That’s just one take-away quote from a terrific op-ed by Gloria Steinem ago about sexism in the ‘08 presidential race. (A correction notes that it misstates Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s position; presumably it will be amended to note that Kennedy today endorsed Obama — which probably won’t take Steinem by surprise.)
Why, Steinem asks, is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? She’s concerned that unlike their male counterparts, female voters in the Iowa primary “were seen as biased if they supported their own and disloyal if they didn’t,” and that “some women, perhaps especially younger ones, hope to deny or escape the sexual caste system; thus Iowa women over 50 and 60, who disproportionately supported Senator Clinton, proved once again that women are the one group that grows more radical with age.”
I’ve been asking my women and minority interview subjects which factor — racism, sexism, or ageism —presented the most obstacles over the course of their lives. Not one has answered “sexism.” I wonder whether that attitude is generational or situational? Or is it a function of a very long lens? How is it related to the fact that these women were de facto pioneers in the labor market, and the wider world as well. I’m going to start asking what they think of Steinem’s comment.