Katie Roiphe, in a piece for Slate, ponders the evolution of USC law professor and feminist author Susan Estrich, who wrote a column strongly attacking the LAT story on Schwarzenegger's groping. Writes Roiphe:
One could ask how Estrich went from condemning Clarence Thomas' whispered vulgarities to defending Arnold Schwarzenegger's whispered vulgarities in a single decade. Is Estrich a hypocrite, a political opportunist? Or have her views really changed? And if so, what does that tell us about her and the kind of feminism she practices?
Roiphe is the author of The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus and Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the End of the Century (and a novel, Still She Haunts Me). Her bottom line is that Estrich's shift mirrors the changes in the feminist movement.
When it comes down to it, Estrich is a good feminist. She is far more balanced, articulate, and intellectually rigorous then most of the people who fit into that category; she rises above them with a sense of humor and humility. But she is nonetheless someone who hangs around with the pack.
But at least Estrich addresses the moral complexities involved in the kind of flip-flopping mainstream feminists do all the time. She takes responsibility for the opinions she held in the past and admits to and puzzles over her own inconsistencies.
Estrich has the grace to be honest about her reversals and the ambiguities they raise. That alone lifts her above myriad pundits, chatterers, and feminists.
Their history goes back at least to when Estrich reviewed Roiphe's Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus in the LAT in 1993.