In the spirit of this embarrassing, insane election, I thought I would show you all this piece I wrote on an experience I had pertaining to it (I would also like to add that it won an editor’s choice award on Teen Ink)!
When I first made it clear that I was a Hillary Clinton supporter in the spring of 2016, people already knew I was a feminist. I had expressed that to everyone I encountered over the past year. And upon my declaration of this opinion, I was shocked by all of the rage directed towards me, even from my closest friends, who were democrats themselves.
The most memorable question that was asked to me by a close friend (a Bernie supporter) was: “Are you just supporting Hillary because she is a woman?” I was shocked to hear this coming from him. He and I, who had agreed on so many political issues, were all of a sudden divided. He, who was such an outspoken liberal feminist like me was suddenly acting as if my opinion was not valid. What was going on? Frankly, I felt shocked and affronted and replied with a defiant “No. I support her because I think she’s the most qualified” before moving on with my day.
I was beginning to notice this rift more and more as the election progressed. Along with it bringing out the worst in the candidates, including Trump’s and Cruz’s various racist remarks, it brought out the worst in the general public. All of a sudden, everyone was so divided, even people in the same party. I had once felt so welcomed and so in harmony with my democratic friends, and now I felt like an outsider. There were so many double standards: If you were a Bernie supporter you were so progressive but such a communist, and if you were a Hillary supporter you were moving this country forward, yet holding it back because she was “untrustworthy”. I thought my democrat friends and I were working together to change the world for the better, and all of a sudden, we were torn apart.
The election also really brought into light for me what it means to be a feminist, because I could finally understand why so many people claim that they aren’t. From the start of the election, one thing stood out to me in particular. You could look all over Instagram and see”If you’re a feminist, vote for Hillary!” and “If you’re a real feminist, vote for Bernie!” What happened to the definition of feminism that I learned? The definition that expressed the mere belief that there should be equality of the sexes? That anyone’s opinion, regardless of their gender, is valid. When did all of these requirements come in?
Election year was supposed to be a year in which we could move our country forward. Instead, we held it back by getting so caught up in our own opinions that we had to completely disrespect others. There was division instead of unity, and labeling instead of freedom.
I did not support Hillary because I was a feminist.
I supported her because it was my choice.