Why I Like Hillary Clinton

hillary-clinton

Hillary Clinton 2016? Yes, please.

To some people, the name Hillary Clinton brings to mind images of an uptight, sarcastic, diabolic tyrant who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. On the other hand, to me Hillary Clinton is an admirable, respectable politician who embodies many of the qualities of an ideal leader.

Some of these qualities are the same qualities which have turned Hillary into the type of villain usually left for dictators and greedy CEOs. However, these traits leave no question in my mind that Hillary is suited for large-scale leadership in a difficult time and as I backed Hillary Clinton for United States president in 2008, I will do so again in 2016.

  1. She is passionate

Critics call Hillary Clinton power-hungry and single-minded. I won’t disagree; I’m certain Hillary wants to be successful and a well-known leader, and is dedicated to this mission. However, I don’t hold it against her and even consider her tenacity to be valuable in a future leader. We need someone who believes strongly in their goals and is willing to see them through, no matter what.

     2. She is willing to face opposition

Hillary Clinton is arguably the most disliked and controversial politicians of the past decade, outside of the presidents. There are countless campaigns, articles, groups, and websites against Hillary. When she lost the 2008 presidential primary to our current president, Barack Obama, people all over the country breathed a collective sigh of relief, “Thank goodness.”

Much of the opposition to Hillary’s candidacy seems to stem from the simple fact that she
is a woman. In fact, in a Gallup survey conducted earlier this year the second most hillary-president-2016common reason given by American opposed to Hillary Clinton as U.S. president was that they don’t want a female president. For a woman vying for the presidency, that’s disheartening, to say the least.

Yet Hillary bravely faces this daily opposition and remains committed to her ideals. She’s put herself in the spotlight to be criticized yet again because her goals are so important to her. This is to be respected, if not admired.

    3. She has progressive ideals

Hillary Clinton’s liberal political ideology more closely aligns with mine than the majority of candidates. She has championed ideals I consider important, such as women’s rights, educational reform, and health care.

   4. She is intelligent

Whether or not you agree with Hillary’s tactics, you can’t deny that Hillary is an intelligent woman who has carved out a unique place for herself in American history. Accomplished lawyer, senator, first lady, and the first woman with a serious bid for the American presidency. A person does not happen on these positions by accident — it takes intelligence and foresight.

  5.  She is authentic

She’s nakedly ambitious. She’s secretive. She’s cunning. So what? She’s a politician. I would prefer a leader who is honest about what they care about, what they don’t care about, and what bothers them than a politician who vacillates to remain in the good graces of everyone. On the way to accomplishing anything noteworthy, a person may alienate some. Hillary expects that and accepts that, and won’t change strategy to appease those who disagree.

Now, do I agree with all of Hillary Clinton’s past decisions and views? No. Do I think that she is the only candidate worthy of the presidency? No. However, I do like her as a person, and consider her a worthy of the Oval Office.

Advertisements

Cameron Diaz Tells Us: Women Want to Be Objectified

cameron-diazThe latest in controversial celebrity comments: Cameron Diaz, in the UK’s Sunday Times.

In a recent interview, the actress made a bold statement about the sexual objectification of women. In doing so, she offered up a glaring example of how an over-sexualized culture can influence the way women view themselves and their self-worth, and a classic case of self-objectification:

Says Diaz:

I think every woman does want to be objectified. There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy…I’m a woman, I know how to handle myself. I know what I feel comfortable doing and I know my sexuality.

It’s empowering. I’m not some young girl with the photographer going, ‘Will you take your clothes off?’ I’m like, ‘How does this look?’ They’re like, ‘Today we’re not going to put anything other than bras and heels on you,’ and I’m like, ‘These heels are not high enough.'”

While many have their own opinions of what Cameron said and what her statements mean, her thoughts for me bring to mind a few ideas on the issue of female objectification.

Objectified Does Not Equal “Sexy”

Inherent in the definition of objectification is dehumanization and depersonalization. When a person is objectified, they are viewed as not a person but an object, lacking in humanity and merely a means to an end in satisfying the objectifier’s desires, usually sexual.

