Stop Telling Me I’m Only Voting for Hillary Clinton Because I’m a Woman

Stop Telling Me I’m Only Voting for Hillary Clinton Because I’m a Woman

Politics has always had a knack for dividing people. Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent, liberal, conservative or anything else, you are going to come into contact with people who hold different beliefs than you. This is fine. Part of what makes our country so great is that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but if that’s the case, why is it so difficult for people to accept that not everyone thinks the same?

The 2016 presidential election is already shaping up to be a thriller. With so many candidates on both sides of the aisle, political debate is running rampant amongst the candidates and the voters. Unfortunately, too often these debates turn into personal attacks against people who support different candidates.

I am a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton who, while having a strong support base, also seems to receive the brunt of most criticism. Often when I express my support for Hillary, I’ll receive the comment, “You’re only voting for her because she’s a woman.” This accusation infuriates me, especially because I know I am not the only woman who gets it. It sends the message that because I’m a woman, I’m too ignorant to make a well-reasoned political decision.

What my critics don’t realize is that I, as well as many other women, know a lot more about politics than they give us credit for. I have many logical reasons for why I personally support Hillary Clinton, like her experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, her plans to decrease student loan debt, and her dedication to restoring the Voting Rights Act; the list goes on. But of course, it’s assumed that I have no idea what I’m talking about, and that I’m just basing my vote off of her gender.

I’m not going to lie, the fact that Hillary is a woman does contribute to my decision, but it isn’t the only factor. If I was only voting for her because of her gender, why wouldn’t I also be supporting Carly Fiorina? While I commend Fiorina for her courage in running for president, I’m not going to vote for her just because she is a woman. I’m not voting for her because we hold fundamentally different political beliefs. On the other side, Fiorina’s supporters are voting for her because her platform resonates with them, not just because she’s a woman.

Similar accusations took place when President Obama was campaigning in 2008 and 2012. Many believed that he was overwhelmingly carrying the black vote because people were voting for him simply because he was black. As this TIME magazine article points out, these accusations are not simply offensive but also racist. Critics ignored the obvious reasons why President Obama was an attractive choice to African-Americans—like supporting universal health care, protecting social security, and guarding women’s right to choose—and just assumed that black voters lacked the ability to make well-informed political decisions. Additionally, they completely overlooked all of the African-American candidates who did not carry the black vote, like Herman Cain.

There are many people who disagree with my reasons for voting for Hillary, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to his or her own political beliefs. What’s not okay is insulting someone else’s intelligence because they hold different beliefs from you. I vote with my mind, not my vagina (although my mind does often tell me to vote for the person who isn’t going to try to control my vagina).

These sexist assumptions that women are incapable of making well-informed political decisions are just further proof that we need more diversity in politics. Nobody ever accuses a white man of voting for a white man simply because he is a white man. This is in part because there are just too many white men running to logically make that claim, but it’s also in part because there have been so many white men in office already who have proven themselves to be worthy (and a fair share who haven’t).

Once we elect more women, more people of color, more people of different sexual orientations and so on into office, critics will see that they are more than capable of the jobs. How can we expect our government to adequately represent the country if the makeup of said government is only representative of a small segment of the population? It’s time to recognize the true merits of candidates instead of attacking them based on personal characteristics. It’s also time to stop launching personal attacks on people who think differently than you and instead learn to respectfully disagree.

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.