Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem recently made statements about the presidential race that made me want to shake them until their teeth rattled.
They said what many women over 50 think, because many of us have had our a**es kicked to the curb by misogynistic employers.
Ms. Albright and Ms. Steinem were right, but they said it wrong. Younger women want the right to vote for whoever lights the room up brighter, whether it is a she or a he. They don’t want to pay someone back, especially someone who didn’t smack her misogynistic husband down.
At least this is how it was explained to me by my 22-year-old daughter. She said, “I don’t want to vote for someone who backed her husband’s policies when he was President, because she was supposed to.”
I get that. But I also get that Ms. Clinton supported him because he was her husband and he was President. Right or wrong, I get that. I don’t out my husband for doing something stupid in front of his boss or the people he manages. I don’t, because he could lose his job, and it’s disrespectful. As a spouse I want to cheer my mate on, not neuter him in public.
Responding to my daughter I said, “You don’t know what it was like back then, the number of hoops women had to jump through to get a seat at the table. Hilary has worked her a** off to be respected; she’s worked harder than any man that’s running. She was treated like sh*t back then. You’re asking me to brand her with her husband’s mistakes. I won’t do that. If I did, I’d be branding myself.”
My uber-smart daughter, who should have been on the debate team, cornered me. “So you’re cherry picking what you think she should be judged on. You’re saying that she ought to be President because she was strong and stood by her husband and put up with all the crap that he did, but I shouldn’t hold it against her that she didn’t take a stand against his position on the three strikes bill.”
Ouch. That was exactly what I was saying. That’s exactly what Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem have been pushing for; it’s why there’s an age gap in the female support for Hilary.
Looking at my daughter I realized that women have a big problem in this election. We’ve gotten ourselves backed in the same corner my daughter put me in, and we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, dammit.
First Lady Hilary Clinton was treated unfairly by our misogynistic country when her husband was President. She behaved like a First Lady. Hilary didn’t boot her husband out, though he deserved perhaps that and more, and she kept her opinions to herself—or at least unpublicized—because she’s thoughtful and respectful of the presidency.
It can be argued that if First Lady Hilary Clinton had divorced her husband at the height of the scandal, President Bill Clinton would have been removed from office.
It can also be argued that if the First Lady were to stand at a podium and state her opposition to the sitting President’s proposals it would be destabilizing to our form of government.
What Hilary Clinton did as First Lady was the right thing, but unfortunately the general public doesn’t see it that way. Instead of seeing her as strong and courageous, we label her as, “standing by her man,” a deeply disturbing misogynistic statement, which shows what’s wrong with judging Hilary on anything that has to do with her marriage.
Until we live in a world where a woman isn’t fired because her husband has been let go and a First Lady isn’t judged as weak for understanding what would be harmful to our country, until each person is seen as a person and not described by their genitalia, until then no one should say that this country treats everyone fairly.
Hilary Clinton is getting a raw deal, and that’s bullsh*t.
Author: Deb Lecos
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr