no party owns feminism
new agenda speaks out

ON CONSIGNMENT: Amy Siskind is the founder of New Agenda, a women’s group which sprung up during the 2008 presidential election in defense of women’s rights.
onconsignment byline
Ah, the hacks that killed the women’s movement are back at it again. Yesterday, a young woman writer named Michelle Goldberg wrote a piece in The Daily Beast titled The Re-invention of Hillary Clinton, in which Michelle writes that she has apparently discovered (my emphasis added):

A year ago today, Hillary Clinton ended her presidential campaign-to the relief of many. But even her critics must admit that as secretary of State, she’s been a feminist hero to behold.

To the relief of who Michelle? You?

Yes – Michelle goes on (my emphasis again):

One year ago today, Hillary Clinton ended her presidential campaign, much to the relief of millions of ardent Barack Obama supporters like me. Throughout the primaries, I had been irritated and then outraged by those who argued feminism obliged women to back her… So when she made her rousing and gracious speech in the National Building Museum, conceding defeat but celebrating "18 million cracks" in that highest, hardest glass ceiling," I was too furious to really hear her.

Now, if you click on the "irritated" link above, you’ll be taken to an article the Michelle wrote titled "3 A.M. For Feminism" after the Democratic National Committee Rules Committee on May 31, 2008. The DNC RBC event is significant because, amongst other things, WomenCount, PUMA and Just Say No Deal were all born. Michelle, however, a self proclaimed "ardent Obama supporter" was not happy. Michelle interviewed me for her 3 A.M. article that day in DC after my speech: I’m Not Your Sweetie Howard Dean in which I described my disappointment with the DNC for turning a blind eye to the sexism directly at Hillary Clinton. Michelle, an ardent Obama supporter, didn’t like what I had to say. Now, let me pause for a moment and say this:  if Michelle Goldberg is ever attacked in a sexist way, The New Agenda will come to her defense. This is what we do!We speak out against sexism directly at any and all women. That said, women like Michelle are exactly the reason why feminist has fallen on hard times to begin with.  You see, Michelle is part of the clique, and if you don’t meet her criteria, then well, apparently you are not a feminist. Let me explain.

As many of you know, The New Agenda, along with many other organizations and blogs, spoke out about the Ms. Magazine Cover featuring President Obama. As a result of our speaking out, we were interviewed on CNN (see below) and as well, I wrote a piece
for The Daily Beast titled How Feminism Became the F-Word.

Ms. Magazine and its owner did not like that we were speaking out, and so, started a smear campaign. In an email blast to a listserve of feminist writers, as associate editor as Ms. sent around a note: The cover is generating some backlash online from Hillary supporters Michelle Goldberg was apparently part of this listserve – here was her response:

I quoted the woman who wrote about this for The Daily Beast months ago in my TNR piece about Hillary holdouts. She was cheering for John McCain. That’s not what a feminist looks like, as far as I’m concerned… (and apparently Michelle’s comment upset enough people on this listserve that my inbox got five copies.)

So, let’s see Michelle. First Hillary Clinton was not a feminist – oh until today when you discovered that she was. And any woman who is either a Republican or votes that way in any election is not a feminist either. Oh and I am not a feminist either since I spoke out about sexism in the DNC (sexism only counts if the Republicans do it). Who then Michelle is a feminist in your book?

You see this is the reason that feminism fell on tough times the membership ranks have dwindled in recent years. For Michelle, if you don’t fit every criteria on her list, then apparently, you are not good enough to be part of whatever she believes she is speaking for. But Michelle, you don’t speak for us. You speak for what has been and no longer is. You see, your clique is so small, you have become a self-contained unit of few. The future looks bright and frankly quite different. We call it Big Tent Feminism – it’s inclusive, it’s revolutionary, and it’s truly the way forward. So maybe Michelle, now that you are no longer too “furious to hear”, you can evolve to the next generation of the women’s movement and join us. Just like Motel 6, we’ll leave the light on!

P.S.: Just one side note: Michelle Goldberg actually had her publisher reach out to me in December 2008 to preview her upcoming book. I guess back then,
I was still a feminist!


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