As a young, liberal feminist, it can feel contradictory to show my support in this presidential election for an old white guy instead of a woman. But I’m not alone; the majority of female voters under 30 are feeling the Bern, and Hillary and her endorsers are reacting with some hostility.
The first female secretary of state Madeline Albright and feminist spokeswoman Gloria Steinem both received backlash for statements they made last week in support of Clinton.
During a TV interview, Steinem suggested that young women are supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders to impress their male peers, saying “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.’” And while introducing Hillary at a rally, Albright said “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women!”
Though Albright says this line frequently, using it to criticize female Sanders supporters was inappropriate and insulting. Similarly, Steinem’s sentiment belittled the intelligence of young women interested in politics by suggesting that we care more about impressing boys than about the future of the country. It was disheartening, to say the least, to be unfairly scolded by two women I’ve held on a high pedestal for much of my life.
The real issue with these comments is what they’re hinting at: that we need to vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman. Yes, of course women should support each other, but shouldn’t we draw a line when it comes to identity politics? We can’t vote for someone based solely on gender for the same reason we can’t attribute someone’s faults to their gender. It’s unfair to treat Hillary differently—whether in support of her or not—just because she’s a woman.
It will be an exciting milestone when the first female president makes it to the White House. But she should get there because she’s the best candidate, not because women voters felt too guilty to choose someone else.
—Jenna Ramsey, News Editor