Remember 1991, when Bush I nominated a young black conservative to the Supreme Court?
Desperate to block Clarence Thomas's ascent, Democrats played their trump card: Anita Hill, a spinster black lawyer who had worked for Thomas after his divorce, when he was one of the most eligible black bachelors in Washington. Back in those palmy days, there had apparently been a little sexual frisson around the office between those two, who seemed so well-suited in terms of education and race that a trip to the altar seemed plausible. But nothing much had come of it, and Thomas eventually married a white woman.
Years later, Hill, still a spinster, announced that she had been the victim of Sexual Harassment, and it was the biggest news in the history of the world for awhile, propelling obvious sexual nonharasser Bill Clinton to the Presidency the next year, The Year of the Woman. (In 1992, I wrote an essay predicting that Bill Clinton would get himself in serious trouble over a case of sexual harassment during his Arkansas gubernatorial years — as turned out to be true in the Paula Jones case that set off the Monica Lewinsky case — but I couldn't find anybody to publish it.)
This Year of the Woman mania briefly made intellectual superstars out of a couple of nice-looking young ditzes, Naomi Wolfe and Susan Faludi, before the whole thing collapsed under the weight of its own vapidity.
So, move ahead 20 years to 2012, and the Democratic candidate is just about the least feminist President in recent times. He treats his Harvard Law School wife the way Harry treated Bess, runs a can-you-believe-that-game-on-ESPN-last-night workplace atmosphere, hires Larry Summers, and only favors a tiny number of women (Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice) because they come from the Jack & Jill Club paper bag test Afro-American upper crust.
But, the point is that Obama's a Democrat, so the Feminist Noise Machine got switched on loud in 2012, and it worked, just like it did in the 1992 election. But do we have to still hear it now that the election is over? Can't we please pack it away until 2016?
For example, in Slate, Hanna Rosin encourages clueless single women to play Feminist Grinch and ruin their nephews' and nieces' Christmases/Hannukahs in the name of Gender Neutrality:
This season’s gender-neutral toys will finally prove that boys and girls aren’t so different after all.
Granted, that's a particularly stupid headline, but any complaints Mr. Rosin has in that regard she should take up over the family dinner table, since she's married to Slate's editor David Plotz.
Later Ms. Rosin asserts:
"But in fact this is a false piece of evidence, or at least extremely misleading, since childhood is just about the only phase of life where differences between the genders show up so starkly."
Ms. Rosin evidently hasn't paid much attention to the nerdier corners of grown-up culture. Gigantic sex differences are evident among, say, advanced baseball statistics hobbyists ("moneyballers" or "sabermetricians") or aficionados of the history of style in golf course architecture.
The general trend is for the Internet to make it easier for each sex to pay attention only to what it finds interesting. Thus, Ms. Rosin, for example, founded a website DoubleX aimed at readers with two X chromosomes.