There are those in politics and in the media who have not learned from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. In Clinton’s and her feminist friends’ appeals to women, they overlooked just how many women’s lives had been damaged by Clinton’s policies: women around the world where Clinton advocated for military intervention, poor women affected by her support for gutting social welfare programs, and so on. Their pleas for solidarity only served to highlight the fact that when politicians talk about women as a whole, they mean “decent” women. White women. Middle class women. Everyone who doesn’t fit that category might as well be invisible.
The question remains: what is the value of solidarity when it’s only coming from one side? We’ll hear the appeals for women’s support as the election draws ever nearer, but it won’t be the politicians themselves participating. Solidarity is something we, the women voters, must perform. Women politicians are free to ignore our rights and needs whenever it suits them.
Despite being scapegoated, ignored, politically thwarted, prosecuted, and shamed, we’re meant to put all of that aside for the good of the gender. But it’s time to have a real conversation about who women really are, what our interests are, and how politicians can help us live with dignity. It should not be a surprise if the most “pro-woman” candidate, whatever that means, actually turns out to be a man.