The Men Feminists Left Behind
On Nov. 8, Americans may elect our first female president. While many of us are exhilarated at the idea of this feminist victory, the toll we’ve paid for coming so close to that historic barrier has been the most graphically sexist election in living memory.
What this campaign has shown us is that while feminism has transformed American culture, our politics and the lives of women, men haven’t evolved nearly as rapidly. Women changed. Too many men didn’t. What happens next?
For all of American history, white men have been both the dominant group and the default one: It was mostly white men in charge, and it was white male experiences and norms against which all others found themselves contrasted and defined. When Hillary Clinton started at Yale Law School in 1969, there was only one woman in the United States Senate. It was legal for a man to rape his wife, but abortion was mostly outlawed. Mrs. Clinton graduated as one of just 27 women in a class of 235, after being explicitly told that if accepted into law school, she would take the rightful place of a man.