In other words, it’s not about you, your womanhood, or your attractiveness. It’s about what you — or rather, your body — can arouse in the viewer. Not anymore human than a well-made piece of art. All a sexually objectified woman is worth is her ability to entice and once that worth is lost, which it inevitably will be, her worth is also lost.

Objectification Is Not Empowerment

Cameron may believe that posing in undergarments and sky-high heels makes her a liberated and empowered 21st century woman but in fact it is just the opposite.

Having women flaunt their “sexiness” by displaying their bodies in very little clothing is our culture’s way of keeping women disempowered: at their mercy, with no power except what little may be given to her by men, for a short amount of time. In modern culture, the image of the disempowered woman is not the happy homemaker but Playboy’s Playmate of the Year.

Speak for Yourself, Then Stop

Do women like to be objectified? I haven’t done a worldwide survey, but my guesses are no. But whether they do or not is beside a major issue many have with Cameron’s statement — a person should never assume that their thoughts and desires are universal.

Had Cameron said that she alone enjoyed being objectified, perhaps she would have lost all credibility and been ridiculed, but her interview wouldn’t have been nearly as controversial. However, in extending her beliefs to every woman; insisting that they are reflective of all women, she entered into new territory. Claiming that every woman secretly hopes to be objectified and encouraging women to think of this desire as healthy is not only brazen but dangerous in a culture where women are still thought of as the lesser gender.

What do you think of Cameron Diaz’s statements? Agree or disagree?

See also:

What’s Feminism Got To Do With It?

superhero-girl“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

–Rebecca West

As mentioned in the past, according to dictionary definition, I am a feminist. I support equality between the sexes in all realms of life. I make no apologies for disagreeing with those who are opposed to equality for women, including those who don’t realize their views are in opposition to this notion. I may not agree with all feminists or feminist theories, but to me, feminism as a general principle is a no-brainer — why would I not support uplifting change and improvement in the lives of women?

However, it seems that in disagreement, the words “feminism” and “feminist” are used to dismiss or belittle opposing views. Don’t understand someone’s opinion or don’t like it? If they happen to agree with a woman or mention anything favorable about women, you don’t have to. Just call them a feminist. At this point anything they have said or will say is rendered irrelevant nonsense. They are a feminist, how could anyone take them seriously?

This may come as a surprise to those who routinely use the “feminist” dismissal: but sometimes it’s just not about feminism. While a person may agree with feminist principles and even identify as a feminist, feminism does not have to be at the core of every opinion they may have. Feminism is merely one influence on their mindset which is created from the entirety of their life’s experiences and personal biases.

Sometimes It’s About Fairness

While feminism is concerned about equal rights and fairness towards women in particular, sometimes people oppose or align themselves with an issue in the name of fairness in general. Such people are in favor of people being treated justly and respectfully, regardless of their gender. If the people in question happen to be women, it’s simply a coincidence — if the situation involved men, their sentiments would not change. Thus feminism has nothing to do with it.

Sometimes It’s About the Person

All people have their likes and dislikes, and those could include other people. So people may agree (or disagree) with an issue because of the person espousing it, and at times that person may be a woman. This has nothing to do with one’s feminist leanings, but one’s personal leanings.

So, a woman supported Hillary Clinton for the United States presidential nomination? Does it have to be because she is a feminist? Could it be that she is in favor of Hillary’s views, or even Hillary herself?

Sometimes It’s About Widening Discussion

Great discussion occurs when all sides and views are presented and debated. An opposing viewpoint may be presented for the simple reason of increasing the depth and breadth of discussion. Whether or not this view agrees with feminism or the person presenting it as a feminist is irrelevant. It just has nothing to do with feminism.

What do you think — what does your feminism (or lack of) have to do with your views?

See also:

Slut-Shaming

slut-signs

Slut-shaming is the common practice of shaming, condemning, harassing or ridiculing a girl or woman for sexual actions or thoughts. Slut-shaming arises from the continued double standard in expectations for men and women in expressions of sexuality. It is premised on the belief that a woman who engages in sexual behavior at her own will is less than or inferior to a woman who abides by societal expectations of proper sexual behavior for women.

