Hillary Clinton does not represent real women

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Elections fever is gearing up. We know this.

Both major parties have insane amounts of presidential hopefuls contending for the coveted Democratic and Republican tickets. We know this too.

We also know that two supposedly unlikely candidates — a black man and a white woman — are the front-runners in the Democratic party primaries.

What we don’t know is what role these physical traits, namely color and gender, and the latter’s more subjective counterpart, sexuality, should play in the upcoming election. Is Obama more qualified to fight for the civil liberties of traditionally underrepresented minorities because he may be of similar heritage as some of them? Is Huckabee more qualified to represent the southern states because of his down-home, Arkansas upbringing?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I’m not sure of the best way to figure them out. What I do know is that character traits that are seemingly independent of political platforms — namely race and gender — shouldn’t be exploited for political gains.

Hillary is a woman (we’re told). That’s great. I’m a woman-in-training, and as such, I think it’s pretty sweet that a traditionally subjugated, underrepresented group is now a major player in the public sector. Air five, ladies.

But beyond that, Hillary is a candidate just like any other. Hillary is Barack is John is Mike is Mitt. Where these candidates differ importantly is in their beliefs — not in their gender, not in their sexuality, and not in their color. We shouldn’t favor a candidate based primarily on a superficial trait.

And in that vein, I think it’s unjust for Hillary to simultaneously exploit her gender — and those who share it.

Mrs. Clinton is infamous for her darling pantsuits (which look strangely similar to the ones sported by Republican hopeful John McCain). At times, it seems that she also lowers her voice to something of a throaty growl, particularly when surrounded by her male counterparts. She even ditched a photo shoot for the cover of Vogue, likely fearing its overly feminine label. I, personally, would never want to anger Vogue editor Anna Wintour in such a way, who responded to being stood up by calling out our dearest Hillsie, as reported by; “The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying,” she said. “How has our country come to this?”

Now, Anna, that’s not fair. Neither women nor men should don such heinous pantsuits.

But, seemingly at her convenience, Hillary turns the tables on the female American public. During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, when 64-year-old Maryann Pernold asked Hillary how she stays put together and hits the campaign trail every day, Hillary, surrounded by women, cried. Yes, Captain Pantsuit cried, after faintly explaining that she is up “against some pretty difficult odds.” Sure, she was tired, overworked, and daunted by the fact that more people follow Perez Hilton than the nightly news (I am only slightly incriminating myself in this statement). I understand that. But Hillary crying around a table of skeptical female voters challenges that which she is theoretically so gung-ho about: establishing the woman as a legitimate political player.

It should not take tears to earn the American woman’s vote. It should not be a breakdown of emotion that unites women everywhere. Why does any presidential candidate have to remain stoic or uncollected to get our attention?

They don’t. Hillary must stop alternating between brutish and severe (“masculine”), and mawkish and soft (“feminine”) as a means of earning her ticket to Washington. Femininity and sexuality are not equivalent to speech mannerisms, for example. You can’t decide to be more or less feminine one day — depending on the people surrounding you at a campaign table — in the same way that you can speak with more or less of a southern accent depending on the state you’re visiting, Hillsie.

I really think we’re past this. A female president, a black president, a gay president — we’re there. This election has to do more for our country than give us a reason to pat ourselves on the back and say “Hey, look, I’m less judgmental than before!” Reducing Hillary Clinton’s identity to her gender — whether she or we are guilty — reduces every female voter, too.