During the creation of my blog, I have always emphasised that I will discuss controversial topics and opinions.Consequently, with the timing of the US Presidential election closing in, this would be a great opportunity to exploit that.
As you may or may not know, Theresa May is the 2nd female prime minister in the UK and there are also high hopes that across the ocean Hilary Clinton will join this surge of female empowerment in becoming possibly the first female president of the US.
One one hand, you could argue that this is a great opportunity for women. Hilary Clinton is leading the way and highlighting how much women have progressed. To think women didn’t have the right to vote and now we are facing the prospects of having our first female president is crazy.
However, this argument feels like the sugar coated truth. Many of us wish that Hillary Clinton would be leading the path for women and changing attitudes but frankly she’s not. Looking at the circumstances, a lot of the arguments in favour of her presidency are so we can avoid a Trump-ency. I love Michelle Obama to bits but her speech in the convention (as amazing as it was) has subtle references to Donald Trump. With those references she basically highlights that we are more safe with Clinton as POTUS. However, this argument simply shows the comparative advantage of voting for Clinton – not getting Trump. Where do we learn about the actual argument FOR CLINTON?
Throughout this campaign – as much as I hate Trump I know what his policies are or what they generally consist of. On the other hand, the arguments for Clinton generally seen to be summarised as “shes better than Trump and she’s female”. This is a very dangerous game because as proven in the EU referendum, it could have an adverse effect. The Leave campaign had a clear message. They used propaganda to constantly relay messages about immigration and the NHS. However, the Remain campaign didn’t have such a strong argument since they constantly targeted the flaws of the leave campaign and reiterated how we were safer to stay. This makes a broad debate become binary.
Had there been a Clinton vs Sanders presidency contest, I believe things would be very different. I don’t want to vote for a woman because she is a woman. I want to vote for her because of the policies she intends to implement. However in America, I believe merit isn’t the reason why you win elections – its personality. Its all about people politics.
As much as I hate to admit it – its like raising the argument that one reason why Obama received a high turnout of votes was simply because he is black. It is definitely frustrating how oppressed groups in society will always get this ‘you only got this because you are… ‘ ticket.Therefore, in decades to come, when people ask why Obama became president, or why Clinton could be president we can’t avoid referring back to this blanket statement of ‘its because he’s black’ ‘its because she is female’.
Although the conservative party had a leadership contest for Theresa May’s premiership it was only the conservatives who voted. So as a country we can’t say we voted for Theresa May. Neither can she say that she won the confidence of the people whereas Margaret thatcher can. This is another example of how collectively, the country hasn’t voted for a female prime minister and how circumstance has affected the reasons for her premiership.
“But what if we do have two powerful female leaders? It doesn’t matter how they get there, what matters is what they do.”
Again this is a reasonable argument, however, I don’t see either women shouting out #TeamFeminist any time soon. If they haven’t done much for women before their roles, what stops them from not doing anything when they get them?
As a first lady, Michelle Obama had female empowerment written all over her. If there is anything that I will remember about her is that she didn’t let her husbands position overshadow her. In fact she at times overshadowed him because she made a name for herself by remaining authentic to her role. You knew she had a drive for gender equality and female rights. She went beyond her way to ensure that she fought for that.Consequently, after she leaves the white house she won’t be remembered simply because she is the first black FLOTUS!
Having said that there is a possibility that these two women may also do the same thing. They may have/ get voted for because they are women but when they finish their job they get remembered for their merit and the work they’ve done. I’m hoping this is the case however I’m not so optimistic.
Featured Image Source: Telegraph