Linda Hirshman’s done a lot of interesting work, but here she is again with yet another tiresome and reductive article about how young women who are supporting Obama are betraying all that is right and good, this time with the posited reason being “mommy issues.” Courtney Martin and Dana Goldstein have some smart responses, but it occurs to me to add that there seems to be something unusually mind-fogging about the prospect of a generational divide.
It’s not, after all, as if every over-30 woman in America is voting for Hillary Clinton. If you’re a woman, and you’re also an executive at nuclear power company, you’re probably going to find a lot to like about John McCain. African-American women of all ages tend to support Obama, though that wasn’t always the case. Women, like men, participate in a variety of practical identities any one of which might seem more significant at the moment. Obama’s base of support is younger, blacker, maler, and better-educated than is Clinton’s. But obviously if his support was limited to young, male, African-American college graduates he’d be hopelessly far behind — his candidacy is viable because many, many people who only share some of the characteristics of the ur-Obamafan have a tendency to support him.