Don’t shame women voting for men

Many people have told me that wanting to vote for Bernie Sanders is just a phase. They cite different reasons: I’m a college student, I’m young, I live in Vermont.

But the reason that makes me the angriest is the one I hear most often: I’m a woman.

I identify as a feminist and want to see all genders treated equally. Ever since I was little, Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright were some of my biggest heroes.

I remember reading children’s books on them and their importance. I thought they were awesome people fighting for my beliefs.

Unfortunately, I can no longer say that. Both bashed other women for not supporting Hillary Clinton.

Albright introduced Clinton at a Feb. 6 rally in New Hampshire and shamed women who aren’t planning on voting for her.

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Albright said of the larger fight for women’s equality. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” 

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This is offensive to any woman not planning to vote for Clinton. Just because some of us don’t think Clinton would be the best candidate for the White House, we don’t deserve to go to hell because we didn’t support a fellow woman in her fight to get to the top.

To me, that seems pretty unfeminist. Feminism is working toward all genders being treated equally, so we should choose our candidate without regard to their gender.

If anyone discounted Clinton as a presidential candidate because of her gender, I would tell that person how wrong they are, and that we need to look for a candidate who is right for the country, regardless of gender.

Then, to add insult to injury, on February 5th Steinem spoke to Bill Maher on his HBO show about women planning to vote for Sanders.

‘“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’” Steinem said. Realizing that this was potentially offensive, Maher recoiled.

“Now if I said that, ‘They’re for Bernie because that’s where the boys are,’ you’d swat me,” he said.

But Steinem laughed it off, replying, “How well do you know me?”’

I don’t know any men who base their romantic choices on political affiliation. I go around saying I support Sanders to men, waiting for an “I do, too!” just to forget all about my support for Bernie to fall in love with them.

Secondly, I don’t see where feminism comes in here. Is she saying that all women are just chasing after a man to settle down with, which, by the way, is one of the things she fought against 50 years ago?

She did issue a retraction, but it felt empty, short, and inauthentic. You can’t just take statements like that back after the fact. She’s setting women back to the time feminists like her had to fight for people to stop thinking about women just being there to serve men.

Do these women really want people voting for candidates based on their sex?

There is so much more to a candidate than that, like their policies toward women’s rights and immigration, cost of education and the cycle of poverty.

Steinem and Albright were invaluable during their time, and we are all lucky that they were around and led the feminist movement. However, maybe they don’t have a place in politics today.

They don’t understand that right now, we need a president that makes America better for women, rather than just putting one woman in a position of power.