If I blog about the gender of talking penguins, why wouldn’t I care about the gender of my president?

OK, let’s try this again.

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A couple days ago, I wrote a blog titled: ‘Only in a sexist society would women be told that caring about representation at the highest levels of government is wrong. Only in a sexist society would women believe it.’ As I stated then, I wrote that blog in part because every time I post about Hillary, gender, and power on Reel Girl’s Facebook page I lose fans, usually not before I’m admonished for voting with my vagina or told to stick to writing about the imaginary world. I ended that blog with this statement:

If you’re a Bernie supporter or a Hillary supporter, I’d love you to stay, but If you prefer not to see posts about Hillary and gender, this is probably not the blog or the Facebook page for you.

Apparently, some of you are still confused, so I’m re-posting here what you can see on Reel Girl’s Facebook page in the “about” section:

This page does not post trigger warnings. If you are offended by media stories that deal with rape, sexual assault, or abuse, and expect a trigger warning, please don’t like this page. I also post about politics (I am a Democrat) and reproductive rights. The goal of my page is to imagine gender equality in the fantasy world so that we create equality in the real one. I hope you join me on this journey but if you expect to only read stories about female comic book characters here, this is not the page for you.

To recap: the gender of characters in the imaginary world is important to me because the gender of characters in the real world is important to me. Capiche?

If you believe that Bernie Sanders is a better feminist than Hillary Clinton, I respect that opinion and I understand your reasons for making that choice. I get it.

On my blog, a couple days ago, I posted this quote from Bernie Sanders from the AP:

“No one has ever heard me say, ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, vote for a man.’ I would never do that, never have,” Sanders said. “I think in a presidential race, we look at what a candidate stands for and we vote for the candidate we think can best serve our country.”

I wrote:

Huh? Of course no one would say, “Hey guys, let’s stand together and vote for a man.” That’s just the assumption, a man is the default position. That Bernie would make that analogy shows me, once again, why I want a woman president.

That quote, as you can see if you go to the link, is not the headline, hasn’t been covered by any media that I know of, it’s simply embedded in the article, just like that point of view is embedded in a male candidate. To me, that quote says gender is not important and that men and women are the same and equal right now in America. That quote is just the latest one I came across as I was blogging that happened to show to me that Bernie doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a woman because he’s not one.

I want a female president. I wrote this in my blog:

 

Would I vote for Sarah Palin or Condoleezza Rice or Michelle Bachmann because they are women? No, of course not. I would vote for a woman who supports reproductive rights and women’s rights. Yes, I want a woman president. I don’t think women are better than men, more ethical than men, kinder, more emotional, or any of that bullshit. I still want there to be a woman who supports women’s rights to hold the highest office. I believe Hillary Clinton will make the world a better place for women and therefore men, as ultimately, we’re all connected and losing half the human race is missing out on a huge, untapped resource.

 

Is gender the only factor in why I’m voting for Hillary? No. Is it a strong factor? Yes.

So many people who are not supporting Hillary assure me that they’re all for a woman president, they just don’t want this woman. Elizabeth Warren, she’d be great! Jill Stein? Even better! I will tell you as I tell them: Neither of those women is in a position to be president, and that is not a coincidence. There could not be a female Bernie Sanders in Bernie Sanders’s position today– that angry, that vocal about a revolution. A woman like that would scare America right out of its pants. How do I know? Because she’s not in that position!

Here’s the good news. Since my post, I’ve actually gained fans on Reel Girl’s Facebook page. I have hope for us Democrats! Most of the comments I’m getting are much better and represent an improved and thoughtful dialogue, but I still feel like my point is being missed. Here’s one of those comments that inspired me to write this blog:

I have no problem with anyone supporting Hillary. I don’t agree with her and I find her extremely fake, but that’s my personal reaction and I understand that others react differently. I’ve never really had a problem with your stuff. I don’t agree 100% all the time, but that’s normal. I don’t know why we have to agree all the time or be huge ass enemies. What a waste of energy. The only thing I have to say about the representation of women in government is that, yes it would be amazing, but at the same time I don’t want to feel like I’m being shamed into voting for the vagina candidate. Know what I mean? But, well. The genitalia of a candidate has never really been my first concern. The issues are always more important for me. That being said, being told that WANTING a woman prez is sexist is an extreme. We want representation. That’s a normal part of being human.

