Why Albright and Steinem’s Offensive Remarks are Inconsistent with Feminism


By Joy Xie and Anne Jorgenson

The views on what defines feminism have changed over time. There are still numerous opinions, but the general consensus is simply for women to have the same rights as men. However, these differences of opinions are still causing controversy, especially with the recent remarks of Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem, who are both urging young women to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries. These two notable and courageous feminists have received backlash for their rather insensitive and anti-feminists arguments, which were meant to shame young women into voting for Clinton because she is a female candidate. These women are clearly dedicated to the cause for female equality, but these recent remarks just don’t make much sense in light of their views.


Madeleine Albright


Gloria Steinem

Madeleine Albright, for one, has been advocating for women’s rights since the start of her career in 1993, when she became a United States ambassador to the United Nations. She continued to represent her values as the first female Secretary of State under Clinton’s presidency. Similar to Ms. Albright, Gloria Steinem has a long history as a female activist. Steinem has traveled to many countries as a lecturer and spokesperson for women’s rights for a number of years. She has even written a book titled My Life on the Road, which details her views and what she has done for feminism. If you would like to know more about her, you can visit her website at http://www.gloriasteinem.com. Although these women have been indispensable in their crusade for women’s rights, their recent, contradictory comments about women have caused shock and outrage in the entire country.


In an effort to gain votes for Hillary Clinton, Albright and Steinem told young women, who have been outdrawn by her opponent, Bernie Sanders, to vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman. As Madeleine Albright declared when introducing Hillary Clinton at a Clinton rally last Sunday, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” This obscene comment outraged many women, both young and old. We make our own decisions on whom to vote for based on merit and policy ideas, not gender. Even more offensive and shocking was when Steinem tried to explain why younger women were supporting Bernie Sanders in the poll, asserting, “When you’re young, you’re thinking: Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie”. These remarks, which were intended to raise Hillary Clinton’s popularity by emphasizing feminism, have instead undermined the movement.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines equality as, “the state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.”

That means that equality is about being treated the same regardless of what gender, race, sexual orientation, or anything else you identify as. So by saying young women must vote for Hillary Clinton just because they happen to share the same genitalia with her, these famous equality-driven women are fighting for the exact opposite – inequality.

Implying that young women are supporting Sanders purely because of their sex drive displays an archaic mindset. What about the young females who identify as lesbian, asexual, pansexual, or any other sexuality – what’s their ulterior motive for voting for Sanders? It won’t be “the boys” as Steinem put it. In addition, by using the words “girls” and “boys”, Steinem subtly insinuated that Sander’s supporters are adolescent and immature, two traits often associated with youth. For reference, the “young girls” Steinem was referring to are actually women aged 18-29 years old – denoting them as girls seems condescending.

If you do not agree with Hillary’s policies or stances, you don’t have to vote for her. That’s the beauty of a democracy; it’s your choice. If you want to vote for her just because she is a woman, you are well within your right to do so. If you want to vote for her because you agree with her policies, you can do that too. Or if you would rather vote for Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, or any other candidate, that’s your choice. To imply that women don’t have the right or capability to decide whom they want to vote for is insulting. Vote for the candidate you think would help better this country. Consider the stances and policies of each candidate, figure out what is important to you, and vote for the candidate who honors and agrees with your beliefs and values.

Times have changed and feminism is not just about women climbing up the ladder, but about women having the capability and opportunity to make their own decisions based on their own values and no one else’s. Each of us has the capability and the choice to decide whom we want as our nominee.

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