FALSE CHOICES by Liza Featherstone


The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton
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A collection of essays from radical activists and academics eviscerating Hillary Clinton’s brand of feminism.

In “The Great Ambivalence,” professor Tressie McMillan Cottom confesses, “I want to trust Hillary Clinton more than I do,” which is a far more positive perspective on Clinton than the other essays display. As editor Featherstone (Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers Rights at Wal-Mart, 2004, etc.) and contributor Amber A’Lee Frost argue in the introduction, “feminism is not an anatomical Super Bowl in which all adherents root for Team Vagina. Instead, feminism is a set of political ideas, or several sets of political ideas that are often wildly at odds. This book itself advances a vociferous disagreement with the type of feminism that has produced and sustained Hillary Rodham Clinton.” The charges against her range from her board membership with the anti-union Wal-Mart to her hawkishness as “the administration’s most vociferous advocate for military action” to her and her husband’s pivotal roles with the Democratic Leadership Council, which positioned the party away from liberal verities and toward a more conservative centrism. None of the charges are particularly revelatory, but the framing of them as a feminist critique of a feminist candidate can be devastating. Clinton’s support of so-called “welfare reform” and the war on drugs has been brutal toward minority women, though Clinton herself seems to separate gender issues from ones concerning race. In the concluding “Beyond Hillary,” feminist theorist Zillah Eisenstein writes, “Hillary Clinton’s brand of feminism—power feminism, imperial feminism, white ruling-class feminism—are [sic] not the answer to this moment of crisis. And the answer must be about so much more than gender.” Lest she emerge from these pages as the Lady Macbeth of presidential politics, the essays have plenty of ammunition reserved for her husband and take some shots at the current president.

One doesn’t have to be as far left as most of these essayists to see the contradictions in the subject’s credentials as a progressive feminist.

Pub Date: June 14th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-78478-461-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Verso
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016


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