Let’s start, this time, with a story. This is about Hillary Clinton – everything I write seems to be about her these days – but it’s about me, too. It’s about what it means, to be a feminist, or a woman on the left, and whether it matters. So before I get to her, let’s give you a good look at me.
I’m at a job interview. It seems like I actually have a shot at this one. Someone who likes me knows the boss here, and has talked me up to him in person. I can show him my most recent performance review, in which I’m described as “a joy to work with,” that “my editors fight over who gets to edit my pieces,” and where the “places for improvement” section mentions they actually have to “wrack their brains for something I could do better.” I’ve come prepared to talk about my strong, built-in reader base, which I built from the ground up; the fact that I’ve led several social media campaigns that received national or international press attention and raised substantial funds, one of which was enthusiastically endorsed by several pro-choice members of Congress; my award for social media activism, from a prestigious women’s media organization, which I won by popular vote; the fact that I wind up at or near the top of my magazine’s “most-read” traffic list every time I publish a new piece.
I can mention other things, basic work-ethic things. I can mention that I have not voluntarily taken a vacation day or a sick day for the past 18 months, and that the last sick day I took was only because I was hospitalized. (I do have to take the day off on federal holidays, but on those days, I usually write for fun.) I can mention that I have never been late filing a piece. I can mention that the copy comes in clean, doesn’t require much editing, and gets turned around quickly, with maximum co-operation. I can talk about all that, at my job interview. Those are the questions I’m prepared to answer.
I’m not prepared for the question they ask.
“We’re a progressive site,” the man across the table begins, “And our readership, as with most progressive sites, is mostly men. You’ve focused a lot on women’s issues. Would you be comfortable writing something that men would be able to read?”