Hillary Clinton supporters are routinely told it doesn’t matter that she is a woman. But it matters to us. It matters a lot.
Here is a thing I have been told over and over: It doesn’t matter if Hillary is a woman.
I am told overtly, by people who just don’t care and by people who are seeking to excuse some bit of acrimony they have hurled at her. And I am told implicitly, by media who sniff with indifference at the fact that she is the first woman to have won many of the primary contests she’s won.
I am told by people who are utterly apathetic about breaking a 220+ year lockout of women from the US presidency, and people who are ostensibly interested in gender equality, but find Hillary insufficiently progressive to warrant their support, on any level.
I am told by people who ignore the millions of words I have now written about the various reasons I support her, in spite of being politically to her left, in order to accuse me of supporting her just because we are both women.
It doesn’t matter.
Oh but it does.
It matters that she is a woman, because she is subjected to coded and naked misogyny, all day every day. And it matters that she is a woman, because the people who support her—especially her female supporters—are subjected to coded and naked misogyny each time we express our support for her.
It matters because we see what is happening because she’s a woman, and because we are keenly aware that she is both targeted and limited in ways that no man ever would be.
And it matters because, as we watch this happening, we recall the times when we were targeted using many of the same dogwhistles, slurs, and double standards. We recall the times when we were left to bear those demeanments alone.
I write, with frequency and verbosity, about my support for Hillary Clinton because I don’t want to see a woman left to bear the weight of these pervasive attacks alone. There are others who write about their support for her for the same reason. And then we are attacked—and our readers, grateful that we have not left her alone, are moved to publicly signal their support, so we are not left alone, either.
It is a cascading movement of women and our allies who are willing to speak up so that there is not one voice, one woman going it alone—but a multitude who lift their voices in support of our candidate, and in support of one another, reverberating and cacophonous.
These are people to whom Hillary’s womanhood matters.
And it matters to the people who don’t feel safe enough to speak aloud their private thoughts—who are watching, quietly. Seething, silently. Grieving, privately.
The people whose only statement will be made in a voting booth, when they cast their vote for a candidate who they have seen mistreated, by virtue of her womanhood. A quiet protest, which becomes part of the roar that conveys: It matters to us.
(Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America)