When it comes to actually doing what is best for women, they shrug and plead helplessness. “How could we have known?” Clinton asks, when questioned in the same interview about her longstanding friendship and political relationship with alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. Never mind the fact that Ronan Farrow has publicly accused Clinton’s publicist of trying to kill his first story about the accusations against Weinstein. Or that Lena Dunham has said she discussed Weinstein with Clinton in private. How could she have known? The interviewer didn’t even bother to ask about the Clintons’ association with Jeffrey Epstein.
Neera Tanden – a close associate of Clinton and president of the liberal thinktank the Center for American Progress – has a similar history. She has thrust herself into public life as an example of a feminist leader, going on television and social media to decry the mistreatment of women in politics and culture, yet the organization she leads is rife with accusations of harassment, intimidation and censorship of its female employees.
The problem is not only in politics. Facebook is still throwing women at the media to hide its detrimental effect on our culture – from mass surveillance to alliances with authoritarian governments to its involvement in the spread of propaganda during elections – by paying Teen Vogue, a publication often touted for its “progressive” coverage of feminism and politics, to profile five of its female employees working “to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election”. Its scandal-rocked COO, Sheryl Sandberg, is still giving interviews about the importance of gender equality in corporate culture. While these women do find themselves criticized, occasionally “canceled”, they often find their way back into the centers of attention and power, rehabilitating their images by presenting themselves as some kind of feminist authority or cheerleader of women.