Women wait eagerly for the day when they can have a role model- someone who has broken through that final, impenetrable door of gender inequality in the US. Women can be doctors and lawyers, senators and businessmen, and even the president of the United States. I get that it is important- to have someone to look up to- proof that we are capable of everything that men are capable of. But people act like it is important to have anyone who isn’t a white male in the white house- a black, a hispanic, a woman… in the end it doesn’t matter. Feminists say that we need to position the election of a woman president not as a woman’s issue, but as a human issue- that a woman would provide perspective in leadership that would challenge and progress the system for everyone, not just women. But let’s be real, a woman will not lead the country any differently than a man would. Female CEOs work within the structure of white, male business. They do not change the working world. Female doctors are educated in the realm of male science. They do not change healthcare. All it would prove is that women have learned to play the game of privilege and politics by the same rules and rituals as men. Women work so hard to have equality in an antiquated system that they end up supporting the system. In order to be “as good as men,” and, “as free as men,” they end up acting like men instead of working to expand the options of how men and women can act.
I was watching a video on Upworthy the other day, and I noticed that at the end (Around 3:15) when H. Clinton finishes, it is announced, “The gentleman’s time is up.” I poked around, and apparently female members of the house are supposed to be referred to as gentlewomen, but in practice I am not sure how often that happens. If a woman wants to be respected by her fellow politicians she has to become a gentleman. But what bothers me is not so much the gender of the world- gentleman, gentlewoman… they are both very old, class-based words that create an environment of assumption in American politics.
I am beginning to think a female president would do more harm than good, because it would make people feel that we are “progressing.” It would be yet another lie that politicians could hold up to justify clinging to an old system that no longer meets the needs of the people. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote for a woman. I just don’t see it as the big deal I once thought it was.