So you are voting for Bernie Sanders and you are a young woman. Good! I am glad you are voting, I am glad you have made up your mind and chosen your candidate. I don’t think you are stupid or senseless. I am excited to see you involved in our political system and excited about that involvement. I don’t think you are making a mistake, I just don’t agree with your position.
You see, I support Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for the Sanders campaign, if my support of her had wavered at all during the primaries it’s the behavior of Sanders supporters that has shored that support right up.
Somehow – at the same time you are telling me your feminism isn’t my feminism and loudly declaring that you have your own agency and will make up your mind based on issues – you are dead set on robbing me of my agency and sweeping all of my choices away with a patronizing hand.
You tell me I am voting with my vagina because I want to vote for Hillary Clinton.
With that one sentence you take all the research I have done and the experience I have and you toss it out the window, telling me I am too stupid to make up my own mind because I am not voting for Bernie Sanders.
In other words, you have decided to be the worst kind of hypocrite. You are telling the world you get to make up your own mind but the rest of us do not, unless we agree with you.
You aren’t betraying your sex because you aren’t voting for the first female president. You are betraying it because you treat everyone who is voting for her like a brain damaged infant in need of your care and guidance.
This is not rational adult discourse. You are behaving as though Hillary supporters are dissing your dad, not engaging in debate with your opponents.
Your dismissal of Hillary supporters fails to acknowledge the momentous occasion those supporters have worked so hard to be a part of. You might think there is a lifetime to wait for the next female presidential candidate but a huge section of us have already waited that lifetime. We have been part of the democratic machine you so desperately wish to overthrow. We have fought for our revolution like you are fighting for yours. It just happens that our revolutions are playing out at the same time.
I am voting for Hillary Clinton for a whole host of issue based reasons. Healthcare, paid leave, equal pay, etc. However, I am also voting for her because of a whole host of experiences that have everything to do with gender inequality;
- Being told by hundreds of jocular men that I couldn’t be trusted because I’m an animal who bleeds for seven days out of the month and doesn’t die.
- Being hit on by my superiors at every job I have ever held.
- Watching every single political debate of my life revolve around my uterus. (Until this election.)
- Being called on in class countless times, stating my piece, and not getting a reaction from the professor until a male in the class says the exact same thing.
- Watching men with kids get promoted while being told I shouldn’t plan to get promotions because I have children.
- Being told to smile, all the time, everywhere, by complete strangers.
- Having to teach my pre-teen about rape.
- Being told by a Judge in court that my case would be stronger if I was wearing a skirt-suit instead of a pants-suit.
- Being told by men at the bus that my skirt-suit makes me look like a hooker.
- Being paid less than men with years less experience than me.
- Watching the first Hillary campaign and being told I was only voting for her because she was a woman.
- Watching this Hillary campaign and being told I am only voting for her because she is a woman.
There are hundreds of experiences in my life that make it clear to me that gender issues are real, sexism exists, and change is slow. If you don’t share those experiences, that is great news! I am thrilled for you and for the hope that means for the future. I couldn’t be happier if my daughter were able to live a life free of all of the above bullshit.
However, I have fought for equality for women my whole life, so has my mother, and so has Hillary Clinton. Don’t tell me what my equality looks like. Don’t diminish my viewpoint and experience just because they differ from yours.
Don’t tell me I am only voting for her because she is a woman.
You don’t have to respect my candidate but you should respect me. You should respect the women who came before you. Regardless of where you are now – or who you are voting for – you are there because of this legacy.
Comments for this post are turned off primarily because I am fairly certain I have read all the possible permutations of them over the past three weeks.