Slut-shaming need not include the word slut or its synonyms– any act of discouraging or insulting a woman for expressing sexuality is slut-shaming. And while the definition of a slut is of a woman who is sexually promiscuous, a woman does not have to engage in sexual behaviors often, or at all, to be slut-shamed. Girls and women are slut-shamed for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Acknowledging sexual feelings
  • Dressing in a manner which is considered provocative
  • Spending time with men who she is not in a formal intimate relationship with
  • Being raped
  • Engaging in any form of intimate behavior with a man or men
  • Being disliked or resented by other girls or women

Women Slut-Shaming Women

Men slut-shame as a way of wielding power and because they can and always have: men can not be slut-shamed as women can be.  Women, however, are also often the perpetrators of slut-shaming. But why do women slut-shame? What could they possibly gain from it?

In many cases, women who slut-shame have internalized societal expectations of female sexual expression and are often afraid of being slut-shamed themselves. They tend to believe that by discouraging sexual behavior in other women they can increase their own worth in the eyes of others, and themselves.

In this way, slut-shaming becomes a way to compete: women gain approval from men and the community at large for their “pure” behavior in comparison to the sluts of society. Even if they engage in private behavior which could be seen as “slutty”, they publicly reinforce the idea that overt female expression of sexuality is simply wrong.

gossiping-womenOther women believe that slut-shaming is necessary to protect women as a whole. They believe that direct expressions of sexuality encourage unwanted advances from men and send messages that a woman may not intend to. They discourage girls and women from blatant shows of sexuality as a response to what they believe are the even more direct expressions of sexuality of men.

But what women who engage in slut-shaming fail to realize, or don’t care to recognize, is that they are encouraging their own oppression. By consciously belittling women for expressing their sexuality in a way which is comfortable to them, they reinforce a system which constrains and polices women’s actions while allowing men a fuller range of expression.  They also support the notion that a woman’s worth is in her sexuality — or lack of it — and that this worth is rare and not assured.

To slut-shamers, slut-shaming may seem innocent or just not so bad, but the effects of slut-shaming are wide-ranging. Women who are slut-shamed feel and can be ostracized, and question themselves and sexuality in general.  They don’t feel open to express themselves sexually in context because they are worried about what others may think or say of them. At the extreme end slut-shaming indirectly encourages rape and forced sexual acts since women are too afraid to report rape for fear of being thought of as a slut or being embarrassed. In sum, slut-shaming negatively affects not just the women who are slut-shamed but all women.

What are your thoughts on slut-shaming? Do you slut-shame?

See also:

Why You Have No Female Friends

no-female-friends

Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s you.

Some women effortlessly make friends with other women, while others struggle to find female companionship and instead find themselves at odds with the women they meet. Many of these women conclude that there is just something uniquely intolerable about women that prevents them from getting along with them. Rarely do such women analyze their own behavior in their quest to understand why they lack female friends.

Unfortunately for women who have a hard time with other women, criticizing and finding fault with other women doesn’t improve their situation and usually makes it worse. If you’re one of those women you could benefit from thinking of possible reasons why you have no female friends that has less to do with other women and more to do with yourself:

1. You’re Competitive

If you believe and behave as if women are your competition for men, attention, and resources, you’re probably putting off other women. If you make a habit of coming on to taken men or fighting for the spotlight at work or in social situations, don’t be surprised to you find yourself with few women as friends.

2. You’re Defensive

When you meet a new woman, do you assume the worst? Do you take any commentary directed to you by other women as a personal attack and think they dislike you? If so, you might be being too defensive. And your behavior may become a self-fulfilling prophecy — instead of putting up with your wild assumptions and accusations other women will simply not bother to deal with you.

female-friends-playing3. You’re Self-Righteous

When you assume that others are less morally upright than you are and are otherwise lacking in major aspects, you exude an attitude which serves as a female-repellant. Try to judge the actions of others less and realize there is more than one way to be.

4. You’re Male-Identified

If you support and defend men at the expense of women, you should expect to have few female friends. Other women can sense that you seek the approval of men and view men as the superior gender. No one wants to put up with someone who thinks so little of them.

