Stop Saying That I Am Not a Feminist Because I Support Bernie Sanders

It's insulting to say that my critical thinking should boil down to what sex a candidate is.
Publish date:
February 10, 2016
politics, voting

If someone says to me, once again, that I am not a feminist because I do not support Secretary Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination I am, quite honestly, going to completely lose it.

It's insulting to say that my critical thinking should boil down to what sex a candidate is. I am a proud feminist, and I support Bernie Sanders—the two do not have to be at odds, you know. I have heard I am not a "true" feminist (because of my political leanings) from people in my own life sure, mostly on Facebook and Tumblr.

But I am now starting to hear this harsh sentiment—"You hate women because you are not backing a woman!!!!"—from some well-known, unlikely sources.

Over the weekend, one of my idols, Gloria Steinem, appeared on "Real Time with Bill Maher" to make the claim that young women only vote for Bernie Sanders because boys do: "When you're young, you're thinking, 'Where are the boys?' The boys are with Bernie," she said with a laugh.

What?! Steinem, please say it isn't so! That is not only an extremely wrong way of thinking, but it is so offensive to women everywhere, and not just the Bernie supporters. You're telling me that because I support Bernie Sanders I do so because I am just "boy crazy"? Steinem, you are so much better than this (Steinem has since apologized, via Facebook, but the words, and the video featuring them, still persistently haunt me.)

Likewise, former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, another kick-ass, awesome lady, claimed at a Hillary Clinton rally in New Hampshire on Saturday that, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other!" Which was met with near-hysterical laughter from Clinton, and thunderous cheers and applause from the audience.

UGH. Again, what the ACTUAL hell?! Also, I believe Taylor Swift said this about Amy Poehler and Tina Fey when the comedians poked fun at her... but I digress.

First of all, I do not hate Hillary Clinton, but I am not going to vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman. Nope. We feminists should continue to work for equal pay, reproductive rights, etc., but these changes do not need to necessarily come about through Secretary Clinton ONLY.

Yes, I recognize Secretary Clinton's accomplishments, and she is more than capable to be running for president, I just do not agree with her politics. That's it. Feminism stands for equality, not "Let's vote for women because they're women," and "Shame on you for not voting for your fellow woman." We ought to be focused on voting for the candidate that we believe is right for the job and will enact the changes that we so strongly believe in.

I would also like to acknowledge that women DO have more access to politics than they have had in the past, sure. But there are still very significant hurdles that women (and the system in general) have to face. It shows women have always been capable, but the public's acceptance of women in politics is still very much in progress.

I do not wish to hold Secretary Clinton responsible for the words of other people, but I am railing against the people (some of whom are feminist heroes of mine) suggesting that I am anti-feminist because I am not voting for her. Sure, Steinem and Albright didn't say that I, and all the other women who do not support Hillary Clinton for president, are "anti-feminist" per se, but it's obviously implied. I guess I am a disgrace to my sex because my political choices do not hinge on whether a candidate is male or female.

But why are we trying to make women feel bad about their choices? Shame on you Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright. One of the tenets of feminism is the right for women to make their own choices. Stop trying to place women into these stringent categories (hell being one of them, and boy-crazy town another), and stop trying to make women hate one another because they are not voting for the female candidate.

Ironically, Steinem and Albright have fought so hard for a woman's right to choose, yet they are now saying, "Oh you can choose, but it better be the right choice," in other words, not a man. By doing this you are tearing down women and making their beliefs seem inconsequential if they do not completely align with yours. Women's choices will not be reduced to what sex a candidate is, so stop trying.