A Vote for Hillary is Not a Vote for Feminism


Hillary Clinton frequently draws attention to her sex in order to gain the support of female voters. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)


When a friend asked me last November who I supported for the 2016 Presidential Election, I immediately answered, “Sanders, of course.”

Taken aback by my nonchalant tone, he immediately replied, “Why not Clinton? Don’t you think it’s time for a female president?”

I was shocked that my friend would automatically assume that I would vote for Hillary Clinton in spite of his knowledge of my political views. Particularly, I was offended that his primary explanation for this assumption was that “it’s time for a female president.” It is sexist not only to suggest that Hillary’s gender predominantly makes her the best candidate, but also to label and confine all women as a homogenous, uneducated group that blindly follows any female leader. Nevertheless, In some form or another, each person who I spoke to at Fordham regarding Hillary Clinton’s candidacy brought up her gender.

Many would argue that voters frequently associate Clinton with gender because of her tendency to use the “gender card” as a method of gaining female supporters. For instance, when asked why Democrats should nominate an insider like herself, Clinton stated, “Well, I can’t think of anything more outsider than electing the first woman president,” before saying that she would give a fresh approach to the White House. Because of the heavy focus on Clinton’s gender, her accomplishments as a First Lady, a Senator, as well as Secretary of State are frequently neglected. Yet, Hillary Clinton’s previous achievements are unrelated her gender. She worked to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, expanded health care and family leave for military families and drafted the first bill to compensate health services for first responders to name a few.

Unfortunately, other feminists also use Clinton’s gender as the main argument. During a rally in New Hampshire, the first female Secretary of State and feminist icon Madeleine Albright spoke in support of Hillary Clinton. She exclaimed a statement she has previously stated numerous times, “just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” to suggest that women must vote for Clinton because women must help one another. She criticizes the younger generation of feminists, implying that young women disregard past struggles of women’s movements and don’t care much for a female president. In addition, during an interview with Bill Maher, feminist activist Gloria Steinem recently stated that younger women are only advocating Bernie Sanders to attract “the boys.” These acclaimed feminist icons, and often Clinton herself, overlook everything that feminists are fighting for when they choose to order young women to vote for a candidate based on gender instead of suggesting that they make their own rational decisions.

I’m neither advocating for Bernie Sanders nor strictly opposing Hillary Clinton. However, I’m strongly against individuals using their cherished vote to elect a president solely based on gender. Clinton frequently mentions that she is a woman, attempting to make herself relatable to female voters. The majority of young women actually advocate for Sanders over the other candidates. Exit polls in New Hampshire showed 82 percent of Democratic women under 30 advocate Sanders, despite her rants of the women’s struggles in the workplace.

We have to abolish the notion that only females can be feminists, and that Hillary Clinton, as a woman, must be the best candidate to solve women’s issues. The fact that Clinton identifies with a voting group shouldn’t overlook her strong ties to the corporate world, the email controversy and the real estate scandal. This doesn’t mean that women, such as myself, reject the idea of a woman running the country. I definitely don’t believe that a female president will have detrimental effects on women’s rights. Hillary Clinton claims that she fights for pay equity, reproductive rights, paid family leave and other rights of women. She has even proudly stated, “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” However, these are simply statements, not promises for action, from someone who severely lacks trust from the American public. Voting for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman undermines her accomplishments, ruins the opportunity to advance gender equality and destroys what feminism stands for