The Problem With The Feminist Case For Elizabeth Warren – Why Aren’t We Allowed To Hate Her?


Elizabeth Warren is running to be President in 2020 – that much is obvious even if campaign finance laws mean it’s all about exploratory committees and the like so far. At which point we’re beginning to see the feminist case for her, which amounts to sure, she’s not likeable, but judging a female politician on likeability is just so sexist.

No, really, that’s about it. If we all go around insisting that an unlikably populist demagogue shouldn’t be President then we’re being sexist – the truth of unlikability, populism or demagoguery can be disregarded, we’re just thinking with our penis and that’s that.

This is of course ridiculous. Entirely the point of the correct feminist case is that unlikably populist demagogues should be called out and rejected for being one or more of those three things regardless of the contents of their underwear. It would be sexist to overlook those three because of the underwear thing:

The issue with Elizabeth Warren isn’t likability. It’s sexism
Moira Donegan
The claim that a woman candidate is not ‘likable’ is code for saying she defies our shared cultural understanding that power and authority are implicitly male

Given that the word bollocks is irredeemably vulgar these days we’ll just have to scream testes at that one. Being likable is the paramount talent required of a politician on the grounds that there’s really not much else they either can or do offer us.

The claim that a woman candidate is not “likable” is a code for saying she defies our shared cultural understanding that power and authority are implicitly male, and that women who claim them are illegitimate, threatening or breaking the rules. If it were possible for Warren to be “likable”, under this rubric, it would only be if she were able to adhere to prevailing ideas of what is appropriate behavior for her sex – that is, if she were not seeking public office at all.

I don’t agree with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez on anything at all but I think she’s likable. So was Anne Edwards. Nikki Haley seems to have it too. It’s not about women, power nor politics. It’s about Elizabeth Warren.

Which is how it should be of course. I despise the persons and or – variously – politics of Owen Jones, Caroline Lucas, Mitch McConnell and Elizabeth Warren. I do so on my estimations of their politics and personae. And that’s the decidedly non-sexist way for it to be done too, an adult making up their mind about politics or personality without fear or favour regarding genetics, gender or gussets. For me or anyone else to judge Elizabeth Warren by different standards just because of the contents of that gusset – or if we’re to talk about sexuality what dampens it – would be to be sexist.

Good thing too that I’m not sexist, isn’t it, even if Elizabeth Warren is still an unlikable populist demagogue that I despise.

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