I am a huge advocate for more women running in elections and holding public office. I love groups like 50-50 in 2020 and Ready to Run at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University.
That said, you may also know that I am a huge advocate for voting for the right person, regardless of gender or race. Of course I want to see a woman president! Of course I want it to be as soon as possible.
That doesn't mean I want it to be Hillary Clinton.
I am a big fan of Gloria Steinem. I think she has done a lot of incredible work for the feminist movement and women's rights have made great strides thanks to her. However, her recent statement about young women voting for Bernie because "girls want to meet boys and boys are for Bernie" is not feminist at all.
As a feminist, you should be an advocate for women to make any choice no matter what that is. It could be the choice to vote Democratic or Republican, Bernie or Hillary, Rubio or Trump. It could be the choice to dress very feminine, or dress more 'masculinely.' It could be the choice to wear makeup, or not, have long hair, or short, like pink, or like blue. It could be the choice to like dolls or superheroes, or watch Star Wars or Twilight.
Let me reiterate. It could be the choice to vote Bernie OR Hillary OR Rubio OR Trump.
Yes, you can be a Republican and still believe in women's rights and feminism.
Yes, you can vote for an old white man and still be a feminist.
I really like Gloria Steinem. I just finished her latest memoir, "My Life on the Road" and found it to be a phenomenal story. Steinem has been a staunch Clinton supporter since 2008, and even in her book, Steinem seemingly attributes her choice to be a Clinton supporter over Obama to gender:
"Women are always liked if we sacrifice ourselves for something bigger -- and something bigger always means including men, even though something bigger for men doesn't usually including women. In choosing Hillary, I would be seen as selfish for supporting a woman 'like' me....If I were for Obama, I would not feel personally betrayed by lack of support from someone like me, a new ally, if I were Hillary Clinton, I might feel betrayed by a longtime supporter who left me for a new face. In other words, Obama didn't need me to win. Hillary Clinton might need me to lose."I think that Steinem may be letting her bias get in the way here. She wants to see a woman president so badly, that she doesn't believe that any feminist could truly support anyone else. I would like to remind her that the real sign of supporting feminism is supporting a women's right to choose to be or do anything she wants.
Also in the past week, another women's rights icon made a comment while stumping for Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright. Albright is one awesome lady. She was the first female Secretary of State in the United States and she is smart, articulate, and deliberate.
Unfortunately, while stumping for Clinton recently, she said,
"We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women don't think you have to, it's been done. It's not done. You have to help Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."
She's right. It's not done. And absolutely women should support each other! But we should also vote for someone who is the right person for the job, and my personal opinion is someone who is up for indictment miiiight not be the one. Someone who is seen, even by Democrats, as untrustworthy miiiight not be the one. And someone who puts our nation's security at risk for the convenience of having a private email server miiight not be the one.
I support Gloria Steinem's right to support Hillary Clinton. I support Madeline Albright's right to support Hillary Clinton. And I support any other woman's right to support any person she wants -- no matter the gender.
This idea that "it's time for a female president" and "you're a woman, shouldn't you vote for the woman?" is outdated and repulsive. The idea that because I am a woman my vote is decided is certainly outdated. (I'm sure many African Americans felt the same way when Obama ran in '08 --just because you're the same color doesn't mean you have to vote for that person. Of course we were excited to see our first African American president and it was certainly time that we voted someone in, I'm still not sure Obama was the right person to vote for. Done rambling.)
Thank you, Secretary Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem for the tremendous moves you have made forward in the women's rights movement. But please don't tell me my voting decision is made for me based on my gender. Women fought too hard for the right to vote to throw it away like that.