Bernie supporters revive archaic gender attitudes


Illustration by Kelsey Lannin

America is at a turning point when it comes to feminism. The wage gap for women is slowly closing and there are more and more options in California for paid family leave. There are still those who believe that women’s rights is a battle that ended in 1920 when women won the right to vote.

Sorry to break it to you, but the battle is far from over. A number of Democratic voters who pride themselves on being progressives continue to distrust Hillary Clinton solely based on her gender. This misogyny in millennial males has manifested itself in a group called the Bernie Bros.

Bernie Bros are young, typically heterosexual white men who have developed an idea that only a man can possibly fill the shoes of the male presidents of the past. Rather than focus on issues of the election, these young people have begun a series of attacks on Hillary Clinton’s gender incapabilities.

The Atlantic describes Bernie Bros as “white; well-educated; middle-class (or, delicately, “upper middle-class”); and aware of NPR podcasts and jangly bearded bands,” among other descriptions of these Bernie supporters.

College-age voters in America pride themselves as being “woke” to the racial disparities that have created a divide in our own country. The movement towards breaking down the gender glass ceiling has not had the same traction.

Illustration by Kelsey Lannin
Illustration by Kelsey Lannin

A lot of the memes circulating Facebook and Twitter are rooted in this kind of misogyny. One example is how many people distrust Hillary Clinton because she remained with President Bill Clinton despite his affairs. Let’s make something very clear – a woman is not defined by her husband and her personal relationship should not be something that is dragged into the spotlight. Making former President Clinton’s affair a part of the campaign, even as a joke, is unfair to Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump has repeatedly, over the course of this race, accused Clinton of playing “the woman card.” The truth is, no such card exists.

When Hillary Clinton was attending college in the late 1960s, there were 12 women in the United States Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service. The environment in which Hillary Clinton grew up in provided no clear path for her achievements.

If Hillary Clinton were a man, there would be no competition between her and Senator Sanders. The Bernie Bros be more supportive of her and no Republican would stand a chance.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter myself, I can name a number of real issues that are driving me to vote for Sanders over Clinton. A few examples include his strong approach to shifting the American market to a clean power market to create new jobs, like most Western European countries have already done, and his real solutions to solving the education through increased taxation and increased reward. A Sanders presidency to me means America will be able to keep up with the rest of the developed nations on its policies for its people. If I could get behind a female candidate and support her term, I would. But Hillary Clinton’s gender should not be a factor in not voting for her.

It would be naive to say that gender is not a factor in the presidential race. But at least as liberal voters, we should be able to agree that a woman is capable of doing the same job as a man.