The MotherhoodIt's become a bit of a cliche that the current generation of young women have serious conflicts with the boomer generation of second-wave feminists, in that this generation has little in common with them. Partly thanks to the previous generation's struggles, this generation does not have to assume sexism will stand in their way of leading their lives more or less how they choose(at least as much as any of us get to do, which isn't much). And the boomer generation cannot stand that, which illustrates the point that those who destroy a model of society are usually not the best judges of how to rebuild. The boomer generation is not content to realize that, where it counts, victory was gained and, though not perfect by a long shot, society has fundamentally changed in its attitudes toward women. The younger generation takes the rights they have for granted. And the irony of all this is that this is the best sign that the second wave got what it wanted: when those rights are assumed, and the thought they might not exist is not a thinkable one. But that's not really what the second generation wanted. They also want constant recognition for what they did, and constant gratitude. And for the younger generation to forever follow their guidance and accept their greater wisdom. And this is never not the case with elders in any situation. Too old to be a sisterhood anymore, they now want to be a motherhood.The second generation, like anyone--but especially in a generation as self-obsessed and insufferably convinced of their own godhood as the boomers--does not want to now seem irrelevant, or admit their time is past. This is popping out now in their scolding of younger women for backing Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton, and the presumed reasons why so are laid out well in this Slate piece by Linda Hirshman, which dismisses female Obama supporters as simply trying to get back at their mothers. Isn't it amazing how many different ways dismissal of women's opinions can manifest? When women first got the vote, the assumption was that they'd vote for the best-looking candidate(although, as it turns out, according to accounts at the time, they did; but what kind of time must it have been when Harding was considered the sex symbol in the race?). And who would know better than a second-wave feminist how easily you can manipulate women by making them doubt their own ability to make judgments? Only this time it isn't because they're women--it's because they're younger
women. Mommy wants her president; do what she says.Which in turn has touched off this rather heated discussion in their forum, the Fray.I find myself, unsurprisingly, on the younger side of this. Especially when the points seem to be these:Younger: I can vote for who I want to, and there are a lot of reasons not to vote for Hillary.Older: You ungrateful little airhead. We earned this, and you'd better not take it away from us.I realize that, as one advances in age, the urgency and impatience to see one's goals finalized increases. But are the older feminists actually this clueless? Hillary has run a hideous campaign, and if this is how she does against fellow Democrats, can you imagine how she'd fare against the Republicans, who have been arming against her specifically for more than a decade? As many have pointed out, she's only where she is because of who her husband is. I have my doubts about Obama, but in my mind, Hillary's the one with an almost assured chance of losing.But for the Motherhood, this would be a noble loss, as it would then be the Republicans' fault, not as traceably theirs.