As the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton has been seen by numerous feminists as the woman who could shatter the highest glass-ceiling of them all: the White House.
It’s been implied, if not explicitly spelled out, in many feminist circles that women should support Clinton because she’s a woman, and electing a female president would be a boon for the progress of women’s rights.
At a Clinton rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 6, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—the first female to have held that position—said, “There’s a special place in hell for women that don’t help each other.”
But there’s a minor kink in that narrative. Younger women overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders. In the Iowa caucuses, women under 30 voted for Sanders over Clinton by a ratio of 6 to 1.
On the Bill Maher show, second-wave feminist icon Gloria Steinem suggested that younger women supported Sanders not because he was a good candidate on women’s issues, but because he was popular with younger men, whom younger women want to impress.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,” Steinem said, explaining that older women support Clinton because women “lose power as they age,” and become more “radical” as a result.
Predictably, Steinem’s comment didn’t sit well with female supporters of Bernie Sanders, both young and old alike.
Gloria Steinem: young female Sanders supporters vote Bernie because they’re boy crazy, want attention from boys https://t.co/bCtmHSnq8e
— Elizabeth Bruenig (@ebruenig) February 6, 2016
— libby watson (@libbycwatson) February 6, 2016
World’s best known second wave feminist makes one of the campaign season’s most sexist statements. https://t.co/yes5ULnLTy
— Liza Featherstone (@lfeatherz) February 6, 2016
1wonders why Sanders has support at all-women’s colleges like Wellesley when there are few cute boys around2impresshttps://t.co/raYqjqO5d5
— Alison Spalding (@AlisonSpalding2) February 6, 2016
Sanders had an impressive performance in Iowa, having achieved a virtual tie with the establishment-backed Clinton, and is expected to trounce her in New Hampshire, although Sanders is still behind her by double-digits among Democrats nation-wide.