I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter. I’m unashamed of that. I find his plans to make public colleges free for all, to take the dirty money out of politics, and to make healthcare a right to be awesome.
As a young woman who supports Senator Sanders though, I was extremely annoyed to hear that Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright decided to shame women who vote for Bernie. Steinem went on “Real Time with Bill Maher” and claimed (a claim she has since retracted) that the only reason young women are supporting Bernie and not Hillary Clinton is because they want to get a date.
Albright also told a room full of people at a Hillary Clinton rally that “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support each other.” (Don’t even get me started on the fact that if you took out the word “women” and traded it for something else, that statement would have gone so different!)
For two women who clearly had influence in the early feminist movements to be denouncing people who vote for Sanders is disconcerting. Not only is it insulting for Steinem to suggest that I am only voting for Bernie because that’s “where the boys are” is not only idiotic (because I’m queer and so are lots of my fellow Bernie supporters), but it’s ridiculous that she and Albright should insinuate that Clinton is the right candidate merely because she is a woman.
However, these assertions made by Albright and Steinem are not just ridiculous, they’re anti-feminist. Feminism not only advocates for equality for all, but it also means that people get a choice. I don’t quite care for women who made so many things possible for women implying I’m somehow betraying my gender to say there’s a place in hell for me because I’m not supporting a candidate solely because she’s a woman.
Clinton has a lot of things wrong with her, and one of the things that bothers me is that she is too much of a sleazy politician who I don’t think will turn things around for the vast majority of Americans who are living in poverty and debt. The fact these two women want to rebuke me and other young women for our decision of wanting to support Bernie shows me that while they fought for women’s rights at one point, they don’t appear to care if we have a president who will fight for the economically and socially disadvantaged in this country.
They just want to see a woman elected.
Sure, Clinton’s a woman. But she’s also a politician who has been bought off by the rich and Wall Street and will not do what is right for people in this country. So I want Steinem, Albright, and any other person who thinks you have to vote for a woman candidate in order to be a feminist to know that I have every intention of supporting Bernie Sanders until the day I’m told his campaign is either won or over with.