A movement divided: feminism and Hillary Clinton



Kyra Kruger


Earlier this week, feminist spokespeople Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem made comments directed at young women with essentially the same message: if you are not supporting Hillary, you are doing it wrong. 

These statements brought attention to the debate over one of the factors that was supposed to boost Hillary through the elections—the prospect of the first woman president.  

Second-wave feminists such as Albright and Steinem argue that this issue alone should be the largest advantage for Hillary among all women in the U.S., insinuating that Hillary’s status as a woman should be considered more important than her policy and previous preformance.  

While they could have addressed a wider range of feminists, these comments seemed mostly directed at young women flocking to support Clinton’s biggest rival at the moment, Bernie Sanders.  Steinem even went as far as to claim that young women were only supporting Bernie for the boys, a claim she later apologized for.  

Now as a woman, a feminist and yes, a Bernie supporter, comments and arguments such as these bother me almost as much as people who take Trump’s campaign seriously. To me it seems completely against the feminist ideals to give one person preference based solely on their gender.  Of course I would love to have a woman as president, but not all women should be president, just like not all men should be.  

Those who state “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” as Ms. Albright did are condescending to the next generation. They are essentially saying that young women are incapable of using their own wits and intelligence to pick a candidate they believe in based on objective interest.  

To be a good citizen, one must be an informed, active, interested and above all, honest voter.  I refuse to put my faith and my vote in someone just because they happen to share the same sex-organs as me.  

Of course, I understand that the political landscape is a tough one for women to traverse, and I commend Hillary for her achievements in a male-dominated field.  The fact that I refuse to analyze her differently from the male candidates that oppose her, seems to me to be a bigger honor than my preference for her gender would be.  

I am aware that the fight for equal rights is far from over, but I also do not believe it would end should Hillary be elected.  It would be a big step. Policy might improve, and the issue might be at the forefront of debate, but policy changes can be made by a woman or a man president, and as the recent years have shown, women are not the only ones who can, or should, be feminists. The real triumph for feminism will arrive when the movement becomes one that does not pit men against women, or women against women, but becomes solely about the balancing of scales: perception and privilege.