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Check This: Does It Matter if the US Has a Female Leader?

While I certainly realize the historical significance of the United States having a viable female candidate for president, I can't help but feel less than excited about it. But it has nothing to do with my feelings about Hillary herself. I'm unfazed by the actual idea of having a female president, and that reaction has forced me to do a little soul searching. Have I begun to take the strides women have made in the cultural landscape for granted? Although I vaguely remember Geraldine Ferraro running for vice president, I do remember it being a big deal. What's changed in the last 24 years? Have I become that cocksure of the equality of women? I have to say no. It's not a feminist issue. It's a US-centric issue.

I'm not excited about it because so many other countries have already done it. That boundary has been broken. For all of my love of country, I do not think that in order for it to count, we have to do it. A woman in the White House is a forgone conclusion, when viewed through the lens of the world. Consider countries like India, Germany, Liberia, and New Zealand — all of them operate with utterly capable female leaders to little fanfare. And frankly, that's the most feminist way to handle the issue. If you're a competent leader, the issue of gender is, and should be moot. So come November, we'll just elect a president. Skirt, optional.

What do you think?


Join The Conversation
Choco-cat Choco-cat 9 years
First, I have to say - Wow, Caterpillar, I can only hope you're being sarcastic. Second, I do think it is important to vote for the candidate whose views on the issues align with your own. That said, I am disappointed to see how many people do not see that it would be a huge social step forward for our country if either Hilary or Obama win; as the possible first woman or African-American (male) president. It's actually quite embarrassing that some countries with worse gender gaps have still managed to elect women leaders before our country. If it's such a non-issue, I wonder why the main-stream media has commented on her cleavage in various debates. I don't recall any comments in main-stream media about the male candidates' "packages". I reiterate, vote for the candidate whose views are similar to your own, but just because that may not be Hilary (or Obama) don't downplay the significance of what s/he will have achieved if s/he becomes president.
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 9 years
*Scratch 'there'
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 9 years
Caterpillar, I suppose women also shouldn't vote because we could get too hysterical in our polling places, or are politics 'safe' from that happening because there the male-dominated Legislation can be a safeguard? Maybe you let your emotions get the best of you, but don't apply that to an entire set of people. I agree that gender should have no role in this as a reason to support or oppose a candidate.
sofi sofi 9 years
All I can say is these issues of race and gender that keep coming up obviously are just making republicans so happy- there is so much division among the party-men, women, white, black- that's the focus not the issues and change needed from current republican practices. I feel bad for Edwards because he seems very level headed and would probably do a good job, but he can't compete really and can't criticize very much. Race and gender are a big deal here and that won't be changing any time soon.
alynn alynn 9 years
It is interesting that because we have two candidates who could become either the first female president or the first black president the argument is now "it doesn't matter a candidates race or gender, elect the one best for the job." We should be able to do that but I don't think that is where we are at as a country. Both candidacies are historic, and either candidate will need to face the race/gender issue in the general election. This isn't right, but I do think it is a sad reality. Progress has been made, but we still live in a country where most of the power and wealth sits in the hands of white men.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
I agree. While I tend to lean toward Hillary, I would support and be happy with any of the three leading Democrats.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"Any of those 3 democrats will make this country better." Agreed!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I'm for Hilary or Obama, they are both democrats that will make this country better. I'm a woman and I think Hilary is a welcome to change for this country since the US still hasn't had a female leader and the fact she will make this country stronger. Even if she doesn't win and Obama does, I won't be disappointed; they are both worthy of being president. I like John Edwards however he will not be president; maybe years from now however not this time around. I hope he has some chance at being Vice President. Any of those 3 democrats will make this country better.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"I'm getting hammered left and right because, as a woman, I'm not waving the Hillary banner." Me too. Isn't that just sad?
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
Geebers, that would be quite a ticket, wouldn't it?
geebers geebers 9 years
That is a shame that someone who votes for Obama is anti-feminist. Im still on the Hillary camp however, I believe she can get the job done right. It is the same as if someone called me racist so why doesnt the same apply for those that don't vote for Hillary? Personally I like both candidates -wished that whomever lost the democratic seat would run on the other's ticket as VP. But doubtful.
ladygypsy ladygypsy 9 years
