The concept of basic equality amongst people of all genders and races is, as I understand it, the backbone of intersectional feminism, which is at the forefront of the modern feminism movement.
Equality suggests that people shouldn’t be obligated to practice gender norms. People should have the right to fully express themselves both personally and politically, regardless of their identity. People shouldn’t be told who to vote for based upon their gender. If people did have to, that’d sound like anti-feminism to me.
Gender identity does not give anyone, including a presidential candidate or their supporters, the right to expect special treatment because of that identity alone.
Hilary Clinton officially denied saying that individuals should vote for her because she’s a woman during the Feb. 11 democratic debate. The idea that women who believe in equality should vote for a female candidate because of just that, however, has captured the attention of people around the country, especially after 78-year-old former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said “There’s a special place in hell for women who doesn’t help each other,” in support of Clinton. She added that young woman who support Bernie Sanders do so because they want attention from boys.
Though Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, has done a lot in support of women’s rights, I don’t think her mind is in the right place right now.
Of course I want to see a woman president in the White House. But more importantly, I want a president who understands that equality means voting based on policy and consistent values, not gender.
I am a woman who will vote for a male candidate because I believe it’s more important to support someone who I trust will work to improve our education and health care systems, redirect suspended resources to the middle class and guide a movement to bring justice to Wall Street and big companies and that have wronged and cheated the American people.
I have enough faith that the feminist movement will push forward with even more strength as time goes on that I feel safe and free to choose a candidate based on their history and ideals more than I do their gender.
Though I would undoubtedly love to see a female president someday soon, I do not support Hillary Clinton as an individual candidate.
I’m not alone. The hashtag #notentitledtomyvote, among others, has been trending recently. Some of the heady and humorous comments include, “I vote with my lady smarts, not my lady parts,” and “Genitals are not credentials.” Others are more detailed and refined: “I support Bernie, and I don’t appreciate being told that when I find a female candidate lacks integrity, it is because of sexism instead of research.”
I support Bernie Sanders because his passions and values have not changed within the climate and heat of politics, as Clinton’s have. She is indeed charismatic and very intelligent, but her values, morals, ambitions and alliances change with the wind (actually, they seem to change because of monetary endorsements).
I support Sanders because he has supported women, people of color and LGBTQ throughout his entire political career. He doesn’t feel the need to guilt-trip, because he doesn’t need to. Actions speak louder than words.
Just because Sanders is a man does not mean he is wrong. Just because Clinton is a woman does not mean she is right.