I am a woman who doesn’t care that Hillary Clinton is the first woman to secure the nomination of a major political party in America, or that she could be the first woman President of the United States. Over the last week we have heard a lot about this historical moment, and there are a lot of people saying that even if you don’t like her politics, you should acknowledge the historical aspect of this moment and be proud of it if you are a woman. There are many women who say that even if they don’t like her, this is an inspiring moment. To me, this is such backwards thinking disguised as progressivism.
First of all, I don’t buy into identity politics. The idea that an aspect of a person that they have absolutely no control over, such as their gender or race, is a reason to support someone for President of the United States is as absurd as saying that you would NOT support someone because of their gender or race. In America, it is not acceptable by the general population to demean someone because of their gender or race, so why on earth should we celebrate someone because of it? Hillary Clinton did not choose to be a female, she was born that way. The fact that she is a female adds nothing to her qualifications (or in this case, lack thereof) to be the leader of the free world. What does Hillary’s being a female do to help me, as an American citizen, live in a better America? Does her gender help our wages to go up? Does her gender help to combat ISIS? Does her gender help to stop mass shootings? Does her gender alone help to improve anything in our country or lives? Living in America in 2016, in a country that is a melting pot for different races, genders, cultures, religions, etc., you would think that the focus when choosing someone for a job, including that of President, would be solely based on qualifications and not based on gender or race. You would think that after all of the feminists fought so hard for companies and businesses to not look at a person’s gender in determining if they are qualified for the job, they would want to do the same in this situation. You would think that we’d have gotten to a point where we recognize that just because someone is female, or black, or Asian, or tall, or short, or brown-eyed, or blue-eyed, doesn’t mean they are more or less qualified for a position. You would think we would focus on achievements and competence.
Some may say that her gender gives her a female perspective so she is more likely to focus on issues that matter to women. Except that when you look at her as a person, and her history and what she has actually DONE, it’s clear that she does not fight for women. Someone who fights for women doesn’t go after her husband’s sexual assault victims to discredit them. Someone who fights for women doesn’t accept money from foreign countries that treat women as second class citizens. Even her views of abortion are only in line with 14% of the population, as most women in America do not believe that abortion in the third trimester should be legal. So not only does her gender alone not necessarily make her an advocate for women, but we have selected a woman whose ACTIONS have been against the interests and well being of women. Have the lives of blacks in America improved because of the first black president? Not according to statistics, and the fact that 65% of people in America believe that race relations in our country are currently problematic.
Second of all, I do not need Hillary Clinton to become the first female president in order for me to be able to tell my daughters that they can do anything that they strive for, including being President of the United States. I could tell my daughters that anyway. The idea that women are somehow still held back in America until a woman becomes president, and the idea that somehow a woman becoming president breaks down all sorts of other barriers, is just untrue. There is no reason why one of my girls cannot become President of the United States, or the CEO of a corporation, or cannot start her own successful business, whether or not Hillary wins. It’s not like if Hillary loses the election, I will have to sit down and tell my daughters, “well, I guess you can’t achieve your dreams”. In fact, I think it is dangerous for parents to over-emphasize the significance in Hillary’s gender role in all of this. By doing so, you are telling them that they SHOULD focus on gender when making judgements about others. You are telling them that unless Hillary Clinton, or some other famous woman, accomplishes her goals, then my girls can’t accomplish their goals. If Hillary loses the election, I would still tell my daughters they could be President if they strived for it. If Hillary loses the election, I will still tell my daughters that as long as they work hard and have integrity, they will be able to accomplish their dreams.
Third of all, I do not want my daughters looking up to Hillary Clinton because she stands for everything that I stand against. I do not want my daughters to think that it is ok to lie and put others down in order to get ahead. I don’t want my daughters to stay with a man who is a womanizer just because they will get farther in their professional life if they stay with him. I do not want my daughters to think that there is a different set of rules for the political class to play by than there is for the rest of us. I don’t want my daughters to think that it is ok to be corrupt and disregard laws and rules as long as you have already reached a certain level of money and power. I do not want my daughters to think it is ok to sacrifice their principles for money and power. I do not want my daughters to look at the first woman president and say, “wow, she was so corrupt and unscrupulous, but everyone celebrated her anyway because she was a woman”. My daughters, and my son, will be taught to live their lives with integrity and good character, to put their values above their wallets or ambitions. Therefore, I do not want Hillary Clinton as a role model for my kids. And the idea that just because she is a woman, she represents me or anything that I believe in, is the epitome of sexism.
As a mere historical fact, should Hillary win the election, it will be noted that Hillary Clinton was the first woman President of the United States. Other than that, there is nothing in particular that should be celebrated about a woman becoming President. It does not mean that she will be a good President, and it does not mean she will be a bad President. Her gender, in fact and in practice, actually means nothing at all. It is all just a blind, backwards way of thinking designed to get people excited about an otherwise un-exciting candidate.