Treating Women Like Single-Issue Voters Is a Disservice

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Last month, when I read that Cosmopolitan was going to use their platform to get women more engaged in this election, I was hopeful that maybe, just maybe, this women's magazine would take a different approach than other media outlets and recognize that women aren't all of one mind. We're not single issue voters or a special interest group. We're the majority of voters, and care about all the issues.  

After all, Americans, especially young Americans, have struggled to recover from the recession, we have a humanitarian crisis at our borders, our health care system is broken, our debt continues to grow at a breakneck pace, and the world seems to be in chaos everywhere you look. But when I began reading more about how Cosmo was going to inform their readers about politics, I was disappointed to see none of these issues made the list. Not one.

Ignoring the pressing issues facing our elected leaders does a disservice to our political process and is insulting to readers. We don't need Cosmo to do the same thing the Democrat political operatives do and stereotype women as a voting bloc that doesn't care about the economy, national debt, immigration, or foreign policy. I was also disappointed when Cosmo said they won’t endorse any candidate who doesn't meet their litmus test on abortion. Again, they are perpetuating the stereotype that women only care about a narrow set of "women's issues" and have only one opinion on them. They are also dismissing out of hand some inspirational women candidates.

Consider the example of Martha McSally, the Republican nominee for Congress in Arizona's 2nd district. She is a retired Air Force colonel and the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat. She’s a trailblazer, a pioneering leader. But because she's pro-life, Cosmo doesn't think McSally’s candidacy is worth their readers' time or consideration. Especially at a moment when America needs strong leaders on foreign policy, is Cosmo really helping their readers by ignoring a female candidate altogether, despite her history-making accomplishments?

In Virginia, Republican Barbara Comstock is running for a Congress. She's a lawyer, former congressional aide, former Justice Department official, small businesswoman, and delegate in the state legislature. She’s also a dedicated wife and mother. She's raised a family and had a remarkable career. Yet, Democrats and the liberal media attack her for not looking out for "women’s" interests—and her opponent has tried to demean her by saying she’s never had a "real job." People are free to disagree with candidates on the issues, but I find it hard to believe that this accomplished female professional doesn’t care about women’s role in society. Still, Cosmo endorsed her male opponent.

Marilinda Garcia of New Hampshire

There are a number of other highly-qualified, exciting female Republican candidates running for Congress this year. Marilinda Garcia in New Hampshire and Elise Stefanik in New York are offering voters the chance to send someone with a Millennial's perspective to Congress. With young Americans facing the prospect of paying off the debt of older generations, Congress could certainly benefit from their voices. In Iowa, Joni Ernst is running for Senate. A mother, farmer, and a soldier who served in Iraq, she would be the first female combat veteran in the Senate. It would be a milestone for the country and for women.

Despite what we've seen this election cycle from biased media outlets, I still have faith our media can do better in representing the diverse views and backgrounds of women in America. There are important debates happening in the political arena about where we are going as a country, but we can't have honest and thoughtful debates as long as women are treated as a special interest group and single-issue voters—in other words, anything less than the majority that we are.

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