"New drinking game: take a shot every time Hillary says 'as a woman' or 'as the first woman president,'" quips a straight white male on Facebook. This comment was part of a larger thread of young male Democrats discussing why Bernie Sanders is a better choice for president than Hillary Clinton.
I can't say I see his point. I'm assuming, based on the patronizing tone of this man's post, that his intention is to demean or invalidate the candidate each time she points out that she is a woman. However, I'm not sure why Hillary reminding the public of her gender is wrong. Actually, I think she's right and she should remind us that she's a woman. Hillary's gender plays an extremely important role in this election, and it cannot and should not be ignored.
When a little girl in the United States opens her history textbook to view the past presidents of our country, she is confronted with an overwhelming barricade of testosterone. She is reminded every day of her gender, because every day, a textbook points out that her gender plays no part in the history of her government. This little girl is ambitious. She proudly says to her classmates, "I want to be the president of the United States of America." Her classmates can then laugh at her, call her names and remind her that girls can't be president. The heartbreaking truth is that even as kids, they have the evidence to back this up. To me, that is a strong enough reason to vote for a qualified woman for president.
Underrepresentation is a massive issue in American government. You may have heard that the new Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, recently chose Canada's first cabinet with an equal number of men and women. In the U.S., only 20 percent of Congress is made up of women.
Now, I'm not a political analyst and I'm certainly no political writer -- I'm merely a social observer. But I'm no imbecile. If Snooki ran for president, I wouldn't vote for her just because she's a woman. I don't support Carly Fiorina, because we couldn't have more opposite views. Sarah Palin may as well have been a character on Rick and Morty. But here's a woman -- Hillary -- who has spent years in the White House, has proven herself a powerful politician, and has the knowledge, platforms, passion, perspective and qualifications to back it up. She supports gay marriage, racial equality, narrowing the nation's wealth divide, Planned Parenthood, access to safe, legal abortions, eradicating the wage gap -- and she wants to rebuild and empower the middle class. Those are all the qualities I personally am looking for in a president.
Social media seems to be full of men -- some women, but overwhelmingly men -- arguing that Bernie Sanders is better than Hillary Clinton. He very well may be, and I actually really like Bernie Sanders. But the specific group of commenters I'm speaking of is the one that says it's childish to vote for Hillary because she is a woman. They say that the public should be voting based on political platforms and that gender has nothing to do with it. I have a hard time believing that even they agree with what they're saying, because if gender truly didn't matter, then we would have seen many women presidents in our history, and Hillary's gender wouldn't be a topic of discussion at all. If they truly mean what they say, then I agree: gender should not matter.
The sad truth is that it still does, which is why Hillary's gender is the tipping point for me when deciding between Hillary or Bernie. Women make up around 51 percent of the population, and I want that 51 percent to be represented fairly in the White House. I want that for years to come, until gender, race and sexual orientation truly don't actually matter.
The biggest issue I see with this group of anti-Hillary, pro-Bernie men is this: the fact that they feel the need to explicitly state on social media that people shouldn't vote for Hillary because she is a woman implies that there is some sort of shame associated with voting for a woman, or I should say, proudly voting for a woman. Would I vote for Hillary if she were a man? Sure. Am I beyond happy that she is a woman? F*ck. Yes. I invite this group of anti-Hillary voters to stop shouting, "It doesn't matter that she's a woman." It does!!! It absolutely does matter, and it's ignorant to say otherwise.
Hillary is not a man. If she is elected, it's not going to be "just like" having a male president. I can't help but be reminded of when straight people ask "who's the man?" in a lesbian relationship. There is no man. If said women wanted to date men, they would surely date men. If I want to vote for a female president, I will. I can't help but feel that a vote for Bernie is a cop-out -- a choice NOT to finally give women a chance at representation in the White House.
About 80 percent of the people I know who are pro-Bernie and anti-Hillary are privileged white men. "The Bernie Bros," as I've heard them referred to before, constantly reduce the desire for a woman in the White House to childish, girlish idealism. Women in America are constantly infantilized by men in business, politics, relationships, friendships and social settings. This issue is snowballing during this election, and I believe it is because there is a male candidate going head-to-head with Hillary. If Bernie were a woman, the sort of "socialist hack" comments would double, triple even, because of the dismissal of a strong female opinion.
In an inspiring article, Rebecca Traister points out that anti-Hillary voters compare the female desire for a woman president to a social urge for a president they want to "have beers with," rather than a valid thirst for representation. How can a longing for equal representation in the White House be reduced to such a petty statement? If that were the case, Adele would have probably replaced John Boehner.
If you strongly disagree, I urge you to ask yourself: why? To dig deep and find the reason behind this heated emotion you have toward Hillary or women in power. Are you, as a citizen and a voter, fairly represented in the White House? Do you desire to be? Do you think that issues pertaining to you will be addressed with an outlook of equality and with more delicacy and concern if someone like you is present to voice an opinion? Or is this clique-based voting? If it is, I suppose straight, white, wealthy, Christian males are the fortuitous "popular girls" in this high school.
Or disagree with me. On behalf of women who are voting for Hillary, let me be the first to say that we don't need your "validation" to vote for a female president.