the outcome they envisioned. As far as I can tell, what they and their wave of feminism were going for was a world in which gender was completely irrelevant except in the matter of tribal affiliation. Women would achieve as much as men, but also retain WOMANHOOD as their primary cultural identity -- regardless of ethnic background, cultural ties, socioeconomic status, education level, career path, etc. -- and consequently the primary target for their altruism. So basically, lip service aside, they're agitating for an old girls' club instead of an old boys' club.

Special place in Hell, indeed. For the love of fuck, shut up before the redpill lunatics hear you.

Jessica Williams had a beautiful, sarcastic response ("I literally vote with my vagina! These things are like third hands."), but hers was the only one I've run across that hasn't missed the point entirely. All the other editorials defend Sanders on the basis that, say, his economic policies, in benefiting the poor, would benefit women, who are disproportionately represented among the impoverished. No one is giving any consideration to the idea that I might consider it more important to be represented as part of the economic underclass than as a female human.

Feminism, for the younger generation, does not mean voting for Clinton because she's a woman. It means not ignoring Clinton because she's a woman, and evaluating her position on a level playing field with all the men in the running. I personally find that my priorities lie in not fucking starving, for which reason I am leaning towards Sanders, when I have any real opinion at all. I would vote for a rent-to-own dinette set over anyone the Republicans coughed up, so I am only really paying enough attention to these things to note that nobody has caught fire on stage yet, and then go back to Facebook.

[The Congressional races are more immediately relevant, but I can only vote in one district, and Massachusetts already has a history of electing people who are either relatively sane and efficacious (Elizabeth Warren) or hilariously cranky (Barney Frank). I don't feel I need to personally run around trying to avert disaster here in Boston.]

I suppose one of the reasons I am so easily annoyed by all this is that the narrative of feminism Steinem and Albright are still pushing is almost completely alien to me. They're still advertising feminism as the savior of women who are ignored, who struggle to win acclaim and attention, who are told not to worry their pretty heads about politics and science and make themselves feel better by buying some new shoes instead. They sell the idea that you, the new feminist, have been marginalized right into the pages of Seventeen magazine, and you, the new feminist, should realize that you are permitted to have thoughts!

This has nothing to do with my life at all. I've never felt I had to struggle to prove my competence because I was female. Hell, half the time I do it without noticing. I try to do my job and keep my head down, and one day someone turns up and starts giving me alarm codes and keys and cash boxes. I expect to be listened to when I am saying relevant things, and people generally oblige. I own my little bubble of space on the train, and if you intrude into it, I will use the corner of this here Kindle case to stab you repeatedly in the kidneys until you move. I will tell you to move if I have to. If you really warrant it, I will in fact cause a scene.

I ended up like this because I was a tiny STEMmy girl-child, and the grown-up women who intruded in my educational process were enchanted with the idea that I would someday both be female and do math. They also treated me like brains and social acumen were on opposite ends of the same axis. I basically got a doctor's note excusing me from Girl Class during the years when young women are traditionally trained to do all the emotional heavy-lifting for everyone in range. To this day, when someone who is not me is in conflict with someone else who is not me, even if they are in my immediate environment, I consider it Not My Problem.

Clearly, I was distressed over not being able to squishy-human correctly, and equally clearly, I was far too book-smart to learn how to do it, so in lieu of anyone actually attempting to teach me anything, they tried to convince me I shouldn't have any feelings on the matter. And if any feelings happened to occur in my immediate vicinity, I should leave them for someone else to clean up, because I was too incompetent. Which sounds suspiciously like what boys traditionally get told, particularly about dealing with girls.

As for the appearance-based aspects of Girl Class -- well, that's also apparently on the opposite end of the axis from calculus, because nobody made much of an effort to teach me that, either. Everyone fawned all over me when I did engineer things, and assured me that girls who put time and effort into learning clothes, or makeup, or hairstyles, were stupid and shallow. Not like me. I was special. I wasn't flighty like them. People like me, smart people, didn't waste their time on it.

Thematically, the arc of my life has had more in common with the brightly-painted genius men I keep paying attention to than with any of the stories people like Steinem are trying to sell me. They differ greatly in magnitude, obviously; since I'm female and read as such, wearing makeup and having social skills gets no real reaction from strangers. I only copped emotional abuse from people close to me over most of it. But the message I got -- people like you don't do that -- came at me from more or less the same direction. It wasn't an effort to keep me confined in a box of things that were considered lesser, by telling me I wasn't worthy of climbing out. It was an effort to keep me shut out of a box that contained things other people thought were unsuitable, by telling me I was better than the things inside. My opinion of either the inside or the outside of the box was never asked.

Both sides of that are wrong, but I am really very tired of being treated as if I am in denial when I point out I got Terrible Option #2 rather than Terrible Option #1. I find I have very little in common with the generation of women who all tried to reassure me that I shouldn't worry about Girl Things because they were stupid anyway. I am disinclined to listen to people who make assumptions about me based on how I look, and try to emotionally manipulate me accordingly. I am even less inclined to listen to anyone who tries to tell me whose genitalia to vote into the Presidency.

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