This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.
It is often said that a woman must be twice as qualified as any man for the same job. Hillary Clinton is no exception. She has more experience than any other candidate in international diplomacy. She is the only candidate who has lived in the White House and has experienced presidency in such close proximity. Clinton has been a successful lawyer, a senator and Secretary of State. She is extraordinarily qualified to be president. While feminists have no obligation to vote for her, it important to consider the odds she has overcome to get here.
When feminists talk about politics, representation is one of the first issues addressed. Politics are gendered. From the wage gap to Planned Parenthood funding, issues regarding women are often hotly debated by Congress. Currently, 104 women sit in Congress, making up less than 20 percent of all members. Men should not have the right to represent issues that do not primarily impact them. Consequently, it is impossible to overstate the importance of putting women in positions of power. Electing Clinton would be groundbreaking.
Clinton does, however, represent a brand of white feminism. She gains money and support from Super PACs and large corporations. She comes from an elite background and does not have a reputation for intersectionality. She has been condemned for her lateness in rallying for same-sex marriage. The Clinton family supports private prisons, which disproportionately affect people of color. Clinton has continuously voted against the Glass-Steagall Act, which limits the power of commercial banks. These are among many examples that make Clinton appear as a less than ideal feminist candidate.
While Clinton may not be the most progressive feminist, she is still affected by feminist issues. The criticisms Clinton has faced in her campaign have not circulated largely around her actual policies or the issues she prioritizes. Arguments against Clinton focus on how she has flip-flopped over the years, as well as the email scandal from her time as Secretary of State. The arguments, however, accuse her of “lying,” of being unable to commit to an opinion and of being a people-pleaser. These qualities are typical of a politician and are normally described differently. Where she is accused of lying, other candidates may be praised for openness. Of course she is a people-pleaser — she is a politician garnering support for her campaign. Clinton is another example of women being unfairly subjected to criticism.
In a perfect world, gender would not impact voting. In her situation, Clinton has not been dealt a fair card. This is not to say that other candidates are not reasonable feminist choices. It is crucial, however, that feminists consider the importance of a woman sitting as commander-in-chief. We must reconcile whether voting against Hillary is submissive to a male-centric norm. Hillary Clinton may not be a perfect feminist but right now she is the best provisional feminist candidate.
Sarah is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]