In pre-school, my friend Quinn always said that she wanted to be President when she grew up. At the time, we had no idea that such an aspiration was nearly impossible, that no one of our gender had yet achieved such a feat. We were blissfully unaware of the barriers that we would later have to face in the workplace. Sure, the United States has made strides towards gender equality. Women now outnumber men on college campuses and can hold any job that they desire after graduation, theoretically. But while children are told that they can grow up to be anything that they want, unfortunately, for us girls, that is not actually the case. So how progressive is our country, really?
I was in fifth grade when Hillary Clinton first ran for President; and even though I couldn’t vote, I was an ardent supporter. I was still in that phase of my life where I copied everything my mother did. She wore blue; I wore blue. She rallied for Hillary; I rallied for Hillary. Today I am 19 years old and I get to vote in my first election. And I get to vote for Hillary Clinton. I get to vote for a female President.
Whatever one’s qualms may be with her campaign, Hillary Clinton is breaking barriers. A mere ninety-six years ago, the first women were winning the right to vote in the United States. Thirty-two years ago, Geraldine Ferraro’s vice presidential candidacy marked a first for any major American political party. And now today, Clinton is the first woman to win a major party presidential nomination. She could be the first female President of the United States.
It gives me great joy to be able to live through such a historic moment in our political history. Yet, at the same time, I am overwhelmed with the persistent backwardness of our nation, which has become more and more evident because of Clinton’s campaign. More than seventy countries have already had female heads of state, but the United States is not one of them. Yet we are considered to be a leader when it comes to gender equality. And the fact that Clinton is often referred to as “Hillary,” whereas her male counterparts are more commonly known by their last names, is a simple example of the microaggression towards women common in American society today. Referring to Clinton by her first name actively undermines her political legitimacy. Let’s be real, most of us would never refer to Obama as “Barack” unless in a joking manner. How hypocritical of our country to condemn the oppression of women elsewhere when we ourselves cannot even achieve equal opportunity and treatment.
It’s time for young women to spearhead change. I’ve heard it said that many females of my generation take their so-called “equality” for granted; they think that we’ve “made it” and that there is no longer a reason to keep the fight alive. But just because the feminist movement dwindled in the 1980s doesn’t mean that we’ve reached full equality. Far from it. Look at Hillary Clinton and the scrutiny that she gets: for wearing pantsuits, for not seeming warm and friendly, for not having “the perfect body.” And while a Trump presidency could potentially undermine all the values on which the United States was built, many believe that a Clinton victory could be scarier because it would mean having a bitch in the White House.
So it’s time to reclaim the word “bitch.” Some have come to see it as standing for “Babe In Total Control of Herself.” Tina Fey coined the term so eloquently during Clinton’s first presidential run: “Bitches get stuff done.” I don’t know about you, but when I fill out my ballot in November, I’ll be voting for Clinton. And who knows, maybe thanks to her, little girls throughout the United States, who wish to be President when they grow up, will actually stand the chance to do so.