Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Clinton's "Voice"

I'm surprised few commentators have bothered to look below the surface of Hillary Clinton's "I found my voice" comment following her victory in New Hampshire last night. Sure, there has been the standard shrillness from detractors, but I haven't read anyone who has yet noted the context of the phrase as a recurrent theme throughout latter day feminism.

The concept of a woman finding her "voice" goes back at least to Virginia Woolf's book "A Room of One's Own" and, to the best of my knowledge, has been a recurring theme throughout feminist texts since. The basic concept is reasonably simple to grasp; women have been historically "silenced," both literally and figuratively, until recent history by a society governed by male dominance. This silencing is what facilitated women being objectified and domesticated and never allows them to fulfill their full potential as human beings.

Certainly Clinton, or someone in her camp, has some understanding of this concept and was consciously using the phrase both as a nod to the women who helped her win New Hampshire and the women who have yet to vote for her in future primaries.

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