By now, you’ve likely heard about recent remarks made by Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem that set the internet on fire. At a recent rally for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, Madeleine Albright was introducing the Democratic candidate when she said, “we can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder and a lot of younger women think it’s done. It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support each other.” Afterwards, Clinton laughed and clapped.
Albright’s comments likely wouldn’t have gotten so much attention had Steinem not gone viral earlier that day. While on Real Time with Bill Maher, Steinem said, “when you’re young, you’re thinking ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”
Albright was the first female Secretary of State and is a long time politician and diplomat. On top of all that, she’s a well-known feminist. Steinem is also a well-known feminist with a background in journalism and political activism. It’s not hard to see why young women feel neglected and insulted by the recent remarks. These are feminist folk heroes whose remarks throw younger women under a bus.
Albright did not apologize, but she did say that her remarks were taken out of context. The “special place in hell” quote is essentially her catchphrase, one she’s been using for over 25 years. At one point it was even on Starbucks cups. So why the recent outrage?
The “context” of Albright’s remarks are that she was speaking at a rally supporting Hillary Clinton. It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton has not been polling well with young Americans, including young women. At this point in the game, it was no accident. Clinton has demonstrated time and time again a condescending attitude towards millennials and these recent remarks won’t help her campaign.
Steinem did apologize on her Facebook page. She attributed the remarks to misspeaking due to “talk-show interruptus.” She went on to explain that the statement was being “misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious about their politics.” However, Steinem’s apology rings hollow because it does not address the fact her original comments are still both blatantly sexist and further damaging the image of feminism. In the United States, feminism has become a dirty word. It carries a negative connotation and has become synonymous with “man-hater” or “female supremacy.” These remarks are not only disparaging to young women and young feminists who look up to these women, but they also make it harder for society to take feminism seriously. Feminism is about supporting the rights and equality of women. We should be supporting women’s independence and free-will instead of bullying them into voting based solely on gender.
The notion that women should vote for Hillary just because she is a woman is ridiculous. Furthermore, it’s sexist. I am a firm believer that gender should not be a defining characteristic of any campaign. We as voters should not vote for a man just because he’s a man nor should we vote for a woman just because she’s a women. These women should be promoting educated and thoughtful voting. Not a battle of the sexes. They should be helping build and support a voter populace who vote based on policy and character, not gender and popularity.
Feature photo courtesy of Marnie Joyce.
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