How a Feminist Should vote in this election
Intro to Critical Feminist Studies
Professor Anne Dalke
How Should a Feminist Vote in this Election?
(Including bitter Hillary supporters)
Everyone has their own definition of feminism. Personally, I believe feminism is equality for women. I believe that women should have the same rights as men and that they shouldn't be discriminated against for being female.
This presidential election, both the primary election and the general election, has a lot to do with gender and feminism. This election had a lot of firsts and there were a lot of boundaries broken, and it wasn't just about race, it was about feminism too. People say that Hillary pulled the gender card, while Obama pulled the race card. Both were criticized for it, but Hillary was criticized more harshly than Obama was.
Every step of the way, the media found something small and ridiculous to pick on her for -- something they couldn't or wouldn't pick on Obama for. They picked on her for her clothes, they said when she cried it was attention and that when she didn't show much emotion it was viewed negatively and they called her the "Ice Queen." If people had made remarks like that about Barack Obama, the comments would have translated to being about his race, and there would have been a huge uproar at the media because of how racist they were being. However there was very little uproar about how much the media was discriminating against women. And the uproar that was made was barely acknowledged or listened to.
And that sucked. As a proud Hillary Clinton supporter and a feminist, I was outraged by the media's criticism of my candidate. And I was equally or possibly more outraged by the fact that no one was phased or even really noticed the media criticism of her. Everything that was said was so hurtful, and it extended past her, they started criticizing her family too and her relation to them. They would say Hillary was just a front for Bill running again and they would suggest he was pushing her to do it. Along with that, it got people talking about the affair her husband had and how she was still with him and how they didn't agree with that. That's her personal life, that should be completely off-limits to everyone. People would start talking about what would happen when Hillary was on her period or PMSing. That's ridiculous, I'm sure she's fine, also they're her bodily functions, keep them private.
And what was said about Obama? That he was inexperienced, too young, and didn't wear a flag pin and so therefore he was unpatriotic. I only consider one of those points to be not valid and even that isn't really an attack against him so much. When people who were associated with the Clinton campaign would say anything about Obama that could be perceived as racist at all, the media went crazy and people were outraged. But at the same time, worse things were being said about Hillary and no one even noticed.
I feel like people didn't vote for Hillary, because she was a woman. A lot of people thought that women who were for Hillary were blindly voting for her just because they were all women. I like to think that the women of this country are smarter than that. I like to think that they were voting for Hillary because of her intelligence, her experience, the fact that they agreed on her positions, and that they believed that she would be the best person to run this country. That's why I voted for her and I am very proud of that vote. The reason why everyone felt women were only supporting Hillary because she was a women is because she had so many female supporters. And while that may seem suggestive, it's really not. I googled the question, "do more women vote than men?" and while I could not get any statistics on how many more women vote than men, the overwhelming answer, was yes, more women do vote than men. Also there's a reason why they would be voting for the Democratic party. According to South Coast Today, women are more likely to be "opposed to military intervention in other countries, more supportive of programs to guarantee quality health care and meet basic needs, more supportive of restrictions on firearms." (SouthCoastToday.com) These reasons show why they would be more likely to vote for a Democrat and along with that for Hillary. Hillary and Obama both wanted to pull out of Iraq, Hillary's plan seemed like it would be more successful, especially with her foreign policy experience versus Obama's. As well, one of Hillary Clinton's main issues has always been health care. She had a much more comprehensive health care plan than Barack Obama and she has so much experience in the area.
So when people started leaving Hillary's campaign to join Obama's and when the Democratic party decided that they found who they thought their next star was going to be and they totally left Hillary behind. There was so much support behind her and then they all just got up and left. And by doing that, the Democratic party alienated the Clintons and the supporters of Hillary.
The Hillary supporters were then left in a tough position: do they vote for Obama and support the party they now feel has left them behind, the party they feel disenfranchised by and vote for a candidate they may not be a big fan of. Or do they vote for McCain, and vote against a lot of things they believe to try to make a point to the Democratic party about who they're messing with. Or do they write-in someone else? Maybe even Hillary? Some Hillary supporters who just preferred Hillary over Obama, picked themselves up and went straight over and started supporting Obama. Some said they would rather vote for McCain than Obama. And some are not giving up on Hillary. There is a group of Hillary supporters who have created a group called PUMA (Party Unity My Ass). These are people who feel disenfranchised by the Democratic party, who don't support Obama, not because they are bitter, but because they feel he's not real, that he can't run our country. "It is all of us, all across this great country who feel disenfranchised, betrayed and hoodwinked by Obama and the DNC. It is all of us who see through Obama's persona." (puma08.com) They don't want to vote for John McCain, they just don't want Barack Obama to be president and they want the DNC to know how frustrated they are with them, how much they feel hurt and left out by them.
I think, when John McCain was choosing someone to run on his ticket with him for vice president, he really wanted to do his best to maintain the Hillary supporters who had jumped on his bandwagon after everything went downhill. But he has had the far right on his back, who wanted someone more conservative on the ticket. So he had a bright idea- that he would put a conservative woman on his ticket. So he choose Sarah Palin. Unforunately for him, I really don't think his plan worked like he wanted it to. I don't think I'm really going out on a limb suggesting that people who support the Democratic party and it's candidates support women's rights as well. Sarah Palin is "as pro-life as any candidate can be." (Women Against Sarah Palin) She does not support LGBT rights or same-sex marriage, and during the VP debate, she said something along the lines of: I'm so happy to live in a country that supports women's rights, and everyone I was watching with went into an uproar, because Sarah Palin doesn't support women's rights. John McCain did not achieve the goal he set out to achieve when he put Sarah Palin on his ticket. Instead I believe, he sent more people into a state of confusion as to who to vote for, possibly sending them into the loving arms of PUMA.
So where does this leave us? Do Hillary supporters vote for John McCain, who is not Barack Obama, but who has a woman on his ticket, but she while she has acknowledged how many barriers Hillary broke, she doesn't support anything most Hillary supporters believe in? Do they vote for Barack Obama, who is supported by the party that they feel disenfranchised by and someone who many Hillary supporters do not trust and would not feel comfortable running the country? Do they write in a vote for Hillary? Do they not vote at all to show the American political system how fed up they are?
Here is what I think a feminist and/or Hillary Clinton supporter should do and why: vote. Do not not vote because you aren't in love with any of the candidates running. Consider your options. John McCain and Sarah Palin don't really support many of the things that Hillary Clinton stood for, so if you supported Hillary because you believed in what she believed in, I don't think they're the right choice of people to run our country. For the writing in Hillary option, it's not really helping anyone. It takes votes away from both candidates, and votes that would usually go to Obama. But I understand, don't you want to be able to vote for the person you believe would be best running the country? If this was an ideal world, you could. But unfortunately, it doesn't really seem to work like that. As for Barack Obama, he may be inexperienced, but at least his running mate has enormous amounts of experience and at least they believe in almost all the things that Hillary stood for. So while I proudly display a Hillary sign in my room and have a Hillary button on my backpack, I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama this fall, where he will hopefully get the White House primed and ready for one day when Hillary Clinton will be president.
Kim Ledoux, "Women's History Month: Women vote in greater numbers than men and vote differently from men." 3/31/2007. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070331/LIFE/703310311
"About P.U.M.A". http://www.puma08.com/about-puma/
"Why Sarah Palin should not be Vice President". http://womenagainstsarahpalin.org/