Women like to be taken seriously. Why is obvious enough: Too many of us have spent too much of our lives not being taken seriously, or living in fear of not being taken seriously, or suspecting that even if we’re being taken seriously now, we won’t be in a minute or two.
We like to be taken seriously by men. We don’t like being: shouted down, patronized, ignored, regarded over the tops of our heads (whether literal or figurative), dismissed, psychoanalyzed, diagnosed or otherwise mansplained. We resent it when men try to tell us what we’re thinking and why, how we’re feeling and why, what we should be thinking and feeling and why. And we especially don’t like being told that our motives for doing something are other than what they are.
We don’t like it when women do that, either.
And that’s about all I have to say in response to Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright and their much-discussed attacks on the women — the young ones especially — who support Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. By now you’ve read all about Steinem’s now-weakly-retreated suggestion that female students were flocking to Bernie for the boys; Albright’s hellfire proclamation damning such women for eternity; and all the responses, both sympathetic and outraged, that pit This Kind of Feminist versus That Kind of Feminist.
But that, too me, is not the issue. Bernie or Hillary is not the issue. The campaigns of both are not the issue. The issue, to me, is anyone of any sex on any side not taking any woman seriously. If some double-X Democrat says she’s voting for Sanders because she’s more closely aligned with him or she distrusts Clinton’s motives, BELIEVE HER. If someone else says she’s voting for Clinton because she’s experienced, savvy and gets things done, BELIEVE HER.
Don’t ignore what a woman is actually saying. Don’t shout her down. Don’t shut her up. Don’t shrink her, scoff at her, dismiss her point of view and impugn the validity of her thoughts, feelings, actions. Take her seriously. Take her at her word. That’s all we ever ask.