Feel the Bern

Bernie Sanders touts feminist credentials, says he is an “honorary woman”

CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane O'Meara (R) greets supporters after winning the New Hampshire Democratic Primary February 9, 2016 in Concord, New Hampshire. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

After being asked by a young woman at a Democratic town hall in Las Vegas on Thursday whether he is a feminist, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he considered himself a “strong feminist.” He went on to say that Gloria Steinem, “one of the leading feminists in America,” made him “an honorary woman many, many years ago.” He added, “I don’t know exactly what that meant, but I accepted it when she came to campaign for me.” As Women in the World reported last week, Steinem bestowed the honor on Sanders at a 1996 campaign rally. Watch video of the occasion here.

Sanders further touted his feminist credentials by pointing to his efforts to pass equal pay legislation, telling the audience the gender gap has nothing to do with economics, but “everything to do with sexism.” His remarks come on the heels off a controversy over supposedly sexist comments by one of his most vocal supporters, the rapper Killer Mike, who had said at a rally that having “a uterus” does not qualify someone to become president. Sanders later defended the rapper by saying the controversy surrounding his words comes down to “gotcha politics.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights organization that has publicly endorsed Hillary, was not amused by Sanders’s remarks, and released a statement saying that “even as an ‘honorary woman,’” Bernie Sanders doesn’t quite get it. “Bernie is a good man, and being a woman means understanding that we need equal pay but that equal pay doesn’t buy us much if we can’t plan our families,” said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue in a statement. “Being a woman means knowing that undoing Citizens United doesn’t secure our fundamental freedoms and restore abortion access under assault daily by anti-choice forces in this country. Being a woman means understanding that no man ever had to say ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, and vote for a man’ because the status quo in this country has supported that for over two hundred years.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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