This year's presidential election has been heating up within the Democratic party. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both have their loyal followers, and the arguments between the two candidates' supporters have started to pit liberals against one another.
A few weeks ago, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made some disparaging remarks in order to show their support for Hillary Clinton. In an interview with Bill Maher, Steinem said,
When you're young, you're thinking, 'Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.'
Albright was quoted at a rally for Hillary Clinton, where she said,
We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it's done. It's not done.
Albright said of the broader fight for women's equality,
There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.
The comments made by these two very powerful women are not only reckless, but they also go against what they claim to stand for: women's equality. The remarks made by Steinem and Albright angered me because, as a staunch believer in women's equality and a proud feminist, I also happen to be a supporter of Bernie Sanders. Their comments made me feel like I was somehow betraying my gender by not choosing to blindly follow a woman simply because she is a woman.
After a few days of pondering their words, I decided they are the ones in the wrong. They have crossed a line. They are the ones whose words have betrayed women.
Feminism is not as simple as sheepishly following women for the sake of calling yourself a supporter of women. It is so much more:
1. Feminism is first and foremost about equality.
Women are powerful, capable and smart beings. As humans, we are equal to every other human on this planet. We are strong in our womanhood, and when we stand together, we ladies are unstoppable.
2. Feminism is about supporting other women's choices.
This means accepting and supporting the rights of all women to think what they want to think, to believe in what and who they want and to know they have the right, as women, to choose what is right for them.
3. Abortion, adoption or motherhood? The choice between these three options is a woman's choice.
It is hers alone, period. As a feminist, you don't have to agree, but you have to support your sister.
4. Planned C-section, natural birth or epidural? Breast-feeding or bottle-feeding? These are also choices between a woman and her partner.
There are none of anyone else's business. Once again, you absolutely do not have to agree, but you must support these choices.
5. We can argue politics with each other all we want, but we must never attack one another for our political beliefs.
A woman is never stupid for believing in a political figure. You may think she is making a poor choice, but it is still her choice.
Being a woman is powerful. We have a divine sisterhood that is embedded in our gender. We must stand together in our awesomeness, support each other's choices and forgive each other when we stumble.
I sincerely believe that Gloria Steinem is one of the most influential female powerhouses of our time. Her life has been devoted to racial, sexual and gender equality. I know she doesn't believe women are supporting Sanders for the sake of scoring some dick.
Since her comments suggested the contrary, she has since issued an apology that I, as a feminist, accept with open arms. She is my sister, and I believe in her power and belief in true gender equality.
Power to the ladies who support one another in all their choices. That is what makes us strong.