Gloria Steinem, who supports former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, recently made controversial statements (or misstatements) in which she suggested that young women who support Bernie Sanders are doing so not out of well-considered political judgment but because they are thinking “‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.’”
Steinem serves as one of eight Honorary Chairs of Democratic Socialists of America (along with Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich, Frances Fox Piven and others) based on her work for DSA in the 1980s and ‘90s and one of its predecessor organizations, Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. While we appreciate Steinem’s pioneering work in the feminist movement and view her as a major figure in the history of feminism, we were very disappointed by her disparaging comments about female Bernie supporters, many of whom are active DSA members. Her views do not reflect those of the DSA leadership.
The National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America views Steinem’s remarks as demeaning toward the many dedicated female activists (young and old) who are active in the Sanders campaign because they recognize that Senator Sanders’ political program supports feminist and democratic aims more so than the platform of Hillary Clinton.
DSA members individually may and will vote as they choose, but DSA as an organization is actively supporting the Sanders movement. Senator Sanders is fully committed to publicly funded childcare, paid parental leave and a truly universal health care system. Senator Clinton has rejected these feminist policies. She also backed her husband’s welfare reform legislation, which had extremely negative effects on the lives of millions of low-income women and children. We find these facts to run counter to the argument that she is the only feminist choice.
Steinem now claims that her remarks were “misinterpreted,” but it is disturbing that these remarks, along with other recent complaints raised by Clinton supporters about women who back Sanders, emerge just as polls show that Senator Sanders is the choice of a majority of young women voters. Young women — as well as people of all ages — are supporting the Sanders campaign because they believe in the politics it represents, and we share the anger of those whose motives were questioned by Steinem’s ill-considered remarks.