Your point is well-taken in terms of how male leadership is seen as the standard, when you write that “a vote for men is depicted as a politically neutral act” when of course it is not. Still, I can’t imagine that you’d vote for, say, a right-wing, evangelical black woman who is anti-abortion over a progressive white man whose worldview aligns much more closely with yours. I think you acknowledge this fact when you say “That doesn’t mean any woman will do…” In other words, I think you’ll agree that ultimately, policy is still the most important factor when choosing leaders.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my essay Taking Feminism Further that sums up my frustration with mainstream, pop-culture feminism:
Feminism is not simply about getting more women into positions of power; that should be seen as a milestone of broader social progress, rather than an end in itself. In fact, even though the abuses we abhor and the privileges we resent form the impetus that drives the movement, feminism ultimately shouldn’t be viewed as a power struggle at all. It is about reflecting on the origins of our personal emotions and motivations, and showing compassion for one another. It’s about embracing our humanity.
One note on this: You say you’re tired of “pointing out the policy impact when women actually do hold a critical mass of elected office.” I recognize that there’s truth in this, and that 1) broader social progress and 2) more women in power are mutually reinforcing. But I worry nonetheless that feminism risks alienating men — who are crucial to its success, in my view — by focusing too heavily on #2 instead of #1.
Thanks for your writing, I look forward to engaging again.