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As A Young Woman, I Shouldn’t Have To Defend My Decision To Vote For Bernie Sanders

The things I choose to question and dislike about Secretary Clinton have everything to do with her politics and nothing to do with her gender.

I should not have to legitimize my choice of presidential candidate to you or anyone else. But the truth is, in this day and age, with tools like social media, it quickly becomes a necessity.

As a self-proclaimed feminist and advocate for women’s rights, I recently faced backlash online when I voiced that I was voting for Senator Bernie Sanders in the upcoming primary election. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was even recently quoted saying, “Young women have to support Hillary Clinton!” But why am I considered sexist for my candidate choice? Let’s explore the dynamics of the 2016 Democratic election.

There’s no escaping the great amount of sexism in this race. But the sexism doesn’t stem from those choosing to vote for Senator Sanders. It stems from the media. Lately, the media has chosen to treat Hillary Clinton in a sexist fashion. Instead of criticizing her political platform, they’ve had a field day talking about things such as her voice, her “failed” outreach to the young voters, and the “masculine” way she carries herself. Criticizing Secretary Clinton for attributes that have nothing to do with her credentials or policies is inherent sexism. If you want to find things to not like about Secretary Clinton’s specific politics, that’s completely fine. Just don’t choose to not vote for her based on things that have nothing to do with her political abilities. At the end of the day, the platform of the politician is the only thing that should be focused on when deciding who to vote for. Do your research! Through my own research I have discovered that my views do not align with those of Secretary Clinton as much as they do with those of Senator Sanders. But the things I choose to question and dislike about Secretary Clinton have everything to do with her politics and nothing to do with her gender.

If you are choosing to vote against Secretary Clinton because of your knowledge and research about her and her policies — not just influences from social media — that is completely fine. We all should then respect your decision. If you are choosing to vote against her because she’s a woman, that’s sexist. Similarly, if you are choosing to vote for Secretary Clinton because she is a woman and because you want a woman in the White House, your logic is not much better. Find reasons to vote for her that do not involve her gender.

As a young voting generation, it is our responsibility to do the necessary research into our candidates. Whether you’re voting Republican or Democrat, we need to make informed and responsible decisions based on policies and issues, not gender. By doing your own research into what the candidates truly stand for, not just their outward media personalities, you can have an arsenal of reasons you’re voting for a candidate that aren’t based on gender. It is our responsibility as a young generation to cast informed votes — 30.5 percent of eligible voters are millennials! We get to have a say in the future of our country. That’s pretty cool. No matter who you vote for, be sure it is truly a candidate you stand behind.

Siena is a 17-year-old high school senior. When she's not writing or going on feminist rants, she likes to run, sleep, and eat peanut butter with a spoon.
@siena_roberts