Dear Kate Cronin-Furman, Mira Rapp-Hooper , and all the other woman trying to school me in feminism and guilt me into voting for Hillary,
I believe your assertion that for some “late-breaking sexism often means later-onset identification with the principles of second-wave feminism”, however that experience is EXACTLY why I’m CHOOSING to vote for Bernie Sanders as opposed to Hillary Clinton; and I’d like the think pieces on why I’m naive or somehow less of a feminist than you are to stop.
I am an HBCU Dean’s List grad. I am a Black Single Mother of a 4-year-old daughter. I am a proud member of the LGBT community, and I have been eking out an existence working 10-12 hours days for $12 an hour in one of the most discriminatory industries (Hollywood) in the world. You assume that because I won’t blindly vote for Hillary I must be naive to the discrimination of the business world or the social structure of this country in general; this position is not only disparaging, but sexist, and ageist all bundled up nicely in a tight fist that I’m tired of being assaulted with.
I’m proud the woman before me have paved a pathway for us, but didn’t they do so in order for me to have the freedom to vote about the issues and the candidates’ political and social anatomy not their physical anatomy? Making young educated women out to be people pleasing and inexperienced shows a level of callus that is scary and truly disheartening. The woman of the baby boomer age were once idealist…what happened to that belly burning fire that was emboldened by opposition and in search of true progressive change? Why settle for just any woman when there is more at stake here than ovaries in the oval office? We have a Supreme Court justice nom on the line, we have oil pipelines from Canada pending, we have a trade deal that could dismantle what little democratic power we have left over corporations, and we have a privatized prison system that threatens to sue if we don’t continue to fuel them with free labor. I and thousands of other women graduated from college as the economy fell apart; we faced even more abysmal job prospects than we would have had we been met solely with the sexism already expected in the workplace.
I am not some starry-eyed child who doesn’t know what’s good for me. I am the product of my history, culture, and environment. I am the niece of two Uncles jailed by Clinton’s 94’ Crime Bill. I am a bi-sexual woman who is puzzled that the same woman who supported her husband in signing DOMA, the HIV travel ban, as well as overseeing the doubling of LGBT discharges from the military in his tenure, can act as if that never happened or claim to have magically “evolved” dismissing my and countless other peoples pain. Hillary didn’t fully support same sex marriage until 2013…yes…2013! She flew in the face of change and only joined our ranks as the prevailing winds of pew polling blew. She’s never stood true as a weather vane for equal human rights for all…only the humans who benefit her public image.
Bottom line: I don’t trust her. I don’t trust Hillary to do right by me or any of the issues I care about. If I were a man the very women who bash me would respect my right as an American to vote for the person, male or female whom I’m most ideologically aligned with. However, I am not a man…and these women… my sisters claim “there is a special place in Hell” for me and that I only support Bernie because his camp is where all the boys are. The legacy I want to leave my daughter isn’t one of forced affiliation or entitlement; it’s one of progressive ethics so I’ll stand tall in my opposition. If Bernie wins on a platform of revolutionary change I can take comfort in the fact that regardless of which side they played ALL women will benefit both directly and indirectly from that.
I do hope that a woman will inhabit the white house one day soon, but that isn’t my ONLY hope… I pray that by the time my child is of college age she won’t have to tackle the issues I have had to. I hope she won’t have to decide between living a life and paying back student loans. Yes, sexism is very real but so is the need to reduce income inequality, corporate welfare, and the cost of health care. I have aspirations for myself and my daughter that are bigger than the shadow cast by Hillary and when I look into my child’s eyes and my own in the mirror, I know there are better female candidates out there, but we as women need to recognize them… let’s not squander our “1st woman” card on a layup.
Most Certainly a Feminist,
Lauren J. Croom