I say yes, and I think Ms. Magazine’s cover is great. Obama has reportedly self-identified as a feminist, and has the legislative record to back it up. Is he a perfect feminist, or a perfect progressive? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Is he going to disappoint us over and over? Yeah, he’s already started. But he’s still pretty damned good, especially for a mainstream, center-left politician elected to the highest office, and I don’t really see the point in kicking him out of the club just yet.
When the chair of the Feminist Majority Foundation board, Peg Yorkin, and I met Barack Obama, he immediately offered “I am a feminist.” And better yet, he ran on the strongest platform for women’s rights of any major party in American history. Feminist Karen Kornbluh, the platform’s principle author, ensured women’s rights, opportunities, advancement, and issues were addressed throughout the historic document.
Never has it been easy fighting for equality and social justice. The politics of Washington, our nation, and our world are tough. We have spent far too many years fighting to hold the ground we had already gained. Now is the time to move forward. We are in one of those rare transformational times in history.
But we are not giving President-Elect Obama a blank check. For our hopes to be achieved, we must speak out and organize, organize, organize to enable our new president’s team to achieve our common goals. Ultimately, we must hold our leaders’ feet to the fire or, to put it more positively, uplift them when they are caught in the crosscurrents of competing interests.
Now is our time to think big. We cannot settle for less…too many women’s lives, too many people’s lives, depend on it.
In loosely-related fangirl and self-promoting moments, I’m quoted in this issue of Ms, in their Visions for Change article, where feminist activists share their hopes for the Obama administration. Reading through the list of quotes — bell hooks! Kavita Ramdas! Alice Walker! Dolores Huerta! Ani Difranco! — I kind of feel like the kid who doesn’t belong, but it’s nonetheless immensely flattering to be on that list. So check it out. And you can share your vision for transformational change here (and let us know what it is in the comments).
What do you all think of the cover?