I am not an American citizen, and therefore, am perhaps under-qualified to be writing about American politics. American politics is mind-boggling, confusing, completely unclear, and a little mystifying. A reality TV show star is the front-runner of America’s conservative party. Political candidates battle it out in bloodthirsty debates on live television. The same political candidates fly across the country, hold big rallies, stand up at a podium and go on long spiels about how they can make America great again. This is also implying that America was once great, but that is perhaps an argument for another time.
However baffling U.S. politics may be, for me, there is one trend that seems to stand out from the rest: young Democrat women are not voting for the one female candidate. Hillary Clinton does not have the female vote or female voter support. An analysis of the Iowa Democratic caucus result showed Clinton only accumulated 14 percent of voters aged between 17 and 29.
What seems to be more confusing, is that they seem to be directing their support to the other Democratic candidate, who is indeed the polar opposite of a young woman. Bernie Sanders won 84 percent of voters in the same age bracket. Of these statistics, only 28 percent of young women supported Clinton, while Sanders attracted 61 percent.
What happened to women supporting women? Apparently, the NGO Women for Women needs to rethink its strategy if young women are not even supporting the one woman running for one of the most powerful leadership positions in the world.
As I scroll through my Facebook news feed, I see post after post hailing Bernie Sanders for his left-wing position in the Democrat Party, his views on a socialist economy and his push for racial equality. His views are incredible, enthusiastic, and awe-inspiring. However, in some cases, where my female peers were voicing their support for Bernie Sanders, they wrote that Bernie Sanders should be President of the United States because he is an advocate of women’s rights. Sanders may very well be a supporter of women’s rights – most people in this age are, and any presidential candidate that is not for women’s rights does not deserve the position of power. But, Bernie Sanders is not a woman.
Millennials, who happen to be my peers, classmates, and friends, seem to forget that Hillary Clinton stands as a presidential candidate that is a woman, and therefore, is going to fight for women harder than any candidate could. Sure, Bernie Sanders can advocate for women’s rights, for abortion rights, for equal pay, for gender equality. However, Sanders perhaps cannot relate to this issues as a female could. Hillary Clinton can relate to any woman that has become something because of her husband. As a woman, Hillary Clinton understands what it means to raise a family and have a job at the same time – as a woman. Women relate to women. More than all of this, as President, Clinton will act as a model for women, of all age, everywhere. Girls in kindergartens around the world will start saying that when they grow up, they want to be world leaders.
Perhaps, we as millennials, who have grown up in a world that seems to be fighting the final stages of inequality, have forgotten that there is still a fight to be fought. I went to an all-girls high school, where I read Mary Wollstonecraft, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, and Virginia Woolf. The pain and suffering that these women wrote about, and the sexism they experienced, seemed so far away for me – I was living in an environment where I was told I could reach as high and far as I wanted. I was the millennial that grew up with a CEO for a mother, a sister that played with legos, and a grandmother that refuses to cook. I grew up surrounded by girls that said that wanted to go to law school, medical school, wanted to be in politics, wanted to be great. I was the millennial who thought that there was no magical, invisible gap between me and another 18-year-old millennial male.
However, there was a moment last year where I realized that maybe not everyone thought as I did. In Global Perspectives on Society, a male student said that men were better suited towards careers in politics and business. Maybe, that is because one rarely sees a woman at the top levels of these careers. Maybe, if Hillary Clinton was President, twenty years down the line, a boy would sit in the same class, and say that women are equally as suited as men towards careers in politics and business.
For NYU Shanghai sophomore, Lizzy Leclaire, she sees Clinton as more than her gender. “Even though I think most young people, including myself, would like to see America have a female president, Clinton is much more than her gender, and I don’t think her policies align with much of American liberal youth.” While America’s youth may be looking for more radical change, Hillary may not advocate for the same radical socialism, I believe that she would bring about radical change, for every person. As in every society, fights must still be held for the minorities, but we forget one crucial detail. There are women in every minority: Black women, Asian women, Muslim women, immigrant women, Hispanic women. Fighting for women means we’re fighting for the minorities too. As noticed in Nicole Chan’s recent photography project, #CELEBRATEWOMEN, NYU is a community built up of women and the minorities they represent.
In Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism, Professor Almaz Zelleke asked a question that stumped the entirety of the class: who builds a society? Women. “Modern economics undervalues the work of women,” Professor Zelleke stated. And perhaps, we are undervaluing the work and power that women have. If we’re looking to change the American economy radically, advocate for equal pay, bring women into the workforce, then why don’t we support someone who acts as a figure for that change?
NYU Gallatin Junior Natalie Soloperto commented on the way in which Hillary’s campaign seems to be the best choice, despite the fact that she doesn’t advocate for radical change. “I guess I see Hillary as the best of the worst, and the added bonus of that glass ceiling shattering is enticing, I must admit,” Soloperto stated. “[America’s youth] are kids primarily, and you have to remember that they’ve really only been able to participate in one election at the least, or three at the most.” They’re drawn into and attracted to the radical change that Sanders brings to the candidate table, but forget the radical change (the shattering of the glass ceiling) that Clinton could bring.
I am a woman for women. I am all for the radical change, but maybe, a female President could lead to a radical change that we, the Millennials, the civic generation, have not considered. She could show that anyone can be President and that women can do anything.
This article was written by Isabella Farr. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.