As a female American, I want just as much as anybody to elect a female president. It is true there should be more women in positions of political power, but the people of America should focus on the future of the next four years rather than the history that will be made if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Hillary Clinton is not the feminist savior imagined by many, and voting for her based on her gender is not a step forward for equality. A cornerstone of her 2016 campaign for president is her lobbying for women’s rights and therefore women’s votes.
Many women, including many prominent feminists, stand behind Hillary Clinton on the mere basis that she is a woman. But voting for a candidate merely because of their gender is just as bad as voting for a candidate merely because of their race. In fact, treating Hillary differently due to her gender goes against the ideals of feminism, which are driven towards equality between men and women. Even despite her gender, Clinton is not the champion of women that she claims to be.
A long and very public career has left Hillary in the spotlight for much longer than many of the other presidential candidates this election season. Back in 1975, Hillary Clinton worked as a defense attorney in the state of Alabama. One of her cases involved defending two men who had been accused of raping a twelve year-old child. She stoutly defended these men, even to the point of getting evidence thrown out and humiliating the child by claiming that she was merely seeking attention with these allegations, using age, gender, and lack of physical evidence to provide the men with a minimal prison sentence while providing years of psychological distress for this young woman. Unlike with many of her other policies, Clinton has not changed her views regarding which party is at fault in a sexual assault.
Even in the relatively recent time of the (Bill) Clinton administration, Hillary notoriously attacked many women who were allegedly assaulted by her husband. She told those that dared accuse him that they were selfish and attention-seeking. Clinton even questioned the victims’ sanity and went so far as to threaten a couple of them. Some of these allegations against the former president were never proven, but that in no way justifies Hillary Clinton’s actions towards her fellow women.
However, it is also important to consider that Hillary Clinton is by no means the least feminist candidate. When compared to misogynistic comments made by Trump on the campaign trail or the entire Republican Party line that says women do not get the right to choose, Hillary’s comments are relatively tame. Even if her words go directly against Senator Madeline Albright’s endorsement at a Clinton rally. Senator Albright, the first female secretary of state, stirred up controversy with her statement, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” which many took as an overly aggressive call for votes from the female population.
Albright is not the only high-profile feminist Hillary has at her back. She is joined by Gloria Steinem and even Lena Dunham and Katy Perry, the latter two mostly in an attempt to gain favor with younger voters. All would happily see a woman as president, as would many of the aforementioned younger generation.
Putting someone like Hillary Clinton in office will not necessarily bring about increased tolerance and equality for women. Someone who herself has a history of anti-feminist remarks and is full of compromises and inconsistency on women’s issues has not earned a vote from anyone simply by being female.