Young Feminists Can't Decide Between Obama & Clinton

At Wellesley college, Hillary Clinton's alma mater, young women are split on the Clinton vs. Obama issue, The Washington Post reports. For instance: Katie Chanpong and Aubre Carreon Aguilar are both feminists and political activists. "If you're a woman, you vote for Hillary because of what it means to women everywhere," says Ms. Chanpong, a sophomore. Ms. Aguilar, a senior, says: "If I'm supposed to vote for Hillary just because I'm a woman, that's kind of sexist." The female-only school finds many of its students are having to decide what it means to be a feminist, writes Eli Saslow. "Do you vote for a woman to shatter the glass ceiling and further the cause? Or do you make an empowered, individual decision that is not confined by gender?" Ona Keller, the co-president of Wellesley College Democrats, is "hard-core Wellesley." She wears vintage ERA T-shirts, calls incoming students first-years instead of freshmen. "Everybody who knows me thinks of me as a feminist," Ms. Keller says. "Nobody imagined I wouldn't vote for Clinton."

Senior Kirstin Neff discussed her leaning toward voting for Obama with her mother, who helped Ms. Neff change her mind in five minutes:

"She started telling me about how our generation takes for granted a lot of advances that women have made. She told me what it was like in the '70s and '80s and, you know, the general feeling that you were never as good or as important as your brothers or the men who you worked with. She talked about how women's stakes are so tied up in Hillary's candidacy, and how it could change what it means to be a woman and what all these little girls will think is possible in their own lives. So I just kind of started thinking about it like that, and it was like, 'Hmm. Okay. Do I really want to step in front of all of that?'"


While the women of Wellesley face tough decisions, writer Caille Miller is striking back at Gloria Steinem's op-ed in The New York Times referring to the "Sexual Caste System." In an open letter on Glamour's "Glamocracy" blog, Ms. Miller writes to Steinem: "You said, 'the sex barrier [is] not taken as seriously as the racial one.' How would you know, Ms. Steinem, having never been on that other side? You pulled out that old I'm-the-bigger-victim routine, complaining that black men were given the right to vote before white women, while forgetting that black men were prevented from exercising that right because of poll taxes and the threat of being lynched." She reminds Steinem that the "battles of the 1960s are over" but there are "new battles to be fought that affect all women, young and old, rich and poor, black, white, Latina, Asian. Right now you're not helping us in those battles. You're being—yes, that word you hate, 'divisive.' Ms. Miller notes that as a woman of color, "I want to make my own decisions."

What it comes down to is the meaning of feminism and what it means to be a woman. Is it more important, above all, to further the cause of women? Or is your number one priority to stay true to yourself and your ideals? Check out Hillary Clinton's Wellesley yearbook picture, and try to imagine her as a student and not a candidate. Which side do you think she would be on?

Young Feminists Split: Does Gender Matter? [Washington Post]
An Open Letter to Gloria Steinem [Glamour]

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