Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky affair is one of those dividing events that separate the political spectrum, but with the 2016 election, it’s become common to assert that Bernie Sanders’ supporters should be backing Hillary Clinton instead due to feminism. In endorsing Hillary, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright made it abundantly clear that she felt Democratic women should all be behind Mrs. Clinton, and in response so-called Bernie Bros have reacted negatively to the idea that simply being a woman is a reason to vote for Hillary.
The definition for a Bernie Bro is fairly elusive. As the Atlantic put it this past October, the “Berniebro is male, though. Very male.” At the same time, Bernie Bros have been spotted in the wilds talking positively about feminism.
“The Berniebro might get into big performative arguments about how feminism saved his life,” claimed the report. “Or, the Berniebro might always seem like he’s going to say that we need economic equality for all genders but doesn’t actually say it, because he knows that it wouldn’t go over well.”
A writer for Slate agrees the issue is not so cut and dried in regards to whether the Bernie Bro is a cheap political ploy or a group that’s really sexist and misogynistic. Their own “research has revealed that both viewpoints are correct,” with some critics have claiming the Bernie Bro designation is simply a “handy, all-purpose pro-Clinton smear” meant to “inherently delegitimize all critics of Hillary Clinton by accusing them of, or at least associating them with, sexism.”
These type of allegations are not new. Back in 2008, the so-called Obama Boys were also accused of using sexism in their attacks on Hillary supporters. But this time around, the Bernie supporters believe the issue has two sides.
On the other side of the coin, there are the so-called Hillary Hoes, whom Bernie supporters claim are blindly following Clinton.
— DoubtingTomFYI (@DoubtingTomFYI) February 21, 2016
Feminist icons Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem even went so far as to suggest that any female Bernie Sanders supporters have a “special place in hell.”
“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Albright said during a Clinton rally in New Hampshire. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”
Steinem even suggested the only reason young women were supporting Sanders at all was because they were hoping to meet an attractive, young Bernie Bro.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” Steinem said, according to the New York Times.
The backlash caused by this comment eventually caused Steinem to apologize on Facebook.
“I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what’s been misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious in their politics,” she said. “Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before.”
A recent Guardian article dragged Monica Lewinsky into the debate raging between the so-called Bernie Bros and Hillary Hoes. In 2014, Lewinsky asked, “So where, you might be wondering, were the feminists back then?” This question is important, because even Hillary supporter Lena Dunham says she was “disturbed by how, in the 1990s, the Clintons and their allies discredited women who said they had had sexual encounters with or been sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton.”
Hillary Clinton has refused to discuss what happened during the Lewinsky scandal, but the Guardian writer believes “it’s a crucial part of the narrative of the Clinton dynasty that has driven Hillary Clinton forward.”
“Hence, it’s my prerogative to feel ambivalent about supporting a candidate who positions herself as a feminist but who has been yielding in her support of a partner who has been a serial ill-user of women – and who, lest we forget, paid $850,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit out of court,” wrote Jean Hannah Edelstein. “Yet at the same time I can see that Hillary Clinton would not be a likely presidential candidate without having made the decisions that she made in the late 90s… Would any woman, in that political climate, have taken a public stand against the president?”
What do you think?
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]