When good ol’ Hillary Clinton announced she would be once again running for president, I felt the roar of excited feminists in the United States shake the country—apparently, Hillary is the savior of feminism, coming to the rescue of women everywhere.
But is she?
Hillary approaches feminism as a victim, a male-bullied soul carrying internalized sexism and projecting it upon her own gender at times. With a combination of her accepting this victimized mindset as well as the power of patriarchal politics, she has not been able to carry out legislation that has made sufficient strides for her political career. For example, Hillary was in charge of the Health Security Act under her husband’s administration—but her mission as head of the Task Force completely failed. Not only was she criticized by other politicians, but by pharmaceutical industries as well. Besides this great mishap, she also has the Whitewater Scandal (making her the first and only First Lady to be tried by a federal grand jury) as well as the failure to prioritize the safety of American consulate personnel in the 2012 Benghazi attacks to list on her resume.
When I think about great leaders of nations, I support their greatness with their ability to create and execute legislation to improve conditions in their region of expertise. But when it comes to Hillary, I can think of no great strides in which she has improved life for the American population. Although she has been directly involved in politics for quite some time (one of the reasons why many are proponents of her campaign), I can’t say she’s done anything groundbreaking to me. In the realm of presidential candidates, we often hear the word ‘experience’ thrown around an awful lot. We know Hillary has been in the cahoots with politics since college—but what good is experience if one cannot execute legislation efficiently?
Politics aside, let’s go back to feminism. Both Hillary and I have claimed ourselves as feminists our entire life, but for many reasons, our viewpoints don’t seem to match—at all. Although it is ridiculous to expect all feminists to agree on every issue, the problem with Hillary’s one-dimensional feminism is that her high status in politics makes it easy for her to become the face of feminism. The problem with this is that most of the population will not be able to relate or benefit from her idea of feminism. For one, Hillary represents older waves of thinking about gender equality that does not include intersectionality or postcolonialism. These two relatively recent modes of thought are incredibly vital in the discourse about feminism. Both of these topics add to the dimensions of feminism, creating a more relevant discourse around gender equality. While intersectionality looks at the way oppression and discrimination plays out through one’s multiple identities, postcolonialism furthers this idea by describing how oppression and discrimination have developed because of the history of European and American colonization and imperialism. Furthermore, postcolonialism examines the psychological, political, social, and economic crises that have influenced the identities of those who were previously colonized. Because we are an extraordinarily diverse country, we need to start building policy and politics around the struggles of women of color and those who do not identify with the gender binaries—not just white males and white females. Understanding intersectionality and postcolonialism shows us how misrepresentation in politics has led to worse situations for those in the margins. In order to make our country better, we need to avoid such mishaps in the future.
And why don’t I think Hillary will be able to properly assess these problems? Well, simply because she hasn’t in her entire political career. One only needs to skim through Hillary’s foreign policy to see that she does not hold the same weight of importance for people of color as she does for white women in the United States. Not only does support military action and intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya (which includes drone attacks on innocent civilians) but as Secretary of State, she advocated for the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, allowing the United States to have a bigger role in other countries’ diplomatic affairs. This implies that she really does believe that no other country knows how to take care of itself without the help of the United States, clearly an example of American imperialism—something that has been extraordinarily destructive to the rest of the world. If she doesn’t believe other countries (especially those with mostly people of color) can take care of themselves, what does this say about how she will represent people of color in the United States?
Moreover, this pro-Hillary/anti-Hillary debate has already created giant rifts in the feminist community. To be a woman and not support Hillary is a sin for many feminists I’ve encountered. To be clear, I don’t dislike Hillary for her gender, her age, her body, her husband, or her wealth. As a feminist, I 100% believe Hillary should not be judged based on any of these categories, and I do believe she is capable of doing the job. Whether or not I think she will do the best job is still the question though. All I can hope for is a president who will lead this nation to a brighter future.