I could very well be wrong but I wonder if young women are supporting Bernie Sanders because he’s seen as the good daddy who will make everything right. I can hear Elizabeth Taylor’s voice in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” saying, “Big Daddy.” A little girl voice. Her desires are not the same as young women following Sanders, but with them I can imagine a young voice trying to connect with the one who will solve all the problems.
For the most part older women, feminist or not, know that men aren’t saviors. Men are humans, which means they give some, but they expect something in return—sometimes too much. But young women don’t have the experience to know that—unless they’ve regularly been coming up against men who are just plain stupid or awful. Women can spin great fantasies about men who will take care of them. However, we live in patriarchy, the serious Big Daddy world, and in that world Big Daddy is like a two-edged sword, capable of cutting for good or ill.
Much is made about women being caretakers but many women end up not wanting to be like their caretakers, their mothers? Does this play a part in the attachment to Sanders? Do young women fear a woman president would be like the mothers they don’t want to emulate? And is there a subconscious feeling that only the Good Daddy is capable of taking care of millions of people, including adults? Does the caretaker label extend to women only when family is involved?
There isn’t anything we can do about these questions in this election year but they’re worth thinking and talking about for our future.