Watching all the news coverage of the New Hampshire primaries has been driving me crazy over the past week. First of all, I'm pretty sure I can't sustain this level of coverage for the next ten months. I realize once the nominees are selected, it will quiet down for a little while--but not that much, since then there will be that pesky general election to deal with.
Anyway, what's been particularly bothering me recently is all the coverage of Hillary Clinton and the heavy emphasis on the fact that she's a woman. People say she's too serious, she needs to soften up, those tears on Monday were just an attempt to feminize herself, it's good she's started dressing in bright colours, etc.
Okay. First of all, it bothers me that the fact that she's a woman is being harped on so incredibly much, but I can understand it, since every candidate has that--Obama with being black, Romney with being Mormon, etc. Anything that makes you stand out gets discussed. Fine.
But what's pissing me off is the intense discussion of why Hillary wasn't winning the women's vote. On Monday night, CNN had a reporter talking about how young women today don't remember a time before the women's movement, so they don't understand the urgency of electing a woman to office. The reporter went on and on about how a lot of people just don't believe that a woman can be president--and some of those people are women.
Here's the issue. I like Hillary fine. I like Obama a little better. But for me, it isn't a question of the gender of either candidate. Whether the candidate is a man or a woman isn't a voting issue for me. I guess I would say that if there were two candidates who were literally identical in every way except that one is a man and the other is a woman, I would use gender as the deciding factor and vote for the woman. But given that no such scenario exists in real life, I don't care about the gender of the candidates, I care about their stances and their backgrounds and everything else that people normally look at when evaluating presidential candidates.
I don't think I'll be voting for Hillary in the primary, and it's not because I'm a woman who doesn't believe women would make a good president. It's because there are other candidates whose politics I prefer.
My question is, is it just me? Am I just so young and short-sighted that I don't remember what it was like for women not to be considered equals, and therefore I don't place enough importance on the gender of the candidate? After all, my mother says that she likes John Edwards' stances best, but she refuses to vote for a white man. Am I missing the historical understanding that would make me believe that it's important for a woman to vote for a woman on that basis alone? Would you vote for Hillary, or any woman, just because she's a woman?
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