When Jessica Valenti Golis tells us that she is:
unequivocally thrilled about voting for a woman. That doesn’t mean any woman will do ((Tulsi) Gabbard, I’m looking at you), but it does mean gender matters to me. It matters to a lot of us — and it should,
I have to wonder what she’d have done had Carly Fiorina¹ won the Republican presidential nomination, and Bernie Sanders won for the Democrats.
OK, that’s a lie: I don’t wonder about that at all! As I noted previously, feminist professor Suzanna Danuta Walters supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries even though she was much closer to Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) politically, solely because Mrs Clinton had a vagina, but she would not have supported Mrs Fiorina.
Mrs Golis wrote that it was wonderful that there are four well-known women running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination: Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI 2nd District), but managing to omit a couple of others like Senator Amy Klobuchar Bessler (D-MN) and Marianne Williamson.
How could feminists, who claim to want equality between the sexes, admit to wanting to vote for a woman?
The short answer is: Because political representation is important. Despite historic gains in the midterms, women still hold less than 25 percent of seats in Congress and less than 30 percent of those in statewide elective executive offices and state legislatures are women. Those aren’t just numbers — as the government decides if women will be able to access abortion without jumping through hoops, or what kind of support single moms will get, less than a third of the people at the table will be women.
Still, as was the case in 2016, we will watch as those who want the first woman U.S. president get labeled as “vagina voters” or political neophytes. The assumption, once again, will be that caring about the gender of the candidate means that it’s your only concern — as if it’s not possible to weigh gender the same way you do any other factor when you vote.
I like her logic: if it is perfectly reasonable to Mrs Golis “to weigh gender the same way you do any other factor when you vote,” has she not admitted that voters who consider the sex of the candidate as a reasonable point of discrimination and choose to vote for the male rather than the female candidate is logic which cannot be criticized? Would she agree that heterosexual Democratic voters who choose to weigh sexuality in the same way as other factors, and decide to vote against Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN) because he is homosexual is perfectly reasonable?
And, of course, there’s the big one, race. She wrote:
We know Trump won thanks to racist resentment and sexist backlash, yet almost no one would say Trump was elected because he was a white man.
Well, some certainly have, and Mrs Clinton herself told us that President Trump was elected due to sexism, making the amusingly sexist argument that too many women listened to their husbands and boyfriends.
More, it’s clear that Barack Hussein Obama won two presidential campaigns specifically because he is (half) black: black voter turnout spiked in the 2008 and 2012 elections, and then fell back to 2004 levels in 2016. Would Mrs Golis say that it was illegitimate for voters ‘to weigh race the same way you do any other factor when you vote’?
The answer is obvious: she would say that it was totally illegitimate to vote against a candidate because he was black — or Hispanic, or really anything other than white — but perfectly acceptable to vote for a candidate because he was black. Yet the logic she expressed in her column in Medium certainly implies that considering sex and race and sexuality are perfectly reasonable.
Mrs Golis made the cockamamie argument:
To vote as a woman is to always be suspect — even if you’re voting for a man. As Jessica Williams noted in a short but brilliant 2016 Daily Show segment, while women who supported Hillary Clinton were being mocked as only caring about gender, women who voted for Bernie Sanders were called naive and boy-crazy. Any vote we cast, any choice we make, is automatically called into question.
I’m not sure that I know how to “mock” the vote of any woman, or any individual voter, if he² doesn’t tell me for whom he voted. I can only mock the votes of those people who do inform me of how they cast their ballots. But, given Mrs Golis’ politics, I am pretty sure that I would mock how she cast her ballot, regardless of for whom it was.
¹ – Full disclosure: I supported, and twice donated to, Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign.
² – The editor of The First Street Journal does not use the silly formulation “he or she.” In English, properly understood, the masculine subsumes the feminine. That means that, in cases in which the sex of the person to whom a pronoun refers is unknown, the masculine is properly used, and does not indicate that that person is male, nor is it biased in favor of such an assumption. The feminine pronouns, on the other hand, do specify that the person to whom they refer is female, and not male.
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