Voting for Clinton is like choosing a chick flick?

A film critic argues that women are too weak-willed to select movies or presidential candidates without their husband's approval.

Published February 14, 2008 10:00PM (EST)

Is Hillary Clinton lagging behind Barack Obama because when push comes to ballot punching women are too spineless to vote for a woman but instead submit to their husband's wishes?

Such is the demented logic on display in a blog post by San Francisco Chronicle movie critic Mick LaSalle. Evidently frustrated by the nose-diving prospects of his candidate, LaSalle has breathlessly come up with an argument so ludicrously sexist that it's hard to follow, much less swallow.

He contends that the reason there are so few women's films now in comparison with the matinee days of Rosalind Russell and Bette Davis is that women now go to films with men and in the end men ixnay the chick flick and embrace the motion picture with a higher dosage of testosterone. Quite apart from the fact that picking a movie and voting for a presidential candidate don't necessarily follow the same decision-making process, doesn't the gender imbalance in film reflect the fact that studios (mostly run by men) are trying to tap into the biggest moviegoing audience -- teenage boys and young men under 25? From there it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy: There are more movies starring men and fewer female-centered movies to choose from, so naturally more male-oriented movies get chosen.

But the notion that women should be voting for Clinton and aren't because they are ceding to the wishes of their menfolk in a sort of estrogenic self-hating Bradley effect is patently wacko. It's not that women aren't torn about voting or not voting for Hillary. (For a great exploration of this, check out Shakesville.) Some would love to but can't stomach her last positions on the war. Others did vote for her but don't feel comfortable about voicing their support for fear it will hurt her to have women speak out for her. But polls have generally shown that it's not a battle along gender lines so much as a complex play between age and education, ideology and gender -- where, for instance, Obama does best with liberal women and worst with nonliberal women. And I have no doubt that there are a few people who are not voting for Clinton because they would never vote for a woman -- but my wild guess is that most of these people are men.

Why not go after them? But, of course, that wouldn't be as satisfying as blaming those weak-willed human lemmings known as women.

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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