It’s 2015, and it is time for a female president in the White House. As a feminist, I am glad Hillary Clinton rose to the challenge— well, not really.
One of the words most commonly used to describe Clinton is “feminist.” A feminist, as defined by writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” This isn’t an incorrect description of Clinton, since her efforts have focused on closing the wage gap between men and women.
It is, however,very naive to think that Clinton is a representative of all American women. Clinton has only known the experience of a white woman in America and is quite ignorant when it comes to the issues of women of color. Clinton as a politician needs to do more to advocate for minority women if she’s going to consider herself a feminist.
She uses the word feminist, but when she talks about helping women, Hillary doesn’t talk about the different intersections that affect a woman including class, race or ability. A modern feminist needs to not only acknowledge the inequalities that women of different backgrounds face, but act to make these inequalities disappear. Clinton has done far too little to offer a solution for the issues that affect women of color.
Women of color are often employed in the lowest-earning occupations and work the least amount of hours, according to the Center for American Progress. Overall, women make 78 cents to every white man’s dollar, but Native American women make 65 cents, black women make 64 cents and Latina women make 54 cents to that dollar, according to the American Association of University Women.
Although Clinton has acknowledged the wage gap between women during speeches, she hasn’t fully addressed the factors that create and continue to widen the wage gap, like education or immigration status.
Clinton plans on giving full citizenship to immigrant youths, known as the DREAMers. Although this can be a good thing, her supporters fail to see how corporate her feminism is: she wants to help undocumented youth because she acknowledges them as people who can “contribute to the U.S.’ economy.”
She has also acknowledged police brutality and has even talked about reforming the prison system during a speech in May because of the amount of black men incarcerated compared to their white counterparts. But where does this leave black women? Black women are 54 percent more prone to being stopped by police than white women, according to the African American Policy Forum.
If Clinton is going to be considered a feminist, she needs to not only address the issues, like the wage gap and police brutality, but also use her political influence to propose a solution for minority women.
If she fails to do so, women like Sandra Bland, Yvette Smith and Rekia Boyd will continue to be invisible to Clinton’s feminism.
Her corporate feminism, which focuses more on big company business rather than social justice issues, doesn’t speak to me as a young feminist, women of color because I simply don’t have the money or the education to benefit from her feminism.
If she wants to be considered a true feminist, Clinton needs to find a way to make her feminism more inclusive. Look at women of color as people who matter and not just people who contribute economically to this nation. We are so much more than that.
People often assume that just because I’m a feminist I will vote for Clinton because she is a woman and is considered a feminist. Whether I will vote for Clinton or not remains uncertain, but one thing that I do know is that she is not my feminist.