5. You’re Inconsiderate

To be a friend to anyone, you have to take their feelings and needs into account as well as yours. Friends can help you, but friendship is a two-way street. If you consider your needs above those of others and feel no reluctance about betraying other women, you will find that you’re constantly having trouble with them.

6. You’re Unfriendly

It should go without saying that if you seek friendship you should be receptive to it. If you remain aloof of other people and their advances you send the message that you’re not concerned with having friends. Don’t always wait for women to approach you, but approach them to start a friendship.

See also:

The Male-Identified Woman

male-identified-womanEncouraging sexism, opposing gender equality, and setting societal progress back centuries. All at a location near you.

The male-identified woman is a woman whose beliefs, mindset, and attitude favor the male gender, often at the expense of the opposite sex. She may be traditional or modern, classically feminine in appearance or more masculine. But all male-identified women support what enhances the status and lives of men, and opposes what increases equality of the genders.

The male-identified woman often comes from a background where the male point of view was greatly emphasized or de-emphasized. In the first case, she may have had a mother who, willingly or unwillingly, took second place to her husband. The male-identified woman learned through her upbringing that a woman must always defer to men and respect their desires.

In the second case, the male-identified woman may have had a father who was absent (physically or mentally) and a mother who was head of the household. She grew to resent her mother’s rule and came to associate with the male presence she never had, finding refuge in the thoughts and actions of men.

The male-identified woman can be found everywhere, and is not difficult to recognize as she tends to be predictable and follows a pattern of behavior. A woman is likely male-identified, if she says or does several of the following:

  • Encourages women to take part in relationship dynamics which advantage men such as polygyny and decreased emphasis on female income and education
  • Blames feminism for every male-female issue and/or proclaiming those who disagree with her to be feminists
  • Engages in male-oriented forums or websites
  • Is overly obsequious or fawning over any men around her
  • Claims to have no female friends
  • Joins men in their complaints about women
  • Claims every gender difference is based in biology, especially if that difference favors men
  • Claims that men are naturally advantaged in several areas
  • Argues with women who oppose sexist practices

If you run into a male-identified woman (and you will, if you haven’t already), don’t attempt to argue with her or point out the flaws in her thinking.

Usually the male-identified woman is unaware of just how oriented she is to the male sex. She sees her views and values as “wise” and “common sense”, and competing views as the opposite. She’s likely held her beliefs for years and sees them as the only correct ones. She has no desire to change her mind — in most cases, she will try to change yours.

If you disagree with something the male-identified woman has said or done, the best you can do is offer your point of view and hope that others, and maybe she, can see its merit. Don’t push your views. You don’t need to — for the most part, the male-identified woman is fighting a losing battle.

See also:

SlutWalks: Yay or Nay?

slutwalk-toronto

SlutWalk Toronto

A controversial name for a controversial subject.

SlutWalks are a series of demonstrations taking place around the world to increase awareness about blaming victims of rape and shaming women for expressing their sexuality. The SlutWalks began in Toronto, the capital city of Ontario in Canada, after remarks made by an officer in a routine personal safety forum at York University. The officer interrupted his colleague on the issue of rape and ways to prevent it, saying:

“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here…I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

Even though just ten students attended the forum, news of his comments spread quickly. First around the campus and city then later around the world via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Thousands gathered and agreed to take action and a few months later, the first SlutWalk took place in Toronto.

SlutWalks have taken place in, or are scheduled for, just about every continent in the world, in countries from Argentina to the Netherlands to South Africa. Participants march with signs, many of which include the word slut in the spirit of the event to reclaim the word. Rallies usually include workshops on sexual assault and end with a call to action for everyone, especially those in positions of power, to not blame victims of rape, regardless of how they are dressed.

But everyone is not in agreement with the SlutWalk initiative and its critics have been vocal in their dissent in publications and forums. Most of those who disagree with the rallies center on a few opinions:

  • Throwing caution to the wind — some say that dressing more conservatively is not such a bad thing and women should take precautions. Why take chances if you don’t have to? Thus although the officer’s comments came off as dismissive and cold, he had a practical and helpful motive.
  • The use of the word slut — critics don’t believe that attempting to reclaim the word slut is helpful, but instead gives more credit to the term by suggesting that such a woman exists.

slutwalk-sign

  • Forgetting personal responsibility — Critics add that the way a person dresses and carries themselves sends a message to others about who they are; there is no way around that. While a woman is not responsible for another’s actions, she is responsible for herself and her body.
  • Acceptance of an increasingly sexualized culture — some disagree with the notion that girls and women should feel free to dress as provocatively as they wish. They believe that SlutWalks encourage and accept young girls and women objectifying themselves by dressing in an overtly sexual manner.

