Is this even a question?
Lately, some old-school feminists — some of whom I deeply admire — have been quoted as “chiding” young feminists who support Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Because Bernie’s a man, and Hillary’s a woman, and, well, if you’re a girl, you need to vote for a girl. Or something like that.
(I’m still trying to parse precisely what this speech was about, though maybe it belongs in a whole ‘other category. I appreciate any spouse willing to defend the other spouse, though I don’t know if Sanders’ critiques and criticisms of Candidate Clinton can be called “sexist.” Let’s put that aside a moment.)
If you support Sanders in this Democratic presidential primary, I don’t assume that you hate women.
See how that works?
Whether you feel the Bern, or #I’mWithHer, isn’t the point that feminists choose the candidate with whom we most identify, regardless of gender? Or am I being naive? (In a similar vein, can one support a candidate other than Sanders, and consider one’s self not a tool of the establishment? I believe they can.)
Here’s how I see it: If you feel that Hillary has been in the trenches for women’s rights (or diplomacy, or health care), and that’s your overriding issue, vote for her. If you feel that Bernie was talking about wealth/income inequality before it was cool (or opposing war), and that’s your issue, then he’s your candidate. If you feel these issues — and perhaps a sixth and seventh issue — are important, then it’s on you to weigh the candidates’ platforms and histories, and make your decision. My brand of feminism doesn’t include weighing gender for my vote. Yes, it would be wonderful to finally have a woman in office. And historic. And awesome. But no candidate’s gender gets my vote. Candidates get my vote based on plans, past, and dedication to the issues I hold dear.
So it’s onward. To New Hampshire.