Politics

Hillary is a Flawed Candidate for Women

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I want more women to represent the female voice in politics. I think more women need to be serving this country in various leadership positions. However, I do not think Hillary Clinton is a feminist, nor is she the feminist choice for president.

A recent article in the Old Gold and Black asserts that Hillary Clinton is the feminist choice for president. The article cites several quotes and experiences from Clinton’s life. Yet, even the author concedes that Clinton’s status as a “feminist has been a point of contention for young voters.”

Feminism does not support the idea of children’s issues being the work of only women. The author of the article says, “Since so much of the work of raising a child falls on the shoulders of women, work [with the Children’s Defense Fund] was significant in Clinton’s history as a feminist.” Advocating for children is an issue that is important to many women, but it is not specifically a feminist issue. Working for the Children’s Defense Fund is admirable and significant yet it is not only a woman’s issue- it is an everyone issue! Perpetuating the belief that children’s issues are mainly women’s issues is decidedly not a feminist view.  

Prioritizing and supporting women’s issues is great. Hillary Clinton has focused on many issues central to female identity throughout the election cycle. Minimum wage, paid leave, affordable childcare all sound like ideas that could help women, especially those in vulnerable positions. Hillary Clinton is no stranger to politics, though. She should know there will be a backlash to these issues that begs me to wonder: how will Clinton introduce these measures? Is Clinton fervently supporting women’s issues just to get votes?

With years of political experience and influence, Hillary Clinton has talked about feminism more than she has demonstrated it.

The author makes a lot of sweeping generalizations and broad statements regarding Clinton and feminism. The author says, “Clinton’s life highlights much of why she is the feminist choice and why the U.S. needs women in political offices,” but uses little evidence to support this idea. Clinton is a woman on a major party ticket, yes. The woman democratic nominee is not automatically a feminist, however.

Being a woman is hard, unique, and wonderful. Hillary Clinton is able to offer a perspective on the election and country that has never been seen before, but that does not mean she is the feminist choice for the job. With years of political experience and influence, Hillary Clinton has talked about feminism more than she has demonstrated it.

One Comment

  1. I would like to respectfully contest some of the concerns you have raised here. In the ideal world, child care would not be a woman’s issue – it would be an issue that concerns those of all genders involving in parenting a child. This, of course, operates under the ideal scenario that everyone involved in raising children puts forth an equal amount of effort, and that some genders are not more marginalized than others.

    Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world. Historically contextualizing child care shows us that women have largely been seen as the caretakers. Throughout history, it is the women that are expected to stay home and rear children. So, while child care should be an everyone issue, the burden of caregiving has fallen overwhelmingly on the shoulders of women; therefore, when Hillary uses the wellbeing of women as an avenue to address child care, she is not doing so because child care SHOULD BE the duty of women. She is doing so because it largely IS the issue of women. The kind of deeper movement we need in order to uncouple patriarchal notions of caregiving from family life in our society has not progressed far enough to give us this ‘ideal world’ I referred to earlier in this comment.

    Let’s also take a moment to understand how fluid the terms and conditions for feminism are. For some feminists, recognizing the intersectionality of race and gender is the core of their feminism. For some, empowerment of queer and trans women is the core of their feminism. For some, workplace equality is the core of their feminism. There is no way we can practice all feminisms at all times, try as we might. Hillary’s feminism fights for issues that are tailored to her own identity demographic; she focuses on increasing representation of women in politics, the wage cap, child care, etc. Yes – some of these discussions are reminiscent of old school feminism (which is nevertheless still feminism). However, her focus on empowering disenfranchised women is very much within the definitions and visions of feminism.

    Although being a woman doesn’t automatically make you feminist, Hillary HAS used her voice to fight for the empowerment of women, which is the foundation of attaining equality between the sexes. However Gloria-Steinem-esque this voice is, it is nevertheless still feminist.