I’m Ready for Hillary

hillary-clinton-2016I launched this blog last week and announced my intention of spotlighting women’s work. Neither word has a stable definition. I have spent my entire life trying to figure out what my definition of “woman” means. I look to women I know on a personal level, as well as well-known public figures and I realize that gender is a performance and we all interpret our gender roles differently. Some of the strongest women I know are stay-at-home mothers. I admire them just as much as I admire women who work in predominantly “masculine” fields. Take politics for instance.

When I was in elementary school, I used to tell people that I was going either going to be a quarterback for the 49’ers or president of the United States when I grew up. I saw female astronauts on TV. Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Mary (my namesake) was the Mother of Jesus . . . It never even dawned on me that women couldn’t aspire to be anything they wanted to be.

I endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. I want to tie my endorsement of Hillary to the discussion of “women’s work.” In Spring of 2007, I heard Gloria Steinem give a speech about why feminism is still relevant. An audience member asked Ms. Steinem if she supported Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Steinem didn’t even hesitate with her response. She asked the audience members to think about the shoes of the women who supported Hillary Clinton. “These are working women’s shoes. Women who work as nurses, teachers, waitresses, customer service providers . . .” Steinem said that Hillary Clinton was interested in women having financial independence so that they could take care of themselves and their families. I agreed with Gloria Steinem’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and I still do.

Hillary Clinton was a role model for me in high school. Hillary had some awkward fashion moments in the 90’s. Wardrobe choices were obviously not on the top of her priority list, and neither were hairdos (because let’s be real, friends – nobody had good hair in the 90’s). Hillary Clinton took an active role as First Lady by advocating for health care reform in Congress. She spoke out at international forums advocating for women’s health care. Hillary Clinton showed people that women could maintain their own careers and support their partners’ careers at the same time. Hillary Clinton was my kind of kick ass role model.

I myself was far from being a fashionista in the 1990’s. I was a flannel wearing, wannabe hippie, Weezer-loving, high school band geek and debate nerd. My free time involved playing drums at football games and researching debate topics so that I could reign supreme on the high school debate circuit. I did my best to fit in, or at least as much as Daria did. Thanks to debate, though, my riot grrrl spirit emerged. I claimed the feminist label and started raising a fist.

The 1995-1996 high school debate topic was about US foreign relations with China. This is when my high school debate partner, Jadi, and I discovered feminism together. You can’t talk about US-China relations and not talk about China’s one-child policy. Population control debates are inherently linked to reproductive justice. Jadi and I zeroed in on this issue and started to learn about the idea about women are the owners of their own bodies lives. Hillary Clinton stood before the UN in 1992 and told the world that “women’s rights are human rights.” This idea was a revelation for me. I declared myself to be both a feminist and a hardcore Hillary fan. That loyalty has never faltered.

Jadi and I grew up in a rural community in Northern Arizona. That part of the Arizona is predominantly Evangelical Christian. Birth control is shunned, and not shockingly, so is abortion. I grew up being taught that the primary role for women to play in life is to be a wife and mother. However, the majority of families in our community had two parents working outside the home. It was uncommon for high school graduates to go on to college, let alone grad school. Democrats were, and still are, viewed as evil; questioning religious authority was/is seen as sinful.

I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008. I will vote for her in 2016. This time I will campaign for her wholeheartedly. I will phone bank, I will blog, I will door knock, and I will tweet for Hillary. My time on this Earth is limited. I would like to go out like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone and Alice Paul. I want to go out making my dream a reality. Maybe I won’t live long enough to be the president myself. But at least I can say I was along for the ride.

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Comments

  1. I can appreciate your view of Hillary as a symbol for women’s work and would love to see more smart women politicians be as successful as she has been.

    • Serena Freewomyn says:

      Couldn’t agree more. And not just at the executive level. Ultimately I side with Emma Goldman: “I don’t believe in voting, I just believe in me.” I’m an anarchist. But I have voted in every election since I was 18 because I owe it to the suffragists. But that’s a discussion in and of itself.

      Who would you like to support in 2016?

  2. Shanman2000 says:

    I like reading about how you became a feminist. I think it is great that you can trace it back to a specific person and moment. I can’t remember when exactly I began thinking of myself as a feminist.

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  1. Go Hillary! says:

    […] notch by introducing cryptograms dedicated to Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’ve loved Hillary since high school. She’s the reason I’m a feminist. Hillary told the UN Human Rights Council that […]

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