My response:

Yes, we can disagree! The point I think is not to avoid conflict but to handle conflict ethically. When you write that you don’t want to vote with your vagina, that terminology feels kind of shaming to me. I respect that you don’t want to vote for a woman b/c she’s a woman, but when you write you don’t want to vote with your vagina, it makes me feel like you’re saying I’m doing something stupid or gross.

I swear if one more person tells me they’re not voting with their vagina or not to vote with my vagina….scrap that, because it’ll happen again hundreds if not thousands of times before this primary is over. I’ll take a deep breath. I’ll keep writing.

5 thoughts on “If I blog about the gender of talking penguins, why wouldn’t I care about the gender of my president?

  1. In a lesser way, this is the same reason I prefer to have female doctors, especially gynocologists. I don’t think it’s weird or perverted for a man to be interested in women’s health and I certainly don’t feel violated when a male doctor examines me, but when a doctor says, “where does it hurt?” or “what kind of pain?” I find it easier to communicate with someone who has the same organs I do. I prefer to take advice on birth control from someone who actually uses birth control. A well-meaning GP once told me that birth control pills make his wife a “scary, crazy” person when I asked about side effects, whereas the nurse practitioner I spoke to at a Planned Parenthood years later could tell me her experience with her IUD, so we could have a relaxed conversation about whether it was the right option for me.

    To bring it back to Hillary, she will be better able to support women in the US and worldwide for the same reason that your guy friends can’t understand your complicated and often conflicted feelings about cat-calling, why acquaintances ask me if it’s weird for me to make more money than my boyfriend, and why my dad, who was more bothered by how my ex treated me than I was, will screw his face up in mock disgust and leave the room whenever my sister and I are talking about periods, pregnancy, cleaning blood out of underwear, or anything that has anything remotely to do with our bodies.

    A very smart friend of mine said—in a conversation about “having it all” and why no one in their right mind wants to have a serious career while also being the primary parent and being responsible for cooking, cleaning, shopping, and getting Billy to soccer practice on time … and not forgetting that it’s Billy’s turn to bring snack—that women have already learned how to do “men’s” jobs, so the basis of inequality lies in the fact that very few men have learned how to do “women’s” jobs. Here we have an opportunity for a very highly qualified woman to be the voice for all Americans, who happens to have a husband who is very ready to take on the responsibility of First Lady.

    I think Bernie is great, and I believe he is a force for good in the struggle for equal treatment of women in this country, but I don’t want a man to swoop in a save all the women. I prefer Bernie’s health care plan to Hillary’s, but I don’t think he has the experience and political strings to pull in order to implement it. And finally, even though the GOP has been rolling out a clown car of candidates, their nominee would only have to convince 51% of Americans that Bernie is a communist in order to win the election. Hillary isn’t just my candidate because she’s a woman, because she can understand what being a women trying to start a career in her 20s is like, because her values align with mine, but because I believe she can make the things she believes in happen.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with all of this. People just don’t get it. They really don’t, and I’m not sure in our climate of internalized misogyny and sexism they ever will. The “not voting with my vagina” comment bothers me so much, because I find it inherently sexist and completely insulting. What if I am? What the hell is wrong with that exactly?. Guys vote with their dicks all the time, even in this election, but no one says a word about that.

    And as to Bernie Sanders being a “better Feminist”…well, that’s a whole other fish to fry. A man, technically speaking, can’t be a feminist. An oppressor can’t take the subjugate role because they already have the upper-hand. Sexism(or any ism for that matter) is prejudice + power. Men hold the power in our world, and a sexist thread running through everything ensures that they maintain that place. I don’t believe that Sanders has women’s well-being at the top of his list. Sure, he’s got some appealing ideals, but the emotional power for women and girls of having a women president would on it’s own make a difference.

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