At a fund-raiser for Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio last night, actress Susan Sarandon urged women not to vote with their lady parts. “As a woman, you can’t just vote your vagina,” she reportedly told the crowd. “As a mother, I’m more interested in other things.”
In her remarks, Sarandon, an outspoken liberal, flipped the script on vaginas at the voting booth. In 2012, it was conservatives who accused female Democrats of voting unthinkingly “with their lady parts.” It would be more accurate to say that liberal women were voting on behalf of their lady parts, which
were are under not-insignificant threat, thanks to the GOP’s increasingly extreme views on reproductive rights. But since it’s unlikely that the next mayor of New York City will have much say in the future of abortion in America, Sarandon was talking about a purer form of identity politics, where the first ______ person to be elected to the office of _______ is more important, symbolically, than the minor policy differences between the candidates. “Imagine how much it will mean to girls and young women,” Gloria Steinem said in a Quinn campaign video.
In such moments, New York Democrats’ choice between front-runners De Blasio and Quinn feels like a miniature version of the debates that split women between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary: Does the fact that Christine Quinn would be the first female mayor of New York City necessarily mean she’d be the best one for women? Quinn has the support of white feminists like Steinem and Sandra Fluke, as Clinton then did. But Quinn’s politics — waffling on paid sick days, supporting stop-and-frisk architect Ray Kelly — give some women pause, especially women of color and those who became poorer during Bloomberg’s long reign. Quinn’s opposition mirrors 2008, too. Like Obama, De Blasio is an egalitarian dreamer with a multiracial family, whose opponents claim lacks the experience or temperament to be efficient in the day-to-day drudgery of executive office, which Quinn (like Clinton) supposedly has in spades.
Along with Sarandon, the event was attended by famous De Blasio supporters such as Cynthia Nixon, who endorsed the public advocate even though (the New York Times noted) she and Quinn share lady parts and lady preferences, and his 15-year-old son Dante de Blasio, whose Afro has been the breakout star of the campaign. (He’s De Blasio’s son with wife Chirlane McCray, who, as long as we’re on the topic of vagina votes, once also shared Quinn and Nixon’s LGBT identity.) The fund-raiser was held at SPiN, the Ping-Pong club Sarandon owns with maybe-fiancé Jonathan Bricklin. Presumably Sarandon’s vagina votes for Ping-Pong.