I'm getting hammered left and right because, as a woman, I'm not waving the Hillary banner. My response is usually, "Did you send money to Carol Moseley Braun in 2004? She ran for president. She had to drop out before Iowa due to lack of support. She's a lawyer too. She was a US Senator, too. She had state government experience - Hillary doesn't have that. Were you even aware that a woman ran for President in 2004?" It's because Hillary has the right name (and the star-power associated with it) and sadly, the right husband that she's getting so much support. A woman who IS voting for Hillary because she is a woman is just as biased as the man who's NOT voting for her because she IS a woman.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
However, I think that it's stupid to vote for someone based on sex or race.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I'll vote for the candidate I best see fit, as most of you. I agree with Jillness though, because a lot of Hillary supporters seem to think that my reasoning towards voting for Obama is anti feministic.. it's as I've said earlier a little offending. It's like saying that those who vote or support Clinton is racist for not wanting Obama instead. It's besides the point for most of us, if the candidate wears pants(or ties!) or not. To me it's important to be able trust the candidate, I think Bush has shown that any idiot can "get things done"; the point would be to make the right types of changes. I just want a president who doesn't lie or cover up or change the story to their benefit, like say Bush? If you can't trust their word, then why trust their policies?
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
I agree, Citizen, it shouldn't matter. It's really sad that it does, still, and that there are still people who spit in the face of history when they say that women can't run countries.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I disagree completely with CaterpillarGirl, certainly women have the ability to be competent, level-headed leaders, even great leaders! To say you'll never vote for a woman president, just because she's a woman, is not very good reasoning. However, elections for any office should be about choosing the best candidate, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc etc. In this election cycle I'm backing a male candidate, but I'm perfectly happy to support the right woman in another election.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
I was thinking about this "making a big deal" out of a woman president and what that says about us. And you know, I don't think it says that much actually. We live in a country where the media makes everything a huge deal! There always has to be an angle to make the story "exciting." Most of the time the MSM creates something just to have something to talk about. Now, those individuals that make it a big says something about them. :)
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I agree 100%. It should be moot, but the reality is that it's not... not in America anyway. Unfortunately, many make it an issue - there are many people that still vote against a "woman." The ugly truth is that sexism is still very much prevalent in our culture. But voting for a "woman" is just as unfair and irrational in my eyes.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Wow, it's just my opinion, but it's so sad to me that people can't leave race OR gender behind when voting and worse yet, when people choose to perpetuate common stereotypes/beliefs about certain races/genders. Seriously, vote for the best candidate, regardless of their race/religion/gender - and like Citizen has said, so many other countries have had successful female leaders and are completely unfazed by the issue ... we aren't neccessarily "behind" in not having a primary female leader yet, but we are in making a big freaking deal out of it.
Tutta Tutta 9 years
I'd have to agree. I think choosing a leader based on race or sex is ridiculous. I can't say I'm excited about ANY of the candidates at this point in the game but one can hope that when the day comes, we'll make the right decision.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
I completely agree that you should vote based on a candidate's positions and not because of their race, gender, marriage status, ethnicity, and the list goes on. It should be about who you feel will do the best job. NOW's statements do not surprise me. It's been a long time since they were really a strong organization for women.
piper23 piper23 9 years
It is really silly! NOW is suppose to work to advance women but we need to earn it, not expect it to be given to us because of our gender. And you're right, vote for who talks to you, and vote for the one that you feel in your gut is right for this country. Male, Female, black or white!
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
piper that's so silly about NOW. I mean seriously is all someone supposed to take into consideration, whatever is between a candidate's legs?? Vote for who talks to you and can talk for you not who looks like you.
piper23 piper23 9 years
I read earlier where the NOW in New York is referring to Kennedy's support of Obama as the "ultimate betrayal". They even said "He picked the new guy over us". Their statements on this are insulting to women. Why should he endorse Hillary just because she is a woman? I would want an endorsement because I am the best candidate, not because of my gender. I'm appreciative of this organization but their statements today are an embarrassment in my opinion.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I would never vote for a woman president, and its because I dont think women can leave thier instincts behind to be a level headed leader of this country, call me sexist, or a traitor but its how i roll.
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