Hilary Clinton

Why Hilary Need the Female Vote

We are the closest we’ve ever been to a female American president. The most powerful person in the world might be a woman. Yet this is failing to resonate with young women as inspirational symbolism, probably because Hillary is as representative of young women as Jeb Bush is of young men, in the sense that they’re not. How many women can relate to being married to a president? To being secretary of State? To being paid 350 000 for speaking engagements?

But it is not her pedigree or privilege that makes Hilary unrelatable, it’s the fact that she’s unrelatable. Her answers are so safe that they teeter on boring, to the extent that you forget what she’s talking about. According to the media, the theoretical appeal of Trump is that he sounds like a doer who’s assertive in his convictions.

There have been many articles outlining the existing quagmire between Hilary and the female vote, when in fact it doesn’t exist. The “female vote” was crystallised by the media, the same media that made Trump a viable presidential candidate despite no qualifications. The New York Times had more stories about Trump on its website’s front page during the primaries then all the other candidates combined. His ascendancy has everything to do with his coverage. Trump was strategically saying shocking statements and creating controversy for the same reason an MMA fighter talks smack at a press conference- for the currency of attention-and credible news sources wanted the clicks and currency just as much as Trump. And it’s these same news sources that write about Hillary not having “the young female vote” like it’s a real story, rather than an easy heuristic headline to package the words “Hilary” and “Female”.

Because women have the same voting habits as the rest of the country: Republican or Democrat or undecided or apathetic. No one would say the “male vote” because that would sound ridiculous, just as the concept of a homogenous unanimous female vote is a blanket statement. There is no vagina based vote. Perhaps journalists assume that because Hillary is a woman they’ll cheer for her like she’s the starting pitcher at a baseball game.

Many spheres of pop culture that supposedly represent young women actually don’t. Look at all the excitement on tampon commercials. The baby pink packaging of the pill. Ke$ha. Cosmo magazine has featured some version of “105 Ways to Please Your Man” on its cover for the past 20 years. I’m fairly confident no woman has ever wondered “How the hell do I sexually please a man?!? If only there were a scouts-type manual so I could always be prepared.” And that new Bridget Jones movie – a movie about two hot men both vying to be the father of Bridget’s bastard bun in the oven. What? Having two men in perfectly tailored suits who want to take care of you as you enter single motherhood? How is that a plausible predicament? Meanwhile the rest of us can’t even get a text back from night shift Jimmy.

I’ve always hated the inherent vulnerability of being a woman, and I’m not talking about being physically weaker than males. I’m talking about the real economic cost of being a mom, especially if you’re a single one.

I spend $25 a month and endure unintended side effects like weight gain, insomnia and depression to avoid getting pregnant. And that’s just on my Netflix and NBA League Pass. I’m also single and on the pill. Women have more opportunity, freedom, and identities than ever before, and the irony is that it has never been more financially precarious to have children. Because who’s paying for all that? Night shift Jimmy?!

So even though the elusive “female vote,” the one Trump and Hillary must supposedly win over, isn’t necessarily homogeneous, there are serious issues, some of which can be classified as “women’s,” that gravely affect the well-being of the entire country: paid maternity leave, access to safe government-funded family planning, affordable child care, raising of the minimum wage, federal student loan programs instead of private state agencies, investment in female-dominated professions like education and nursing, the decriminalisation of being black and poor, addressing the debilitating and bankrupting cost of medical bills, and actionable steps to address the shrinking middle class.

And I hope Hillary wins for the same reason people believe in capitalism and the Big Bang: because there’s simply no better alternative. This has nothing to do with “I am woman, hear me roar” or an all-encompassing “female” vote.

Only a Michael Lewis type of metric could have predicted that a recession would result in America’s first black president. But sometimes indices of progress prove to be aberrations rather than examples of systemic change. Malcolm Gladwell discusses this in “The Lady Vanishes,” an episode of his Revisionist podcast. Here he uses the example of Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, who endured copious amounts of overt and covert sexism, which she discussed in that famous speech directed at Tony Abbott, only to have Tony Abbott become prime minister two years later.

At the end of the podcast, Gladwell hypothesises that if Hillary becomes president America will be so content with its progressiveness that it will revert right to its business-as-usual, white-man-in-power ways. Basically, countries are like yo-yo dieters: they eat a salad or vote a woman into office, and then eat 12 Krispy Kreme donuts or never vote another woman into leadership again.

But Gladwell’s prediction of what will happen if Hillary becomes president has already happened.

This primary has been filled with backlash and binge eating. Obama, perhaps the most worthy president in American history, is now followed by an election privy to celebrity last names and the wealthy one percent. Obama was the “Audacity of Hope” to Hillary’s “Audacity of Taupe” to Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” which is as subtly racist as a white man sitting on his porch saying, “I miss the good old days when you could own blacks and beat women.”

The most damning evidence on the anti-Hillary train is that she voted ‘Yes’ to the Iraq war. Well what was Trump doing at that time: voting “no” to Miss Venezuela’s evening gown in the Miss Universe contest?

But if you like Trump, or dislike Hillary, that’s your opinion, and your own personal preference for someone cannot be wrong. Life is not an exam; you do not need to give three reasons to support your answer.

But aside from Hillary’s shady history of “email scandals” and Trump’s shady history of defunct universities an not paying his workers, Hillary is best fit for the job. It’s 2016 and the symbolism of a female president, in this case, means nothing. She is not a champion of feminism. The only obstacle prohibiting Hillary from becoming the first female president is not her “lack of female voters” but the media’s constant coverage of a white man who has been entitled to everything since the day he was born: money, opportunity, women, attention, and now the presidency. And it’s that symbolism that means everything.

 

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