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How will "new style" feminists fight the inequalities symbolized by Hillary Clinton's defeat?

Published August 26, 2008 8:10PM (EDT)

Tuesday night, on the 88th anniversary of women's suffrage, Hillary Clinton will speak before the Democratic National Convention. Organizers have declared the fortuitous timing an opportunity to celebrate women's progress, but as Susan Faludi writes in a New York Times Op-Ed, many Clinton supporters see it instead as "slathering some sweet icing on a bitter cake." To them, she says, Clinton symbolizes American women's political struggle: They're told time and again to wait their turn, that their time simply isn't now. In a provocative conclusion, Faludi seems to warn falsely empowered young feminists that they are vulnerable to the same forces that contributed to Clinton's downfall:

Again, the news media showcase young women's "feminist -- new style" pseudo-liberation -- the flapper is now a girl-gone-wild. Again, many daughters of a feminist generation seem pleased to proclaim themselves so "beyond gender" that they don't need a female president.

As it turns out, they won't have one. But they will still have all the abiding inequalities that Hillary Clinton, especially in defeat, symbolized. Without a coalescing cause to focus their forces, how will women fight a foe that remains insidious, amorphous, relentless and pervasive?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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