Does Clinton Use Her Gender For Political Gain?
There are many who see Hillary Clinton as cold and disconnected, a political outsider who doesn’t understand the qualms of the people she serves. She doesn’t understand the issues of the average American and she sure doesn’t show it, like her opponent. But could this be due, in part, to what females in politics are stereotypically classified as? There are those who see powerful female figures, especially when it comes to politics, as figures with a more controlled demeanor. They are, and must, hold a different standard of practice when it comes to eccentricity.
The most recent and first debate against Donald Trump, Clinton showed what most thought she would. Her demeanor was rather stoic and she did not strike back to most of Mr. Trump’s allegations or prods. Was this to show that she was a more level head in a sea of unleveled ones, or was it because she thought if she spoke the way he did, she would be seen in a different light? In her most recent campaign add, she shows young, old, black and white women working to achieve a more prosperous future, with her help. Only appearing at the end of the video, Clinton made herself the spokeswoman for the others involved in the video. This play made it apparent should would be leveraging her role in the debate on gender in the months leading up to the vote for office. This “call to arms” for women to become more engaged in the understanding that they play a major role in today’s political atmosphere has attracted those who don’t believe that is the case.
To understand how this stereotype effects the current election and its voters, you must first understand how previous female political figures conducted themselves in accordance to their era. Earlier figures such as Margret Thatcher, were often seen as very patient, but were able to get the message across fluently. Some saw this as a challenge to authority, rather than an addition to it, and held the state of political affairs in regression. She relied on her articulation to present the issues and solutions, rather than aggression and play on emotion, as seen by some male leaders today.
In an age of classification, Clinton plays to her strengths, calling upon her key demographic, women, to get behind her policies and ultimately her presidency. She utilizes, just as other candidates, her strongest characteristics to hold up her campaign. She has said “there is no better time to be born females than the present”, only illustrating that point. According to recent polls, about a third of voters believe that Clinton’s gender gives her an advantage and are most likely feminists. To believe that her gender give that leg-up on the competition would be to believe that she needs that help. She leads in the polls, yes, but only by two or three points. Could those points come from her gender supporters?
In contrast, does her blatant call to female voters remove her from male voters? Does her alignment with the females she hopes to help, one way or another, seem to be a call to only one gender, or to both gender with a stronger pull to females? Well, this “ambivalent sexism”, as it is referred to, shows in the polls with male voters. It would be nice to think that we are rational when we step into the voting booth, that what we are voting for are policy and expertise. However, it seems there are other forces at play, other opinions that we weigh into the equation. Clinton’s play to women may have turned these male voters away, along with her policies, perhaps. To focus so much on a specific demographic may leave a bad taste in the unfocused demographics’ mouth. The unwanted stepchild?
Whether you call it sexism, picking and choosing, preference or known abuse of the system, it is obvious that both campaigns have chosen their prime demographic to siphon votes from, their plan is working. Instead of speaking to Americans as a united group, they have chosen to personify issues that are strongly pushed by one of these groups instead of all of them. As president, isn’t it your duty to help all Americans without prejudice or bias? Isn’t it your duty to create a unified country? Pull less on the strings of classification, puppet master, and more on the strings of unification.