Jackie Blue, the Equal Opportunities Commissioner, thinks that feminism is all about more women rising to the commanding heights of capitalism. So it is no surprise she supports Hillary Clinton's bid for the United States presidency.

A FORMER NATIONAL PARTY MP and a former National Party candidate have this week debated the meaning of modern feminism.

It was former National Party candidate Paul Henry who sparked the squabble. On his TV3 breakfast show he said that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton should be campaigning as the best person for the job and not emphasising the mere fact that she is a woman.

It was not so long ago, and on another television channel, that Henry thought he was entirely within his rights to poke fun at the physical appearance of a woman who he had just interviewed. So it can't be said that Henry has anything particularly incisive to say about feminism.

That's obviously what the Equal Opportunities Commissioner thinks too, because she felt compelled to respond to Henry's remarks. She took it upon herself to define feminism for him.

Dr Jackie Blue, who was a National MP for some eight years, said that Hillary Clinton's ambition to become the first woman president was not outdated:

"Feminism is a belief that gender should not limit anyone's chances at life and quite frankly people are deluded if they believe women currently get the same opportunities as men to make it in business, politics and the like."

It is an understatement to say that this is a particularly narrow and reactionary view of feminism, although not one that surprises. Jackie Blue is, after all, a conservative with conservative views.

She thinks that feminism is all about the right of women - and mostly white and successful women - to share in the spoils of capitalism, to climb the corporate ladder . In the case of Hillary Clinton, it is her right to climb all the way up the corporate ladder and into the White House.

If that's feminism then it is the feminism of a Margaret Thatcher rather than a Rosa Luxemburg.

Rather than pull the machine down, Blue wants more women to be pulling its levers.

But aren't the issues of wealth and power also feminist issues? Aren't the neoliberal economic policies of austerity and privatisation a feminist issue? These policies, after all, often disproportionately impact the most severely on working class women - who are often the lowest paid and the first workers to get fired. And, within the homes, the neoliberal policies directly impact on issues such as domestic violence and health related issues - which are intensified by poverty.

But Blue's brand of conservative feminism sits well with the so-called liberal women groups who are presently wheeling in behind Clinton. In the United States the National Organisation of Woman (NOW) and other American mainstream women's groups are all  declaring their support for Clinton's campaign. It was also a similar story in 2008 when Clinton was beaten to the Democratic nomination by Barack Obama. NOW endorsed her campaign because of her "long history of support for women's empowerment."

This enthusiasm for Clinton obscures the fact that she is not the champion of “people historically excluded,” as she claims in her 2014 memoir. She is anything but. But liberals will ignore her dubious track record all in the name of getting the first women elected President of the United States.

For an excellent overview of Hillary Clinton's true politics please read Rania Khalek's column, which I have also posted on this blog.


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