I have loved and supported Hillary Clinton since 2008. I rallied behind her because she was my first role model: a strong, intelligent, capable woman breaking the glass ceiling in a world dominated by men. I needed that. I needed to see someone like her leading in a predominately male field.
But now I’m sick and tired — tired of people telling me I shouldn’t like her, because they don’t believe in her honesty and likeability; tired of being treated as if I could not think for myself. That because I’m supporting Hillary, I’m blinded by her genitalia.
It’s not that we need to see a woman in the White House, it’s that we need to see a woman like Hillary. A woman who will continue to carve a path for other women and continue to fight for equality.
There is a wide variety of reasons for which I support Hillary but I will approach this from a purely feminist standpoint. As a woman, I want to vote for the candidate who will fight for equality. Hillary is the best candidate, because she has the most compelling and consistent record as a champion for equal rights and has made tangible policy changes that have benefited women.
In 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women, First Lady Hillary Clinton spoke the famous phrase: “Women’s rights are human rights.” She passionately spoke of how women could contribute so much to society if given the same opportunities as men. She has publicly defended women’s rights and has been attacked, abused and marred for her defenses.
Hillary has proven herself as a woman who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. She has been constantly criticized for being a feminist, for putting her career over her family, for taking on a role not typical of women. Yet, she continued. She fought to improve medical facilities for the underprivileged and promoted education reforms in Arkansas. In 1977, she founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. In 1978, Bill Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas and in 1980 Hillary gave birth to Chelsea Clinton and became a mother. She proved to women everywhere that it was possible to be a mom and a successful career woman by winning the Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Young Mother of the Year in 1984. In 2000, Hillary became the first female senator from New York, shattering another glass ceiling for women everywhere.
As Secretary of State, Hillary worked tirelessly to implement programs to help women all around the world. She oversaw the creation of the United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security which aimed to make women’s voices heard in areas of peace negotiations, conflict building, and in preventing sexual and gender-related violence. Also, she appointed the first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, where she introduced the Global Health Initiative which put $63 billion to provide underdeveloped countries with maternal and infant health care.
Hillary has always gone by the mantra that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare.” She has advocated for increased access to birth control and to empower women’s access to reproductive rights. She has sponsored eight pieces of legislation to improve access to birth control and sex education, such as the legislation she pushed to make emergency contraception available to servicewomen. She has spoken out in defense of Planned Parenthood, such as when she disproved controversial Planned Parenthood videos.
Hillary has stood up for women all her life. We so often refuse to acknowledge that as of yet we do not live in a world of equality. Hillary is denounced, condemned and attacked for all her defense of women at a rate greater than her male counterparts. Men in her position do not get the same criticisms she does; she gets disparaged for her style of dress and gets called offensive names, such as when CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos referred to Hillary as a “white bitch” and defended himself by saying that the description is accurate for some women.
For not being feminine enough, for having the audacity to have children and a career. These are gendered insults our society would never levy against a male politician. In spite of all that, she continues to fight for women everywhere. She is a respected member of the Democratic Party who has spent her career on building the infrastructure needed for change.
This is the candidate I want to support. The woman who has continuously progressed women’s rights, domestically and internationally. I, a Democratic self-proclaimed feminist, joyfully, gleefully, unabashedly and unapologetically support Hillary Rodham Clinton.