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There is neither a special place in hell for young women who are choosing not to support Hillary Clinton at this stage of the election, nor are we just trying to be where the boys are. When Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem made these claims they betrayed us. While there have always be viable, intersectional, womanist critiques of these women and their philosophies, for many of us there has never been so much need to rebuke our heroes.

Steinem and Albright have undermined the agency, intelligence and integrity of young women in their comments. While I cannot speak for all of us young women, I am simply not satisfied with the empty apology offered by Gloria Steinem. We all make mistakes, and misspeak, however, claiming that young women are not radical and that they are mostly concerned with “where the boys are” is not a mistake – a mistake is calling someone the wrong name, citing a wrong statistic. These things happen. Undermining the agency and intelligence of young women across the United States? That’s actually misogyny.

And I have news for two women who I have respected as activists throughout my education – I am absolutely a radical. Millennial women are absolutely radical, even more so than you are, and perhaps than you ever were. In fact, Gloria Steinem, the only thing I do for boys is leave my read receipts on so they can be sure when I’m ignoring what they said. The candidates that I, and women my age, choose to support politically, has everything to do with our increasingly intersectional feminist concerns.

Nearly every inequity and injustice in our world has roots in money – if the economy has two hands, one controls a puppet that is social issues and the other hand control a political issues puppet. Honestly, it’s striking that women who fought so hard for women’s fight seem to care so little about the impacts of the domestic or the global economy have on women.

Yes, predominately women. Academia has a termed this the “feminization of poverty” which means that across the board women are proportionately more affected by poverty than men. In the United States an example of this is that among retired people living on social security, women are much more likely to be poor even if they paid into the system the same number of years as men. Another consideration on this front, women make up more part time workers, more retail and service sector employees than men. So when Sanders speaks about improving the minimum wage, what many of us hear is that women deserve a living wage.

Also, when Bernie Sanders advocates for paid family leave we hear, almost contrary to neoliberal feminism’s focus on work, that motherhood has a real value. We hear that – maybe, just maybe – by the time we become parents with our partners, men will see real value in being immersed in fatherhood too. We are hearing promises of equality in our private lives that the establishment hasn’t been able to offer us yet.

But wait! Hillary Clinton basically supports these ideas as well. Good point. Unfortunately there are some serious problems that prevent me, and other young feminists from viewing Clinton as the feminist option.

Let’s begin in 1986, before Clinton even really entered national mainstream politics. Clinton cannot escape the fact that she sat on the board of Wal Mart for six years. During those six years, between 1986 and 1992, the big box store (along with Reagan-era polciies) was especially concerned with hurting unions and creating public distrust of unions. You do not even have to believe that unions are inherently good to understand the underlying problems here. Historically, unions have benefited and protected working people. There is a reason that weekends exist. There is a reason that a full time work week is supposed to be forty hours and not sixty or seventy hours. Taking away social power and capital from unions, effectively takes away that power from people who have the right to organize for their benefit. Clinton was complicit. Clinton wasn’t concerned about working women then.

More famously, many of us feel wary of trusting Clinton on LGBT+ issues as she has not historically been an ally. Clinton has only recently come around to marriage equality, but many of us are very concerned about other issues facing queer women and communities. Queer youth are remarkably more likely to be homeless and economically (see, there is again) disadvantaged than straight youth. The US needs an executive that can be trusted on issues that actual lives can be at stake.

Whether or not her mind has since changed, is almost irrelevant until she holds herself unaccountable for the issues that have arisen under her watch. Has Hillary Clinton been actively involved in fighting the economic hardships imposed on women? Is she concerned about race? We certainly have not heard any indication that she is aware of the ridiculous and racist ways that drug laws are enforced. But we have heard Bernie Sanders firmly proclaim that black lives matter in 2015, and we know he marched with MLK in 1963.

If you want young women to support a woman candidate for president, give us one that we can trust with our concerns. Give us an Elizabeth Warren. Do not give us a woman who has sat on a Wal Mart board of directors, a woman who has brutally shamed young women sexually harassed by her husband (at the time, the most powerful man in the free world), a woman who worked for an administration that prides itself on TPP, or a woman who has taken money from Goldman Sachs. That is not the face of our feminism. Until the American politics can produce a woman politician in line with a consistently intersectional, equality-oriented agenda, I guess we will just have to sit in our special place in hell. But, perhaps Steinem and Albright can join us since they seem so eager to overlook working women, women of color and queer women. 

For an excellent understanding of economics, work and feminism (especially as it relates to Hillary Clinton’s record and policies), read Hester Eisenstein’s Feminism Seduced: http://www.amazon.com/Feminism-Seduced-Global-Elites-Exploit/dp/15945166…

Kayleigh Harper is a senior at Towson University studying Law & American Civilization where she mostly stresses about her GPA and eats chicken nuggets in Paws. She is an active sister of the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi, where she holds two chair positions: philanthropy and community service. When she isn't aggressively tweeting about current events, she can be found volunteering, travelling or going to alternative concerts. After graduation, she is torn between pursuing a career in campaign work or moving to the Pacific Northwest and opening a dainty bakery. 
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