Obama is a radical feminist (according to men’s rights activists, anyway…)

// 6 May 2008

michelle and barack obamaThe US election process is continuing on its long and merry way, and I have thus far resisted the urge to go into all the endless back and forth over the fortunes of each candidate. However, I couldn’t let pass this piece over at Men’s Daily News, with the headline “Obama Hitches his Wagon to the Radical Feminist Agenda”.

A number of points: Men’s Daily News frames this as a bad thing. And they have a shaky grasp on what constitutes radical feminism (that’s putting it too kindly – in fact they aggressively reframe liberal feminist concerns and organisations such as NOW as ‘radical’ because they have their own anti-woman agenda, but hey!)

So, back to MDN. If anyone could ferret out a pro-woman policy/agenda, then surely it is a bunch of men’s rights activists looking for something to object to!

As you can see, Sen. Obama is marching lock-step with the radical feminist agenda, pretty much from A to Z:

Note: unfortunately they don’t manage to come up with 26 seperate instances of “radical feminism”, but we’ll take what we can get.

Abortion: Obama endorses the entire abortion package, including partial birth abortion. The National Abortion Rights Action League gave Obama a perfect 100% score over the last three years.


Child Support: Obama wants to spend $4.9 billion over 10 years to throw more low-income dads in jail. That will force more single moms onto the welfare rolls. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Remove the piffle from men who are offended that they are expected to provide financial support their own families, and that sounds quite good. $4.9 billion! Excellent!

Contraception: Obama wants to expand teenager’s access to contraception. Remember last month’s comment that he didn’t want his daughters to be “punished” with a baby?

Again, excellent stuff. No enforced pregnancy!

Domestic Violence: The democratic candidate believes that women are never violent towards their husbands. (I guess Hillary laying tracks on Bill’s face and singer Amy Winehouse beating up her hubbie don’t count.)

I am going to assume this is a response to Obama actually saying something that acknowledged male violence against women.

Gender Wage Gap: Barack insists discrimination is the reason why women chose to work fewer hours than men, and that needs to be fixed with stronger enforcement of the Equal Pay Act.

Something that only bitter misogynists who think women should be paid less for the same work could object to.

Math and Science: Women hold only 12% of science and engineering jobs in business and industry. More proof of the patriarchy keeping women down.

Again, shame there’s no more details on what Obama would do about this, but he’s paying attention…

Title IX: Obama wants to continue Clinton-era policies that impose government-enforced quotas on men’s participation in college athletics.

Great – Title IX, UK readers, is a wonderful provision which means that US schools and universities must commit funds to sport for girls and women. We could do with one of those.

Women-Owned Businesses: Female-owned businesses are more likely to have their loan applications denied. Didn’t I tell you discrimination lurks everywhere?

Is he going to do something about it? Not clear, but again, a sign that Obama is identifying gendered problems.

Women’s Health: Obama wants to fund the separate-and-unequal “Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health” that turn away uninsured men with serious medical problems.

Wow, those men’s rights activists really are off the rail. But, again, great stuff.

And then there’s the matter of Michelle Obama. An intelligent and charming woman, I’m certain. But is she First Lady material? I have my doubts.

At a New York fundraiser, she tweaked the Illinois senator for not “putting his socks actually in the dirty clothes” – a necessary qualification, we know, for every man who one day hopes to become president.

Because a first lady should be subserviant to her husband at all times; cracking jokes about him displays an improper lack of respect. Jesus.

The finishing touch to a thoroughly offensive story?

Somehow this reminds me of the patronizing attitude that once galvanized the civil rights movement

Barack Obama, the latest hen-pecked Democratic candidate who has pretensions of becoming the next Leader of the Free World.

Note: for a more serious commentary on what’s going on stateside, you may want to check out the tooing and froing over at Comment is Free, with Alice Walker arguing why Obama represents the radical change the US needs, then Bonnie Greer giving her response.

Photo by baratunde, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Anne Onne // Posted 6 May 2008 at 7:17 pm

I love how they were incensed that Michelle had the temerity to admit that her husband was human, and not live in awe of him!

It all stems from this expectation misogynists have, that wives should be so deferent to their husbands, to the point of never admitting they have any weaknesses, never make mistakes, and can’t do bad things. I remember reading a comment about Heather Mills that asked how dare she criticise Sir Paul, a National Treasure! Because wives should just kiss the ground their hubbies walk on! And of course, they take issue with Michelle calling it her house, because it can’t possibly be hers if she’s married!

Besides, all of the above, if true, would be good things to vote for Obama for.

The way Men’s Rights Activists frame this, anybody left of the BNP’s a radical feminist!

And extra marks for slippin in a reference to Communism! Lovely.

Redheadinred // Posted 7 May 2008 at 12:24 am

I think Obama is a really promising candidate. I typed ‘pro-choice’ into youtube and found a video where he was talking to Planned Parenthood, and I was thrilled someone was actually addressing these issues – at last! He is certainly a feminist, and he seems like a sincere person. I really do hope he is, and I hope he gets a chance to prove it.

orlando // Posted 7 May 2008 at 8:36 am

Isn’t it hilarious when someone intends a line sarcastically, and inadvertently says something true (“more proof of the patriarchy keeping women down”, “didn’t I tell you discrimination lurks everywhere”)?

I wish I could share your faith that Obama is a feminist, Redheadinred, but some of his actions make for pretty queasy reading. The account on his own website of his decision on how to vote on the confirmation of Roberts for Chief Justice shows that he gave serious consideration to voting to confirm a virulently anti-women judge, and only changed his mind because a staffer pointed out it would be bad for his record, not that it would be bad for women.


I notice, too, that Michelle is still in charge of looking after his dirty socks.

herra // Posted 8 May 2008 at 9:18 pm

I have come to the conclusion that men’s rights activists (MRAs) is the new word for male chauvinist. Men’s rights are men who believe in maintaining their right to male supremacy

They are determined to blame feminists for everything that goes wrong in this world. So if Obama does things that they done like then clearly he is an evil feminist

Redheadinred // Posted 9 May 2008 at 3:32 am

‘I wish I could share your faith that Obama is a feminist, Redheadinred, but some of his actions make for pretty queasy reading. The account on his own website of his decision on how to vote on the confirmation of Roberts for Chief Justice shows that he gave serious consideration to voting to confirm a virulently anti-women judge, and only changed his mind because a staffer pointed out it would be bad for his record, not that it would be bad for women.’

I never really like any politicians that much, but I’m watching Obama closely. As I say, I think he’s a promising candidate, not perfect, but better by far than what I’m used to seeing. I’ve never been impressed with a speech by a politician before the Planned Parenthood one by Obama. Yes, I can see the faults in some of his logic, (the statements about USA being the ‘freedom fighting nation’ for example, is a load of old bollocks) and sometimes he falls down where women are concerned, but I’m not about to give up hoping yet. We all, infact, have our definitions of what it means to be a feminist. There’s those who’ll say that associating with or endorsing non-feminists makes you not a feminist, and some will say liking porn, some will say even shaving makes you not a feminist. At this stage, I still give Obama the benefit of the doubt that he is a feminist in the broad sense… I’m 18, all I’ve ever really known is a UK and US government which is far, far worse than that, and any relief from that towards the more progressive is a welcome change. To me, the fact that Obama is being criticised as being ‘a radical feminist’ and that so-called ‘mens’ rights activists’ are offended is a sign he’s doing something right at least.

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