Why We Aren’t As Progressive As We Think We Are

Hillary clinton

Article by Meggie Pretorius
When Barack Obama beat Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primary (much to my chagrin) before going on to win his first Presidential election, someone said something that has really stuck with me ever since. A very wise family member said, "Well, I guess the country was more prepared for a black man to lead than a woman." When I first heard it, I actually thought it was pretty inflammatory. Why did he have to label people like that? The optimist (and innocent) in me said "We are all people! I guess people just preferred Obama and his policies." Now, over four years later, I am inclined to agree with that statement.

Think back to when Hilary was running for POTUS. You know you heard people call her the c-word, the b-word, and any number of other derogatory, sexist names. But where exactly did the hatred come from? The same things that she was ridiculed for back then are what are making her so popular now. She is no-nonsense and down to business, and she isn’t afraid to be disliked- the nature of her job allows her to please both sides frequently. She does a fantastic job as Secretary of State, but since 2008, we have been able to see more of "Fun Hilary." She is able to let loose and not take herself too seriously (see her response to the Hillary Clinton meme, or the pictures of her getting down- beer in hand, no less- in Colombia) while still getting the job done. Her popularity is peaking right now, not only because her job is fairly bipartisan, but also because she has done it well. There are rumors of her running for President in 2016, but as of now, the only information we have is that after losing the Democratic ticket prior to the 2008 election, she said she would not try again. So, what is next for Hillary? We can assume if Obama wins the election (and he did), she will keep her job as Secretary of State, as she has escaped major criticism from both sides during the last four years.

So, looking at how well-liked she is now, where did all the hate come from back then? Plenty of people claimed it was because she forgave Bill, but let’s be serious; nobody REALLY cared about that, and if they did, they shouldn’t have, because that has nothing to do with her capability to do the job. Others claimed it was because she was “a bitch.” Why, exactly, did people think she was a bitch? Because she had the gall to run for a job that only men had previously filled? Because she didn’t smile, flirt, and wear designer clothes like Sarah Palin? Because she was smart, successful, and determined? Or was it because, basically, she was a woman?

The answer is yes, to all of those questions. Hillary Clinton has shown us a lot of about where our culture is in regards to women (or more accurately, where it isn’t). Back in 2008, an anti-Hilary group popped up that was called “Citizens United Not Timid,” which doesn’t even make sense (but we all know what was meant). There was also a 44,000 member Facebook group called “Hillary Clinton: Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich.” She has also spoken of constant hecklers that would yell things such as “Iron my shirts!” (If nothing else, at least we can now know that misogynistic cretins are not creative or intelligent in the least). Then we have the ever-present Rush Limbaugh wondering if America was ready “to watch a woman age in the White House”- like that is some sort of train wreck that will make your eyes melt and force you to crawl into the corner and curl up in the fetal position. Even recently, in August, a moderator in Kyrgyzstan asked her “which designs she preferred.” She responded by asking if the moderator would ask a man that question (what a BITCH for speaking the truth!) There are countless other examples that all point to the same thing: America likes their women to be independent, yes, but definitely not more powerful than a man.

To be fair, I’m sure there are a lot of examples about racism leveled towards Obama during the primary and since, too. But think about it: Imagine the reaction if Limbaugh said “I don’t know if America is really to see a black man age in the White House.” There would be a massive backlash about him bringing up color and he would be labeled racist by numerous people. But he makes an equally offensive statement about a woman and people scarcely notice. We could debate whether there is a Republican “war on women” all day, but the truth of the matter is this; it is NOT a level playing field whether you are Republican, Democrat, or third party. As long as there are men telling women what to do with their bodies, or telling them to stop running for President and make a sandwich (or iron a shirt), or calling them derogatory names with the clear purpose of making them feel inferior, that means we have not leveled the playing field. That, my friends, is why women still don’t make as much as a man for the same job. Being post-feminist shouldn’t be about wrapping women in these neat, tidy boxes, labeling them "businesswoman" or "homemaker, and then showing the world “Look, we aren’t sexist!” It should be about accepting a women based on her merit, not because of her clothes, hair, reaction to an affair, or overall cheerfulness. It should be about allowing women to make their own decisions about what happens to their body. And finally, it should be about allowing them the opportunity to have the same jobs men do, at the same pay, and with the same qualifications. I mean, it should be exceedingly easy for companies to find capable women; apparently, there are binders full of them out there. All kidding aside, I hope the world evolves, because if I ever have a daughter, I don't want her living in the society I do now. "Honey, you can be whatever you want to be! Unless it's a powerful position usually held by a man- in that case, you can try for it, but be prepared to be verbally assaulted and made to feel like you are less of a person because you lack a Y chromosome."

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