Wading into the Feminist Fray over Hillary, or Why I’m Not Voting with my Vagina this Election

I just read today’s New York Times piece “Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright Scold Young Women Backing Bernie Sanders” and I am wicked pissed off.  I live in NH, home of the “First in the Nation” primary (maybe you’ve heard of us?), so I’m not only allowed to say “wicked” in a totally authentic way but I also probably get to vote sooner than you. This article and photo from the Onion reflects the political debris around the state so well that the NH Dept of Transportation actually posted it on their Facebook page. Before you consider being pissed off at me, know that I don’t necessarily support this #FITN thing, but it’s here and it means I get a lot of time to both see and hear presidential candidates and also to engage in political discussions wherever I go – which I really like. If I meet you and you are not politically engaged, I’m probably going to wonder what’s wrong with you. It doesn’t matter to me who you vote for, it matters to me that you care enough to vote.

So, back to this anger… the message from older feminists seems to be that I should be voting for Hillary because her presidency would be historic, as if voting with my vagina is my sacred duty as a woman! I’m not saying the battle for women’s rights is anywhere near over, but the idea that I should support a female candidate because she has the best shot of being the 1st woman president over a candidate I feel would better represent my interests is ludicrous. It feels backwards. All this fighting over helping women advance based on their merit over the years and now I’m supposed to vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman.

…as if voting with my vagina is my sacred duty as a woman!

Don’t get me wrong. I like Hillary and I am not against her in any way. I think it would have been amazing if she had won in 2008, but I voted for Obama in the NH Primary because I liked his platform and message better. In this race, I happen to prefer Bernie Sanders. I will support Hillary 110% if she is the democratic nominee and I think she would make a fine president, but I actually like Hillary less now than I did in 2008. I feel she herself is pulling the woman card everywhere she goes. Did you know that she’s a grandmother? I’m not saying she shouldn’t be proud of that, but it’s hardly a qualification to be president.

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

In the NYT article, Madeleine Albright is quoted as saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” So, let me see if I got this right, after years of being told that women should advance on their own merits and that they are equal in every way to men I’m now supposed to tuck that in my back pocket and dutifully vote for Hillary because she’s a woman. No. I refuse to do that. I know that may make some of my female political friends exasperated and disappointed, but the bottom line is that I don’t feel that is taking us forward. Yes, I want a woman president too, but I also want to elect whomever I feel is the right president – regardless of gender!

“when you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie…”

And don’t even get me started on Gloria Steinem’s suggestion that younger women are backing Bernie Sanders just to meet young men. In an interview with Bill Maher, she said “when you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie…” Really, Ms. Steinem? You’ve just insulted the very group you are trying to win over by ascribing their motives to shallow attempts to get laid. Shame on you. I didn’t believe this myself when I read it in the NY Times article, but I recommend watching it for yourself. This YouTube clip of the their interview starts about a minute before her inflammatory statement so you can get the full context and not just the soundbite that will likely come to haunt Gloria Steinem.

I’m Not Voting with my Vagina!

What this whole thing does bring home for me is how sad I am that we don’t have more female candidates and a better choice of candidates, but that makes me realize that I need to lend more support to groups like Emily’s List whose mission is to help elect more women to office. I’m all for getting more and better female candidates onto ballots everywhere. What I’m not for is sacrificing my values just to cross a feminist milestone.

So I propose a new hashtag: #NotVotingWithMyVagina


Photo courtesy of SplitShire.com


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