There’s a possibility that by the end of this year, the Clintons will reclaim the White House. There are plenty of ardent supporters who would like nothing more than to watch Hillary Clinton be inaugurated. But there is also a huge amount of people who dread this possibility and will stop at nothing to prevent it. That being said, there are plenty of reasons why one would dislike Hillary Clinton. Some people think she was a little too late to the LGBT support wagon. Some people hold her accountable for the attacks in Libya during her reign as Secretary of State. Some think her minimum wage goals aren’t progressive enough. Others disagree with her views on capital punishment. These are legitimate criticisms. These are perfectly fair.
Some criticisms, however, are not fair or acceptable at all. Rosario Dawson recently spoke at a Sanders event and invoked the name of America’s favorite beret-wearing-intern, Miss Monica Lewinsky. Donald Trump has joined in and spoke out against Hillary due to Bill’s infidelities as well. He also retweeted a nice little line about how if Hillary couldn’t satisfy her man, she can’t satisfy a country either. Women call her weak for staying with him, and claim that they would never do the same. Kids wear shirts that say “Bill chose other women over Hillary, you should too.” There are comedy routines about how if she had just done her job as a wife, this wouldn’t be a problem. This is NOT acceptable.
We must stop the shaming. We must stop calling a woman weak because of who she loves and how she chose to handle her marriage. We must stop assuming she was a bad wife and that was why he needed to stray. We must stop the myth that only cold, bitter women are cheated on. We must forget the thought that if a man cheats on his wife, she had to have done something to deserve it. We need to understand that a husband’s infidelity is never the woman’s fault. No woman does anything to deserve being betrayed. You would never say that a victim had to have done something to deserve being raped. You would never say that a battered wife had to have done something to deserve being beaten. So why do we continue to say that Hillary Clinton had to have done something to deserve being cheated on?
By telling this woman that her husband’s affair is something that should be used against her character, we are telling all women that they are not valid. We are telling women that they cannot be independently successful, that whatever they do is unimportant, and the only thing that matters is the man by their side and HIS actions, HIS views, HIS past. Hillary Clinton is a politician, a lawyer, a college graduate, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a grandmother, a First Lady, a senator, a Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton is more than just one man’s wife. Her career and her life is not defined or changed by what the man she married may have done. She has had great success and she has made mistakes. She has won and she has lost. She has carved her own name into history and built her own career and life. Whether you love or hate her, you should do so based on her own actions and her own choices in her career, and not based on the actions of the man by her side.
When we tell Hillary that she is somehow not good enough because of what Bill did, we tell all girls that their worth is defined by how a boy treats her. This is not acceptable. We would not tell our daughters that they are not good enough because they couldn’t find a date to prom. We would not tell our daughters that there is something wrong with them because their boyfriend left them. So why do we point to Hillary Clinton on tv and tell our girls that this woman is somehow worthless and inferior because her husband had an affair? How can we defend teaching generations of little girls that their worth is dependent on the guy that she marries and what he does or doesn’t do? We can’t.
We must stop the double standards and sexism in the 2016 election. We must stop the shaming, the blaming, the personal attacks. I am not defending or praising Hillary Clinton. I am not asking you to vote for her. I’m not asking you to like her. Go ahead and vilify her, bash her, despise her. I don’t care. I’m not asking you to stop hating her. But I am asking you to have a legitimate platform to base that hatred on and not to define her life and career by who she married and what he did to her. Hillary Clinton is a woman just like me, just like half of the rest of America, just like your mother, your grandmother.
We are women and we fully deserve the right to lead our own lives, be recognized for our own actions, and earn your devote admiration OR your intense hatred ALL ON OUR OWN.