Politics

I Love Hillary Because She’s a Woman

I’m finally coming out and saying what many of you have been thinking all along.

I love Hillary because she’s a woman, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

If she didn’t identify as a woman, I might not vote for her.

How else will misandrists like me dismantle the patriarchy if we don’t elect a woman president? A man can’t and won’t do the job. Hillary Clinton will. And she has my support.

And before you invoke the great and powerful Elizabeth Warren, remember – she’s not running. Hillary is. And she has my vote. (Although, if Hillary wants running mate ideas…)

And I believe that Hillary has the ability to make Donald Trump cry on election day. Male tears for the win.

There has to be more to my support than her gender. Right? I mean, she’s done some pretty cool shit.

When you come back from checking to make sure that this isn’t an article from The Onion, take a look.

It’s awesome that Hillary graduated one of only 27 women in her class at Yale Law School. And rather than get a job at a male-dominated firm in New York or D.C. (where she probably would have been treated like a secretary, despite her qualifications), she decided to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, where she went door-to-door collecting stories about how children with disabilities were not able to access appropriate education. This contributed to new legislation mandating that the state provide quality education for all kids.

Would she have made those choices in the 70s if she had been a man? Maybe. But, I don’t think so.

26251517_f0bc5042bb_mI love that she co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, one of the state’s first child advocacy groups. And as First Lady of the United States, even after HillaryCare failed, she fought for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps ensure that uninsured low-income children have access to health care, even when their parents don’t qualify for Medicaid. That means when bullshit Republican governors refuse to expand Medicaid, fewer children fall through the gap.

That was amazing. I imagine that being a mother influenced her decision to make insuring kids a top administration priority.

And speaking of motherhood. I love that Hillary did it all – had a child AND a career – with strength, grace and no apologies. A decision that garnered a significant amount of criticism, and one with which I have a ton of first-hand experience. I know how hard it is to juggle motherhood and a career. It’s hard even with help. Ever-shifting priorities and constant self-doubt and insecurities. Should I have kids if I want a career? Will my kids love me if I work? Would they love me more if I stayed home? What if I lose my job because my daughter gets pink eye once a month, and I have to stay home and care for her? (those are all real thoughts I’ve had, even the last one – kids are freaking gross).

Men can’t really understand the challenges of being a working mother in our society. I admire her for doing it, especially since she did it all in the public eye. Being criticized on Facebook or at your kids’ playgroup for formula feeding, painting your son’s toenails, sending your kids to daycare, or wearing yoga pants feels bad enough. I can’t imagine how she must have felt being criticized on prime time – whether it was about her hair or her policies. Most days I feel accomplished getting my kids off to school with no tantrums and all of their backpacks and lunches in hand. She got Chelsea off to school and then played a key role in national policy leadership. And 25 years later she still faces criticism about her clothes and hair.

“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”

And then, she weathered the storm of her husband having an affair(s), and received a tremendous amount of flack for “standing by her man.” Can we please stop with the misogynistic, victim-blaming bullshit idea that there’s only one right way for a woman to respond to infidelity? I said things like that, too, until I learned that my now ex-husband was having an affair. I stayed. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but my decision was right at the time for me and my family. I cannot know their relationship and the context within which she made that choice. I do know that she was damned no matter what she did. And then, she was heavily criticized for hating Monica Lewinsky. What did we expect? That they would form some Divine Ya Ya “Bill’s a Douche” Sisterhood? I guess the “hell hath no fury” stereotype made her seem super unflattering, so it’s still being used almost two decades later.

And then, she became the first female senator from New York. Again, inspiring. I don’t agree with her entire voting record (I have yet to find a single elected official with whom I agree on everything). I hated that she voted for the War in Iraq, but after reading her explanation and learning more about the context (and the regret), I understand her votes. I know a lot about regret.

There’s as much as a 93% overlap between her record and Bernie Sander’s record on key issues. Neither of them is perfect, but Hillary is better in ways that matter more to me. Part of that is being a woman. Again, I’m not ashamed to say this. Why should I be?

Later, as Secretary of State, she promoted feminist ideals about equality and uplifting women worldwide and focused not just on government-to-government relations, but also people, communities and human rights organizations through social media and community activism. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, this is the kind of relationship building that has the potential to change hearts and minds.

hillary-clinton-quotes-3 (1)

As a Feminist, I love that women are not only a part of her equation, but the solution. When we lift women and girls up, we lift everyone up – promoting equal pay for women, calling for funding for and expanded access to reproductive health care for all women, ending the ban on Federal funds for abortion care, speaking out against campus sexual assault. Women’s rights are human rights. Her remarks over 20 years ago to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing still resonate with me, but most because we are still far from achieving these goals.

“As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes — the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.”

The other day, my 6-year-old daughter saw a Hillary for America mailer on the kitchen table and asked, “Is this the woman you are helping to be President? Can a woman be President? I’m not sure. I’ve never heard of that…a woman President.”

