Clinton’s Older Feminism Lacks Appeal to Newest Voters
Once again, Hillary Clinton’s campaign for presidency has fallen short of its anticipated outcomes.
In an effort to garner support for the candidate, journalist and political activist Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, spoke against feminists who supported Bernie Sanders.
In a recent airing of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Steinem insinuated that the driving force of young female Democrats siding with Sanders was their romantic interests.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’” she claimed.
Although such advocacies have proved detrimental towards Clinton’s campaign, perhaps it’s a question of generational divide rather than Clinton’s advocacy of sexist and agist feminism. Clinton cannot expect the powerful feminists of decades past to relate to contemporary ideals of feminism.
Since then, Steinem has said she “misspoke” and claimed her mistake was “a case of talk-show Interruptus.”
Yet this apology does not satisfy contemporary young voters.
Emily Ratajkowski, a model, actress and supporter of Sanders. has since responded, “I said it before and I’ll say it again: I was there for Bernie, not for the boys.”
Ratajkowski commented by saying how women should be supportive of each other based on substantial criteria such as political stances.
Those who call themselves true feminists must agree.
Steinem’s argument is blatantly sexist in its expectation of support for a candidate due to her gender. In a generation that supports ideals rather than outward characteristics, Steinem’s mistake cost Clinton support among young voters. With this single quote, many were able to dismiss Clinton’s campaign as one that neglects their rights and opinions.
Due to their outdated perspective on feminism, Clinton and her supporters have failed to capture the attention of young progressives, instead turning them to Bernie Sanders.
Clinton’s campaign is inarguably feminist, but in the wrong manner. To garner millennial support, the candidate cannot simply parade a series of otherwise influential feminist celebrities such as Beyonce, Lena Dunham and Demi Lovato and expect growth in support. Even this propaganda attempt fails in comparison to Sanders’ #feelthebern movement across social media sites. To win votes, Clinton’s campaign must focus on plastering the holes in her platform to create a solid policy that will appeal to a variety of voters, since many young feminists are just as diverse.
The generational divide is prevalent among Clinton’s loss of votes. In the New Hampshire primary exit polls, Clinton lost the women’s vote to Sanders by 11 percent while she led by 19 percent among women 65 and older. In contrast, she lost female voters ages 18-29 by 59 percent, boosting Sanders’ win.
While working women have prevailed through the previously sexist decades, today’s young 18-29 year old women have just entered the workforce and not yet grasped the difficulties previous generations battled to earn their rights today.
Madeleine Albright, prior to her political blunder stated, “We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done.”
While such a plight is heart-warming, Clinton still isn’t as appealing since she doesn’t possess the enticing platforms that Sanders promises. To the debt-ridden, underpaid college graduate, Sanders’ fiery passion for a radical socialist uprising is a more captivating political policy than Clinton’s average political sales pitch. As part of his socialist platform, Sanders advocates for higher minimum wage, an increase in distribution of wealth, social benefits and most importantly free college. To economically challenged millennials, these promises hold hope of better financial lifestyles, all the while supporting the typical liberal and Democratic policies such as gay rights and gender equality.
For the youthful generation of voters, the 2016 election is centered around Clinton’s shortcomings. Clinton began losing trust among voters with the email scandals. For our generation, Clinton’s social media gaffes further distance her as an outdated candidate. Now, the absence of an apology for such statements and her advocacy of an older type of feminism rub modern feminists the wrong way. Clinton’s only attribute is her gender, and that is not enough for millennials any longer.
Annie Nguyen is a first-year political sciences major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.