However, whether you agree or disagree with the SlutWalks, there is no denying that the movement has been successful in increasing international attention on the causes of rape. The SlutWalks and its participants have sparked discussion about whether society has become too permissive of attitudes which restrict and blame women.

What are your thoughts on the SlutWalks — its causes, mode of operation, and purposes?

Women and the Beauty Bind

woman-foot-chainsThe beauty bind is the dilemma that nearly every woman around the world, young or old, past or present, faces in their life. You probably already know a lot about the beauty bind or at least have some experience with it. The beauty binds refers to the fact that women are judged on their appearance no matter what. Whether the judgment is positive, negative, or neutral, there is no avoiding it.

Times have changed somewhat — the modern man also has to deal with being judged on his physical appearance. But his physical appearance is not used as a gauge of his worth and value as a person. Unlike men, who can be considered desirable based on other traits — a remarkable personality or bank account — a woman is judged mainly (and sometimes only) on her looks. Other parts of her may be considered, but only once her appearance is assessed for its worthiness.

The beauty bind is inescapable because whether or not a woman chooses to play the beauty game she is a contestant. And whether she is deemed attractive or not, her looks are used as a way give to or take away from her womanhood.

The Unattractive

A woman who is considered unattractive is denied her full femininity and power as a woman. She can be as intelligent and interesting as she wants, but if her physical appearance is judged as lacking, she is judged as lacking. After all, a true woman is pretty and feminine.

If she is particularly accomplished, her looks become a way to take away from her achievements. She is ridiculed and portrayed as less than — she might be worldly successful, but she’s still an ugly woman and that evens the score. Men and women alike are reassured by this and take solace in the fact that she doesn’t have it all.

The Beautiful

A woman who is assessed as particularly beautiful is also denied her full womanhood. She is made into a caricature and is not taken as seriously. Her looks are made the primary focus of her being; nothing else is as important. Others assume she has cruised by in life and doesn’t have much to offer besides good looks. Any successes she has are viewed in light of her physical appearance and given lesser value.

Although the beautiful woman is given certain advantages, she is also disadvantaged. Men and women envy the advantages she is given and women, who are also caught in the beauty bind, judge her even more harshly than men do. They too want to be considered part of the Beautiful Elite, but if they can’t, they can have some power over beautiful women by becoming their worst critics.

Few people discuss the beauty bind as it has become woven into the fabric that makes up most societies and is viewed as normal. But some people recognized that the major results of the beauty bind are not so beautiful. Self-objectification, female competition, and self-worth issues abound.

So what is the key to releasing women from the beauty bind? Well, that remains to be seen. In the meantime you could ask yourself if and how you contribute to the beauty binding of yourself or others.

See also:

The Big, Bad F Word — Feminism

feminist-movement-venus-symbolWhat comes to mind when you hear the word “feminism” or “feminist”?

Feminism is loosely defined as the belief and promotion of equal rights for women in social, political, and economic arenas. Formal feminism, also known as the Women’s Movement, began in Western society in the late 18th century and continues today. Without feminism, the daily lives of Western women would be very different. Yet feminism and feminists are given a bad reputation. So much so that mentioning the “F-Words”, or worse claiming to be an F-word, is enough to cause a person to be looked at with suspicion, disbelief, and disgust.

Most people, when asked, would never state that women shouldn’t have equal rights. Yet less than 30 percent of all American women consider themselves to be feminists, compared to an even smaller 25 percent of Western European women. This suggests that either women don’t truly believe they should be equal to men, or something about the word “feminist” causes women to shy away from claiming the title.

