I'm On The Fence About Hillary Clinton, And That Does Not Make Me A Bad Feminist

Does being a woman mean you automatically have to support the only woman on the ballot?

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.

I have a big problem with you, and it's not even about your stances on the "big issues" this election—it's about the language being used by your supporters throughout your campaign.

Exhibit A? "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

You know who said that? Noted feminist Madeline Albright, while speaking at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in New Hampshire earlier this month. Sure, we see this phrase bandied about all the time - in feminist think pieces, on our Facebook feeds, all over social media. The intent behind it is to call out the harmful ways women can be hyper-critical of each other (committing girl-on-girl crime, if you want to use a truly vomit-inducing phrase), but isn't it a lot more complicated than that?

Throughout this election season, I've seen self-proclaimed feminists constantly assume that Hillary Clinton was my candidate of choice. And when I say that isn't necessarily the case, what's been one of the most common responses?

Women like Madeline Albright, getting up on stage and condemning me to hell for the crime of not supporting other women.

So, let me make it super clear: if I were to choose not to vote for Hillary Clinton, that would not make me a bad feminist. Despite my desire to see a woman in the Oval Office, Hillary's gender isn't enough cause for me to automatically grant her my support, because you cannot expect me to prioritize my gender over my race or any other aspect of my identity. It just doesn't work like that.

I'm a woman and I make it a point to support other women in whatever way I can. But I'm also a woman of color. I'm a woman who cares about access to education. Immigration reform. An end to police brutality. These things are pertinent to the survival and well-being of many WOC; they affect us in our every day lives just as much as our gender does, so any woman grappling for our support has to care about these things too. This isn't to say that Hillary doesn't, but to point out that as a WOC, my support of Hillary has been assumed before these topics even make it to the table.

So Hillary supporters, listen up: implying that the validity of my identity as a feminist is directly tied to whether or not I pledge my undying loyalty to your candidate (regardless of if they've done the same for me or people like me) is definitely not the way to win my support. Acknowledging the ways in which my race and socioeconomic status affects my life as a woman, on the other hand, would be a great start.

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