If you consider yourself a feminist, do you have to vote for Hillary Clinton? And beyond that, should you feel obligated to vote for her if you are a woman?
Few would debate the fact that having a woman in the race has colored the national conversation in many ways. Clinton’s candidacy has forced the country and its voters to confront the question of how much gender matters — if at all — in determining our highest seat of leadership.
But now the question seems to be flipped on the constituents. How much should a voter's gender matter? Can you really consider yourself a feminist if you choose to vote for Bernie Sanders? Should women and girls be on the same team here?
A generational divide has emerged among women in the U.S. surrounding this question. Long-time feminist crusaders like Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem have come out and cited Clinton's gender as a determinant factor in their support for her campaign, while younger women have firmly argued that if they decide to vote for Clinton, her gender will not be the decisive factor.
The age schism here seems to represent further affirmation of an important trend in the feminist movement. Put simply, gender matters less to young voters. Members of the millennial and Gen Z populations — men and women alike, many of whom might consider themselves feminists — are increasingly more interested in the issues a candidate represents rather than their sex.
This has been evidenced by the fact that young female voters have come out in droves for Bernie Sanders, who won the young vote 6 to 1 in both Iowa and Nevada and 5 to 1 in New Hampshire. Even when suffering a sound defeat in South Carolina, it is interesting to note that the only demographic in which Sanders beat Clinton during this race is among voters under the age of 30.
We decided to get our #HatchKids to weigh in on the question. They might not be old enough to vote just yet, but they will be soon enough. They are, after all, our future.
When asked whether or not they thought a person should vote for Hillary Clinton to consider themselves a feminist, here’s what they had to say:
Last but not least…
Clearly the answers we got followed a trend — one that seems to mirror the opinions of young people across the country.
Instead of a sharp focus on gender, we see an emphasis on equality. Young people want to look beyond the surface and qualify a candidate based on far more than the gender they happen to identify with. As one of the #HatchKids put it, “That’s what being a feminist is all about.”
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