So why is feminist such a bad word? Researchers involved in a 2010 study claim that popular stereotypes are to blame for the bad image of feminists and feminism. The British survey asked women about their ideas on feminists and feminism. Their responses showed that they associated feminists with mostly negative stereotypes. But what’s more interesting is that most of these connotations have been shown to be false.

1. Unfeminine

The survey showed that women believed feminist women were traditionally unfeminine in manner and appearance. They believed they were less likely to shave, more likely to wear men’s clothing, and have a generally “ugly” appearance.

This popular stereotype has not been supported by past surveys. Women who align with feminist principles or consider themselves feminist are not rated by others to be less feminine or appealing than non-feminist women. In fact, one study found that feminists are more likely to be in a relationship.

feminist-femininity2. Man-Hating

Women included in the survey believed that feminists dislike men and have issues with traditional masculinity. This is similar to results of surveys with men, who tend to also believe that feminists have issues with men.

However, in a study that was shocking to nearly everyone but feminists, feminist women were found less likely to be hostile toward men. Non-feminist women had a greater tendency to ambivalent and even hostile feelings towards men. Researchers say that the non-feminists’ belief and adherence to traditional gender roles leaves non-feminist women feeling frustrated and constrained, resulting in more hostile feelings towards the opposite sex than women who believe in equality.

Not only are feminist women not man-hating, but their relationships also tend to be healthier. In one study, their male partners report greater stability and more satisfaction in their relationships.

3. Lesbian

Non-feminists in the survey believed feminists were more likely to be non-heterosexual, and usually lesbian. They compared the image of a “regular”, non-feminist woman to that of a feminist, who was a manly, ugly lesbian.

Studies have resulted in mixed conclusions on this matter. Some report slightly higher levels of lesbianism among self-identified feminists, while most do not show any relationship between the two. Perhaps women who self-identify as feminists are more likely to be lesbians — of course many (heterosexual) women don’t identify as feminists despite believing in feminist principles.

And as previously mentioned, in a recent study, feminists were more likely to be in a heterosexual relationship than non-feminist women.

Seems like a few adjustments need to be made in perceptions of feminism.

Which of these (mostly false) stereotypes did you believe? And why else do you think feminism has a bad reputation?

See also:

“I Have No Female Friends”

female-friendsWe’ve all heard it before. Sometimes with regret and a hint of longing, but most often with a sense of pride:

A girl or woman says, “I have no female friends”.

What usually follows is a story detailing how different or better the female friendless-woman is in comparison to others of her gender. Or how she was scorned and rejected by other “catty” women and found solace with the guys.

“I have no female friends” is a method used by women to separate themselves from other women. Whether they’ve been excluded and despised by other women, are unsure of how to relate to them, or simply believe that to be a woman means to be lesser than, the mentality has the same origin: the devaluation of women and femininity.

The most common scenario involves a woman who proudly proclaims she has no girl friends and, in fact, prefers the company of men to that of women. She may given reasons such as not being into “girly” subjects and not being prissy and emotional like other women.

girls-night-outThis sort of woman feels a sense of shame about her gender. This shame is likely caused by either or both of two sources. Past and current discrimination of women and popular notions of women as the “weaker sex” in nearly every avenue of life, or her personal experiences with the devaluation of women. This type of woman has been made to feel that if a person wants to be anyone in life they should strive to be as manly as possible. Anything associated with femininity must be shunned, anything associated with masculinity revered.

Less often, a woman claims with remorse that she has no friends of her own gender. She is usually a woman whose personality, outlook, or interests found her at odds with most women. In this situation, the same dynamic is at play, but in the opposite direction.

Women are competitive and exclusionary of other women for many reasons, but most of these reasons stem from restrictive gender roles placed on women — gender roles largely caused by ideas of women as second place to men.

Women try to live up to these ideals, and as a result become competitive and exclude other women. Women who fail to meet expectations of what it means to be a true, feminine woman –and several of those who exceed these expectations– are ignored or even ostracized by other women.

In either case, the mantra “I have no female friends” does a disservice to all women. Instead of creating an environment where women would be more likely to be friendly with each other, it encourages women to see other women as essentially different, at best, and rivals at worst. Women are placed in opposition to each other and none comes up the greater for it.

See also: