Here at HelloFlo, we love to dive into the nuances of politics, share our thought processes behind why we support certain politicians, and how we’re hoping to see change for women in Congress.
Some of us like Bernie Sanders, some of us like Hillary Clinton, and some of us like Marco Rubio. It’s hard to say that we have just one candidate we all support since we all come from different walks of life.
So imagine the shock when two revered feminist icons suddenly shifted the blame onto millennial women for not voting for Clinton. Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated that “…there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” in regards to the women who are voting for other candidates, and activist Gloria Steinem suggested that the reason why girls are flocking to Sanders is because boys are.
Some people were personally affronted by Albright and Steinem’s statements. While both have apologized in the days since, it’s insulting to think that one should vote for a certain person simply because two feminist icons have shamed those who haven’t. Would you feel obliged to vote for Sanders just because your boyfriend is? I doubt it.
I’ll be upfront about it – I’m the kind of gal who’s #FeelingtheBern, for a number of economic and social reasons. I made the effort myself to research how each candidate stands on issues I care about, and as a result, I’d like to think I’m well-informed on which politicians align with my values. It isn’t a matter of checking the box next to Clinton in my first election just because she’s a woman. However, I also would like to encourage healthy dialogue, because I’ve come to learn that that’s the most productive way to learn about other trains of thought and enrich society.
There are many well thought-out reasons to support candidates that aren’t members of the same gender, race, or sexual orientation that one identifies as. For some, Clinton may not have the best stance on foreign policy, while for others, Ted Cruz holds a completely different view on abortion. To quote Karissa Hand, the author of a HelloFlo piece on why she’s choosing to vote for Hillary, “These sexist assumptions that women are incapable of making well-informed political decisions are just further proof that we need more diversity in politics.”
However, adding diversity in politics only serves as an extra stair step, not the physical motion of taking another step. It doesn’t always guarantee that members of different groups will always serve the best interests of their constituents, and it doesn’t guarantee that they will have a voice in the groups they work in. It certainly aids the cause, but only in a limited way.
If you would like to know more about where the current (and some former) 2016 presidential candidates stand on women’s rights, check out our HelloFlo series on what you need to know about the candidates and women’s rights.