The postmortems are rolling in to explain the long-drawn-out and spectacular failure of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-promising presidential campaign. She and her supporters are sure they know how and why she was rejected: She was the victim of sexism.
Feminist ideology teaches that American women are victims of an oppressive patriarchal society. No matter how rich or prominent or smart or advantaged a woman might be, success and happiness are still beyond her grasp because institutional sexism holds her down.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem opined on CNN that it is "clear that there is profound sexism." She whined that Clinton couldn't crack the "glass ceiling" (an architectural figment of feminist imagination) because there are "still barriers and biases out there."
Oh, the unfairness of it all! Steinem bemoaned that women find it so "difficult to be competent and successful and be liked." Au contraire, women are not disliked because they are competent and successful, but because they are chip-on-the-shoulder feminists.
Feminists live in an unhappy world of their own making. In truth, 92 percent of Americans say they would vote in a presidential election for a qualified female candidate from their own party, and 55 percent say yes when asked if the United States is ready for a woman president.
Clinton lost because she simply is not likeable and voters, especially Democrats, suffer from Clinton fatigue. The Clintons, Hillary and Bill, offer of two-for-the-price-of-one didn't play particularly well in 1992, and it was even less attractive in 2008.
The bad attitude of victimhood is indoctrinated in students by bitter feminist faculty in university women's studies courses and even in some law schools. Victimhood is nurtured and exaggerated by feminist organizations using a tactic they call "consciousness raising," i.e., retelling horror stories about how badly some women have been treated until little personal annoyances grow into grievances against society.
Consider how Katie Couric of CBS Evening News, a woman promoted and paid above her suitability for the job, solemnly promotes feminist mythology about discrimination against women. She breathlessly reported that "90 percent of teen girls say they have been harassed at least once."
And what does this "harassment" consist of? "Unwanted romantic attention, demeaning gender-related comments based on their appearance, and unwanted physical contact."
Where did the authors of this nonsense find females to claim that lighthearted banter at which no boy would take offense can now be defined as sexual harassment? Predictably, "girls who had a better understanding of feminism ... were more likely to recognize sexual harassment."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Phyllis Schlafly‘s column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.