Having grown up in an era where sex-based discrimination was legal, they understand how easy it would be to return to that era. This has led to a characterization of second-wave feminists as somehow militant, a label that even third-wave feminists might apply to them.
Looking at the 2008 Democrat presidential primaries, the conflict between second and third wave feminists became apparent. Many second-wave feminists felt that it was a woman's duty to vote for the female candidate because having a woman run as a serious contender in a presidential primary could be an isolated event. In contrast, many third-wave feminists, though thrilled that Clinton was taken seriously as a candidate, simply did not think that her candidacy would be an isolated event; instead, they believed that women would continue to make credible candidates in presidential elections. Moreover, many third-wave feminists, like the author, seemed to find racial barriers more oppressive than gender barriers. To them, pushy white broads, like Clinton, had already begun to muscle in on the territory traditionally held by white males (Traister, p.139). Somehow, electing a black male candidate seemed more socially progressive than electing a white woman, especially one who was so entrenched in the white male power structure. Of course, the difficulty of the debate is that both second and third wave feminists have good points. Electing a female candidate simply because she is female is not feminism; the goal of feminism is to have women treated equally, not preferentially. On the other hand, penalizing a woman because she was married to a powerful man and is white is not the goal of feminism, either.
5. In Traister's book Big Girls Don't Cry what kinds of intersectionalities emerge with the Presidential candidates? Choose 2 Presidential candidates discussed in the text and describe what types of intersections they inhabit as well as how they are privileged and oppressed.
The intersectionalities that emerged with 2008 Presidential candidates had to do with traditionally divisive lines in American society. These intersections included class, race, education, gender, and religion. Traditionally, non-whites, members of lower socio-economic classes, the uneducated, and females, have been part of the disenfranchised. They simply have not been seen fit as candidates for the highest public office. Moreover, presidential candidates have been overwhelmingly protestant, with little support for minority religions. There have been some exceptions, but, aside from Geraldine Ferraro, every major presidential or vice-presidential candidate prior to 2008 had come from the opposite sides of those groups: white, male, educated (at least in comparison to the people of his time period), and in the upper-middle to upper class. While presidential candidates may have had humble origins, by the time they made it to the national stage, they all had significant personal financial resources. The 2008 campaign changed the game. First, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were women. Barack Obama was a black man. Mitt Romney was Mormon. Bill Richardson was a Latino. While the candidates all had a higher education, which made them more educated than a lot of the American public, they were not all graduates from well-respected schools. What the 2008 campaign revealed was that the American public was willing to consider candidates outside of the box.
As first blush, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, both being female, seem to have the greatest factors in common. They are both white, protestant females and they come from established political backgrounds. However, it is more interesting to note the places where they do not intersect. Clinton is highly educated, with a post-graduate degree from a much respected university, and was a strongly successful lawyer throughout much of her husband's political career. While her accomplishments were unusual when her husband first ran for the presidency, they became more of the norm for potential first ladies in later campaigns (Traister, p.35). Clinton also had a tremendous amount of personal financial resources, many of which were the result of her husband's presidency, but many of which were also the result of her own income. In contrast, Palin had a fluff degree which she obtained only after attending five separate undergraduate universities. Palin was solidly middle-class, with no financial resources and no personal source of class-based power. While Palin was the governor, there was no expectation that she would leave that office with any significant financial wherewithal. Even more interesting is how they contrasted in what may have been their greatest intersection: femininity. Palin self-identified as a hockey-mom, which may have been a bit disingenuous given that she was the governor of Alaska at that time, but it was how she portrayed herself to the public. In contrast, Clinton was always identified as a career woman. Palin had a very large brood of children, and, with a newborn baby, was easily identified as a mom. Clinton's daughter, in contrast, was an only child and a full-grown…