Your Candidate Does Not Make You Sexist // Holly Brown

Whether you’re feeling the Bern or ready for Hillary, we’re in the middle of a contentious time for American progressives. Supporters on both sides are passionate about their candidate, and lately have made some statements accusing the other side of the aisle of allowing gender-based discrimination to factor into choosing their candidate. Some Hillary supporters claim that Bernie fans picked him over Clinton because of sexism, while some woman-identified Bernie supporters are offended that people make assumptions about their preferred candidate based on their gender.

While there are unfortunate examples of individuals who allow sexism to factor into choosing their preferred candidate, this is the exception rather than the rule. Both frontrunners vying for the Democratic nomination have strong histories supporting pro-feminist policies. So, at the end of the day, whether you want your pro-woman candidate to be a bigger, established name in politics or someone who leans a little further left is a matter of political taste, and neither choice makes you sexist.

Instead of attacking the other side of the progressive aisle, our priority needs to shift to making sure that our country’s next president is a politician who will support rather than tear down progress toward gender equality. The frontrunners on the Republican ticket have all expressed support of anti-woman and anti-trans policies, and we need to make sure that the next four years don’t send us 50 years back in time in terms of the rights available to women and gender minorities in this country.

I’ll be honest, Bernie is my preferred candidate this time around. As much as I would love to see a woman president in the U.S., I align more with Sanders’ platform and appreciate his strong track record for backing policies and movements that align with intersectional feminism. That said, I certainly still value Hillary’s experience in the national spotlight, her grace under pressure, her ability to get things done, and the real progress she has made toward being more inclusive and intersectional in the feminism she advances. And when the primaries are over, I’ll back whichever Democratic candidate is chosen 100%. Let’s avoid turning on ourselves and join together to make sure that the next American president is pro-woman, regardless of their specific gender.

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