Candidates Breathe New Life Into Feminism

Amie Newman

The democratic race for the presidential nomination has got progressives hotly debating who is the better feminist candidate. What is truly fascinating, however, is the potential for a new, dynamic definition of feminism to emerge from the debate.

I have received some interesting emails today.

And they are all about feminism and the presidential candidates. I have to say that no matter how cynical you (okay, I) may be about this race, the fact that we've got progressives clamoring over one another to explain why Clinton or Obama is the most "feminist" choice is pretty impressive.

What's truly fascinating to me about this dialogue, however, is not who is the more feminist candidate but what the potential may be for a new, dynamic definition of feminism to emerge. A definition that expands beyond the boundaries of liberal women's living rooms. A definition that pushes past the borders of income level, age set, ethnicity or race. A definition that barrels over the man-bashing, hairy-legged, angry cartoon character. And maybe even a definition that erases party line.

Is feminism about the fact that a white woman has made it farther in a U.S. presidential race than any other female in this country's history?

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Is feminism about the fact that an African-American man is running on a presidential platform of lifting up every voice and making change for all women?

Is feminism about the fact that women of this country have the ability to make or break this election on both sides?

Is feminism about the fact that the majority of Americans support reproductive justice in this country?

Is feminism about the fact that actively chasing and garnering women's support means more to the Democratic candidates than ever before?

Is feminism about the fact that the discussion over what is more feminist – a vote against war or the creation of a healthcare plan that covers all Americans – is being had from coast to coast?

We have the opportunity now, no matter who comes out ahead after today's "super-ness" is over, to continue the conversation about the intersection of feminism, civil rights, reproductive justice, economics, and the politics of war. Whether it's on the Democratic or Republican side, the momentum gained in the presidential race thus far should not be lost. Let's force an agenda on our presidential candidates that represents the ideals we believe in.

A new feminism is being birthed. Let's raise it well.

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