Yes, I’m supporting Hillary because she’s a woman.
That’s right. You heard me.
Since childhood, I have loved politics. But I have always felt frustrated, too.
Women are vastly under-represented in politics, and it shows. We make up less than 20% of Congress. There are only 1,800 female state legislators nationwide. Only 37 women have served as a governor, ever. And the list of problems doesn’t end there, folks. Pay equity is still a distant dream, we are one of 2 countries worldwide that lack paid parental leave, and women’s access to healthcare is constantly under attack. Suffice to say, the under-representation of women in government is a massive problem.
Now, don’t get met me wrong — I’m not supporting Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman. By that standard, I’d have to rally behind Sarah Palin or Kim Kardashian… if either entered the race, that is. I’m supporting Clinton because I believe she is, by far, the most qualified candidate running for office. She has dedicated her life to serving women and families, and her foreign policy expertise is unrivaled by any candidate on the left or right. She went undercover to help fight racism Alabama schools, and she boldly declared in Beijing in 1995 — when it was a radical notion — that Women’s Rights are Human Rights.
There is so much more to Hillary Clinton than her gender, but that doesn’t mean her gender is irrelevant. Only in a deeply sexist society would we tell women that they’re wrong for caring about equal representation in government, or what Hillary Clinton’s presidency might mean for women in America. No, it won’t be the end of sexism. Yes, we will still have so much to do for women of color, because real feminism means more than simply electing a white woman to office. But, like President Obama’s own tenure, Clinton’s presidency would be an incredible (and historic) step forward.
And forward is exactly the direction our country needs to continue moving in.
But how can we move forward and encourage women to step into the political arena when comments like the ones below are so prevalent?
There is a distinct double standard at play. When Clinton raises her voice, she is shrew. When Senator Bernie Sanders does the same, he gets a cute SNL sketch about him starring Larry David. Sanders is allowed to be aggressive and to change his mind, but Clinton isn’t. She can’t even talk about being a woman without facing criticism. How can we claim to live in the gilded age of female empowerment when our media still can’t look past the tone of Hillary Clinton’s voice? When our peers and campaign surrogates have the audacity to say, in coded language, that female perspective doesn’t matter?
Regardless of what candidate you are supporting, you don’t get to tell me that gender doesn’t matter. It matters a lot more than you may think.