Why We Don’t Need a Female President

For some reason the debate on whether or not our next president should/will be a woman has been springing up all over facebook and pulse for me. I used to think having a female president, or at least a female VP, was an important step for the US. Now I am not so sure that gender matters. Well, of course gender matters. Gender is a huge issue, but it can also be a distraction. That our political system is unrepresentative of half of our population is not fair, but it is just a sliver of unfairness among an entire unfair, broken system.

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.

I looked into the eyes of my unborn baby
When he was 6 or 7- 
They were clear, fresh, excited, 
So much like my husband’s, so foreign to me. 
His lips parted, breathless, 
And he said-
“Mom! I’m going to be president!” 

Oh, son, what did they teach you in school today? 
If I had known today was the day
They would teach little girls they wanted to be brides, and mothers, and maybe nurses… 
And little boys they wanted to be soldiers, and maybe president… 
I would have kept you home. 
We would have finger-painted and played in the falling leaves. 
You wouldn’t have said you wanted to “be” anything. 
“Mom, I am happy!” you would have said. 
But now you look at me and you say you want to be president- 
– To enter into a system broken with corruption, greed, and privilege. 
– To enter a world based on status, lies, and bureaucracy. 
You tell me, and you wait. 
You are still breathless, 
Less from the run home and more from the prospect of possibility. 
As a mother it is my job to nourish your hopes- 
We collect tinder for your dreams when you are young 
So that you can grow up to be passionate. 
– A man on fire. 
I see the way you take the dog for a walk, hug your little sister, give your friends equal slices of the pumpkin pie I baked for you. 
You are fair, and kind, and too responsible for your age. 
I wish you were an anarchist, like me, 
But I hold you close and I whisper- 
“You’ll make a great president.” 
And I believe it. 

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