Yes, darling girl, a woman can be President, but more than that, a woman should be President. Because we live in a world where me saying that I support Hillary because she is a woman is seen as a bad thing. If we hope for real change, not just the kind of change that happens when you have a friendly Congress, but the kind of change that happens in the hearts and minds of six-year-old girls and boys, we need forward momentum – momentum towards a world where gender equality isn’t just a good idea in theory, but a reality in practice. She may not be calling for that kind of revolution, but it’s change I can believe in, and she’s the right woman for the job.

Images: Hillary for America, Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue

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Steph

Steph

Steph recently traded single parenthood to two awesome kids (3 and 7) for marriage to a great guy with two awesome kids (5 and 10). Their adventures in parenting are set in a tiny town in the middle of a corn field. Their newest edition is due in February 2017. In late 2015 she left her stressful, more than full-time job with a victim services agency to pursue writing and activism. When she's not busy writing, chasing kids around, cleaning up messes and engaging in social justice warfare, Steph enjoys snuggling, making pies, engaging in debates on the internet, yoga, and fitness. A recovered natural parent, Steph now considers herself a semi-crunchy peaceful parent and trusts science, evidence and common sense to lead the way. She has been actively involved in the reproductive and women's rights movements for more than 20 years and is a passionate pro-choice feminist.

7 Comments

  1. March 3, 2016 at 5:47 am —

    Maybe she cut her teeth as an advocate for children and families, but she threw them under the bus en masse when it came time for welfare reform. She’s since apologized for the Clinton-era criminal justice reforms, and her Iraq war vote, but she was still pushing welfare reform as one of her selling points in 2008, even as the number of families in severe poverty has doubled since then. Even the Reagan-era welfare archetype was less insulting than the Clinton version. Reagan’s “welfare queen”was a corrupt individual who took advantage of an overly generous system, but TANF came about under the assumption that our welfare system corrupted its beneficiaries by nature.

    Hillary is skilled at photo ops, and choosing the popular option over the right option, but little else.

    • March 16, 2016 at 11:04 am —

      While we’re talking about ‘welfare queens’, it’s funny: There was one. <a href=”http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2013/12/linda_taylor_welfare_queen_ronald_reagan_made_her_a_notorious_american_villain.html”>Linda Taylor</a>, alias Linda Lynch, alias Linda Jones, alias Linda Mallexo, alias Linda Ray, alias Linda Sholvia, alias Constance Rayne, alias Constance Lloyd, alias Constance Wakefield, alias Constance Wakefield Steinberg, alias Connie Walker, alias Connie Jarvis, who was also guilty of numerous other crimes (impersonating a nurse, bigamy, perjury).

      Some also believe she was involved in money laundering, arms smuggling, murder for hire, human trafficking, and pimping. Guess which crime people cared about.

      Oh, and because of Ronnie’s dog whistle, I should mention she was white.

  2. March 3, 2016 at 5:52 am —

    “Welfare reform legislation which combines an assault on the poor, women and children, minorities and immigrants is the grand slam of scapegoating legislation, and appeals to the frustrations and ignorance of the American people along a wide spectrum of prejudices.”

    -US Senator Bernard Sanders, 1997

  3. March 6, 2016 at 12:03 pm —

    I really appreciate this, Steph. I was on the fence for a long time. Then I saw that article floating around with pictures of Obama with kids. One picture always stood out for me: the one where the little boy is feeling Obama’s hair, to see if it felt like his. I started thinking about Obama’s legacy. Sure, health care reform, climate change…but I think his most lasting legacy will lie with little kids of color who will see a face like theirs among all the white guys on posters of the presidents that hang in their classrooms. I didn’t realize how much I wanted that for little girls until that moment.

    • March 16, 2016 at 10:55 am —

      See, this is the advantage of being an Indian: We don’t expect any representation like that; in fact, we still loathe Ben Nighthorse Campbell with a passion.

      Also, wasn’t “Hillary’s a woman, so if we don’t get her, we’ll vote for McCain to get Palin” the entire ridiculous “logic” of PUMA?

      • March 16, 2016 at 11:05 am —

        I think you are missing the point. I didn’t say – I will only vote for a woman no matter what their political views (in fact, I said the opposite). I said, being a woman has given Hillary experience and insight that make her a better candidate when politics are nearly identical. There’s a nuanced difference.

        • March 17, 2016 at 6:06 pm —

          True, but I’m thinking of some of the users on Daily Kos. You have to also look at her stance on issues. For instance, for a lot of Indians, fracking and KXL are at the front of our minds because, in addition to environmental damage, oil work attracts a lot of convicted sex offenders, because it’s nowhere near schools. And that means going back to Oliphant, which created this giant jurisdictional hole and basically gave non-Indians carte blanche on reservations. (For perhaps the fiftieth time, William Rehnquist is why I wish hell were real.)

          This of course means that a candidate who is for fracking is…not quite my idea of a feminist candidate.

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