I am a feminist, and I did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. If you are surprised by that, then this post is for you.
I congratulate Hillary Clinton on getting to where no American woman has ever gone before she shattered the glass ceiling, proving that a woman has the strength, courage, and ability to hold office as President of the United States. As a fellow woman, I am inspired and view Clinton as an example of the sheer potential women have as leaders. In that regard, I applaud her and highly respect her.
But being a feminist means that I fight for equality of the sexes. Equality in treatment of the sexes, as well as equality in opportunity. When it comes to who should serve office, I look at the candidate’s beliefs, credentials, past actions, current stances, and future goals, without regard toward their sex. Because to me—and to any other feminist—gender should not interfere with someone’s ability to have a political ideology, to serve as a leader, to run our country. So, after considering all of these non-gender related factors, I realized Senator Clinton was not my choice of candidate to hold office.
As a feminist, I refuse to vote for someone simply because they are a woman. I have three reasons:
Here is the first: If I voted for Hillary because she is a woman, I would be effectively reducing her to her gender, ignoring her accomplishments and potential. I would be disqualifying her achievements, her hard work and abilities. Hillary Clinton is a former Secretary of State, senator of New York, and revered politician since adolescence. She is a thinker, a fighter, and incredibly intelligent. That to me is more than just a woman.
Here is my second reason: it would be an incredible detriment to both our nation and its women to vote to put a woman in office without regard towards her credentials, beliefs, values, goals, and past history. It t could lead to serious consequences to both the future of our nation, as well as the way women are viewed in our society for the future. I believe we need to advance women in politics if we are to ever be viewed as equals in society. But as women, we need to select our representatives carefully, if we are to ever dispel prejudices employed onto us by our society.
Right now, the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman is pivotal to her success in this election. Her own campaign slogan is “I’m With HER”. She is being lofted as THE female candidate, the FIRST female candidate, playing at voters’ unrealistic hopes that getting a female in office through her will change the gender equilibrium in politics. It won’t, it’s not that easy. Hillary Clinton as President may change how women in politics are perceived, but these changes may be advantageous or deleterious depending on how she performs in the presidency. Or maybe no change will result. Hence, evaluating HOW she will be as president becomes way more important than simply whether or not she is female. The performance of our future President directly impacts our lives way more than having a female versus male President ever could. We can take a risk in choosing a presidential candidate on the basis of gender, but a full evaluation of our candidacy is a smarter choice for the advancement of our nation.
Here’s my third reason: let’s just take gender out of it. Imagine the long term consequences, if we stopped viewing gender as a factor for evaluating legitimacy of future politicians at all. If women and men are equal in functioning, the laws of statistics would show that we would reach an equilibrium where women will not be underrepresented in politics at all. That we’d be equal, because gender would not be a factor. If we know that this is the likely result of not using gender as an evaluative factor, then why do we do it? Why not perpetuate the ideology that gender should not be considered in choosing candidates at all, that gender doesn’t play a role in how a candidate will do in office? Isn’t that the ideal, anyway?
I believe we shouldn’t loft females to meet men at their game. We need to end the game in its entirety. And that is why, when I see Hillary Clinton, I see more than just a woman. And you should, too.