Former Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton has been the Democratic frontrunner since the beginning of the 2016 presidential election cycle. Her campaign has often times relied on the possibility of her being the first female president. Clinton relies mainly on the feminist movement and the public’s eagerness, especially young voters, to elect the first female Commander in Chief, although she claims to support gender equality.
Instead of using a well-constructed or refreshing political platform, much of Clinton’s campaign has been based upon having two X chromosomes, without the needed push for the substantial change voters are seeking. Hillary Clinton’s voting record does not support her claim to being a strong feminist, making her reliance on gender in her campaign all the more troubling.
Voting for Clinton because she is a female, without first researching the candidates, is the same as voting for Trump because he is a male. The public will rightfully label anyone who votes for a male candidate on the basis of their sex misogynistic, yet it accepts voting for Clinton on the basis that the United States should have a female president as valid reasoning.
Even though there is an obvious lack of women in politics, and presidential elections must become more inclusive to female candidates, voting for a presidential candidate based on their gender is sexism, and Clinton’s use of this as the basis for her campaign is perpetuating the role sexism has in elections.
Clinton supporters who claim that she does not try to use her gender for her benefit need only review the transcript of the October Democratic Debate. Clinton used her gender as an explanation for why she would be good in office countless times throughout the debate. When Anderson Cooper, the debate moderator, asked Clinton important questions like “How would you not be a third term of President Obama?” and “Why should Democrats embrace an insider like yourself?” she took the opportunity to remind everyone of her gender instead of informing the viewers about the good that she could do for our country.
By reiterating that she is a female running for office, Clinton highlights her reliance on gender as a political tactic instead of her confidence in her own political platform.
When emphasizing her gender, Clinton is appealing to the feminist voting population, yet despite popular opinion, her history displays that she is far from a feminist. In the 1990s, she was involved in one of the largest victim blaming campaigns in recent history. Today, women are supposed to be believed and supported when they make sexual assault allegations, and the accused must prove their innocence.
In the 1990s, when Paula Jones accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment, Hillary Clinton, as his wife, said the accusations were politically motivated “outrageous, terrible stories.” This nationally publicized victim blaming finally ended when Bill Clinton settled the law suit with Jones for $850,000, which most people labelled an admission of guilt. Even after the settlement and two decades of progress for women’s rights, Hillary Clinton has yet to apologize for her gross victim blaming. As long as Hillary Clinton refuses to address this mistake, she cannot rightly be called a feminist.
Clinton’s professional history also displays that she is far from a feminist. She has continuously used her husband’s fame to further her political career. Her career launched only after her husband was elected attorney general, when she managed to get a job at a respected law firm with political influence.
When Bill Clinton became the Governor of Arkansas, her career advanced again, as she became a partner at her law firm and was appointed into an influential committee. After her husband’s presidency, the Clintons bought a mansion in Chappaqua, New York so she could run for United States Senate.
Though Hillary Clinton’s early career and achievements in office as Senator and Secretary of State should be attributed to her own political acumen and intelligence, it is clear that she has used her husband’s political career to her advantage throughout her time in public politics. Feminism is about women achieving equality, both political and otherwise, using Bill Clinton’s political clout to gain personal political advantage through powerful connections diminishes the feminist message of Clinton’s career
It is important to strive for equality in today's society, especially in politics. There is an obvious male dominance in politics which is displayed by men holding eighty percent of seats in Congress. However, this does not warrant the deposition of equal standards and judgment.
Putting a feminist candidate in office to support women’s rights is an important goal for this upcoming election, but voters will not find that quality in Hillary Clinton.
Alyssa Luis is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus opinion section. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.