I am a feminist. Ever since I learned what the word feminism means, I have proudly attached this label to a part of my identity. I support women and their ability to do whatever the hell they want. I am a complete advocate for women’s equality, not only here in the United States but all around the world. I love to see powerful women of all races succeed. I love to see women break through the glass ceiling that favors men and oppresses women. I am proud to be a woman and I am proud to support women unconditionally.
However, I am not a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Lately, I have seen articles on Facebook and around the web that portray the idea that women need to vote for Hillary Clinton, and those who don’t are sexist; that they are bad feminists who are supporting a society that oppresses women and supports men. By not supporting Hillary Clinton, women are sexist.
I say that’s bullshit.
Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem recently made the claim that young women only support Hillary’s rival for the democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, because that’s where all the boys are. Essentially implying, that everything that I, and other young women do, is for male attention.
To say I need to support Hillary Clinton for the sole reason that I am a woman and she is a woman, is insanity. I will not vote for someone just on the sole basis that we share the same reproductive parts. I will not bash her or show sexism towards her, and I do believe she has had to endure blatant sexism and criticism of her appearance that her male counterparts have not faced. She has unjustly been called a bitch and been told to stop yelling while men can speak loudly with no reprimand. I am not denying nor condoning that. But I am not sexist, nor any less of a supporter of women, because I do not agree with Hillary Clinton’s ideas or policies.
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I want our first female president to be someone who has different ideals than Hillary Clinton, someone who does not flip-flop on important issues whenever it it’s beneficial for her. I don’t want someone who was strongly opposed to gay marriage 10 years ago, then changed their view today to support the public majority. I want to vote for someone on the basis of their integrity and their ability to run their country, not their gender. As a country, I believe we can do better than Hillary Clinton.
Not supporting Hillary Clinton does not make me any less of a feminist, just like supporting her doesn’t make you any more of a feminist.
Feminism means equality for women. It means we have the choice to decide what we want for our careers and our bodies, and thus we have the choice to vote for whatever presidential candidate we want. If you are trying to take that right away from me and push me into voting for someone I don’t agree with, you are the one who is not being a feminist. Feminism is entirely about equality, and I want the freedom to support whichever candidate I want, whether they be male or female. To say I must support Hillary Clinton because we are both females, is inherently sexist. This is just further creating a divide between men and women. If I vote and I have to vote for Hillary because I am a woman, do men have to vote for Donald Trump because he is a man? This logic is beyond flawed.
By assuming that women will only vote for someone because they are the same gender, or because that’s what we “should” do, completely undermines the intelligence of women. I know so many smart women who do not support Hillary Clinton, and that is an intelligent decision they have made after doing extensive research into the candidates and their campaigns. Vice versa, I also know many intelligent women who do support Hillary Clinton. I’m not here to tell women who they should vote for. I’m here to say that the majority of women are making this decision on the basis of a candidates’ character, beliefs, policies, and morals, not their gender. Most women aren’t voting for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman, just as most aren’t voting against her because she is a woman.
So please, stop telling women who to vote for. Stop telling them their opinions and choices aren’t validated unless they are voting for their own sex. Stop telling women who support Bernie Sanders, or Ted Cruz, or any other male candidate, that they must be doing it so that boys will like them. Stop undermining our intelligence. I will not let anyone, besides myself, dictate how I vote. For me, this is how I express my right as a woman.
For me, this is being a feminist.
No matter who you’re voting for, your voice matters collegiettes! Go to http://registertovote.org/ for more information on how to register to vote in your state.