Author: Annie Trussler | Op-Ed Editor
Clinton ignores the crucial component of intersectionality within feminism
Before I delve into the world of politics, I want to establish one simple concept: Hillary Clinton is a woman, but that does not make her a feminist. There are women in the world, far too many to name, that are profoundly misogynistic, oppressive, and ignorant. We cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by gender, because it is not gender that makes someone morally sound, but rather their morals and beliefs. I thought it best to make that idea perfectly clear before I dissect American politics and the undeniably insidious people within its structure.
The upcoming American election has been beyond sensationalized by media networks, but for the first time, the speculations and outrages are almost completely warranted. Amongst the almost caricatured candidates, we find the mind-numbingly xenophobic, cartoonish tycoon, Donald Trump, who has already swept the globe with comments fuelled with hate and prejudice, the nearly prophetic, “too-good-to-be-true” Bernie Sanders and, of course, the self-proclaimed “feminist” visionary, the long-suffering Hillary Clinton, who has already been awarded the title of “political progressive” because of her gender alone. It is those that applaud Clinton’s supposedly reformist attitude that are caught in the vacuum of what is known to be “White Feminism.” White feminism is most easily defined as the brand of feminism that fights for movements such as “Free the Nipple,” defends armpit hair rights, and other surface-level feminist platforms, whilst choosing to ignore feminist issues founded in intersectionality. Intersectionality, for all intents and purposes, will be defined in terms of feminist applications, as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity.”
Hillary Clinton epitomizes this field of thought; as a white feminist (which, might I clarify, has nothing to do with race), Clinton uses her platform to lazily collect the support of other white feminists, by claiming to support prevalent feminist issues. What goes unbeknownst to the public is Clinton’s true, narrow, dogmatic perspective on these issues. For example, pertaining to issues of abortion and female body rights, her supposed “support” of these freedoms does not extend to all women. She believes, to quote, that “abortion’s should be rare,” whilst hiding behind the guise of inclusivity. Perhaps more important is the growing issue of ignored intersectionality.
With the definition of intersectionality in mind, the truth behind Clinton’s supposed feminist claims become significantly more apparent. Where Clinton claims to support the liberation and independence of women in Muslim countries, she still actively supports the bombing of these very same areas, these very same people, and these very same women. There is an incredible sense of Machiavellian deception in her platforms: Clinton actively uses her gender (a twist on the Damsel in Distress), and a feigned support of immediate white feminist issues, to further her political tactics, while actually achieving nothing towards the ends she claims to pursue.
A feminist does not promote violence in third world countries. A feminist does not dismiss the women who were sexually assaulted by her husband, former President of the United States Bill Clinton, deeming them “trailer trash,” or promoting smear campaigns against victims. A feminist should not use self-admitted sex offender Lena Dunham to communicate her message of supposed feminism. It is all too easy to accept the one of two women running in such a controversial political campaign as the saving grace of modern feminism, but when modern feminism is nothing but a reinterpretation of pre-existing, surface level, “White Feminism,” speculation must be involved.
Hillary Clinton is a woman, yes; does her gender differentiate her from other presidential candidates? Absolutely. Do these criteria make her a feminist? Positively not. There is a terrible danger in accepting political platforms at face value, and idealizing candidates based solely on their gender or orientation, rather than taking time to consider their intentions. Modern politics to this point have been an utter wasteland of social progression, but that is no reason to blindly throw support toward someone who only claims to value the oppressed. Now, more than ever, it is essential that politicians are scrutinized beyond the surface, for should we celebrate Clinton as the feminist she claims to be, the future holds a standstill for abortion rights, and a continuing assault against the Middle East and its people. Feminism demands intersectionality, but being a woman does not entail feminism. The difference is vital.