As the election of 2016 kicks into high gear with primaries, many storylines are worth following. What is Donald Trump talking about and how is he gaining so many supporters? Who is the old guy and what did Wall Street do to him? Is Hillary Clinton going to be the first female president?
This last question has received a lot of attention throughout this election season so far and my bet is that we’re just hearing the beginning of it.
What’s Going On?
Hillary Clinton is running for president, but her first step is getting the Democratic nomination. This goal pits her against Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old white male who talks a lot about the takedown of Wall Street and the political revolution he wants to lead. The two candidates, despite running for the same title, don’t have much in common.
When it comes to choosing who to support, some consider the decision black and white. But when numbers from early caucuses revealed that Sanders grabbed the 18-29 year olds’ votes by a landslide and that Clinton is barely winning female voters, these people were confused. Why wouldn’t young female voters be supporting Clinton? I’m glad you asked.
The Opposite of Feminism
The idea that females would be supporting another female simply because of their gender is actually the opposite of feminism. It’s sexist. It suggests that females do not have the right to make their own decision: They have to vote a certain way because of their sex.
People who suggest this clearly sexist idea are of the mindset that feminists should vote for Hillary so that we’ll have a female president. They are focused on Hillary. What they aren’t thinking about is the feminist rights of all female voters, including the right to decide who they want to support regardless of gender.
Women are smart, independent and opinionated people who aren’t just going to sit down and vote for a someone because she’s a woman. That’s not the way to be an active political participant. They are going to learn about the candidates, find out what they both stand for and make their decision. They certainly might agree with what the Clinton campaign is saying and support Hillary, but this should be because they have the same views, not the same body parts.
Old Feminism vs. New Feminism
Hillary Clinton is a self-proclaimed feminist. Yes, this might get her votes. But feminism is not that simple anymore. Middle-aged women are connecting with her, but younger voters have a new definition of feminism that doesn’t quite line up with Clinton. It’s called intersectionality.
The traditional definition of feminism is wanting equal rights for men and women. However, the new-age definition of feminism is the concept that gender, race, sexuality and class all intertwine to create a person and that all of these qualities should be given equal attention. Gender isn’t the top dog anymore for feminists. They’re concerned with everything that makes up an individual. It’s here that Clinton loses young voters.
But She’d Be the First Female President
Sure, women want to see another woman sit in the Oval Office and hold the highest political power in the country. They’ve been wanting it for decades now. This doesn’t mean that the first qualified person who steps into the ring automatically deserves our vote. Hillary might be the first female presidential candidate, but she won’t be the last. Females will vote for another female when they agree with their ideologies and ideas, not just because it’s the first chance they get. Despite popular opinion, they’re smarter than that.
Issues such as income equality, climate change, education, foreign policy and criminal justice are, among countless others, at the forefront of debates and discussions this year. These are important problems that need to be addressed. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have debated about these topics endlessly in an attempt to gain votes and that’s exactly what they should do. Clinton should earn votes based on what she says and what she believes. She shouldn’t just earn votes because she wears skirts instead of pants.
Who Do You Vote For?
I’m not saying to vote against Hillary. I’m not saying to vote for Hillary. The best way to practice politics is to get involved and be educated. Listen to what both candidates are saying and offer your support to whichever one reflects your opinions.
There are a wide array of issues in this country — issues that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have different views on. Everyone, men and women alike, should be voting based on who encompasses their values and beliefs, not who shares their basic anatomy.
Image by Gage Skidmore
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