As a woman who identifies as what Fox News would call a “raging radical leftist,” you might be surprised to learn that I would vote for Governor Sarah Palin. A woman who once called feminists a “cackle of rads.” Or Senator Joni Ernst, who brags about carrying around her 9 millimeter everywhere she is able. Or CEO Carly Fiorina, who described abortions as a plot to harvest fetus brains. But if these women were running against a man of any party, they just might get my vote.
Not to say this would be an easy decision for me to make, as I also have strong liberal ideals from which I do not deviate. I just know that I would have a very difficult time voting for anyone else on the ticket, if a woman is running. Why? Because representation matters.
Specifically, descriptive representation matters. It is the idea that who represents you matters; you should share similar frequent experiences and have similar characteristics. This is true regardless of shared policy position or policy congruence.
It is important to remember that women represent 51.1% of the United States population according to the 2020 census, but only 24% of the U.S. Senate, 27% of the U.S. House of Representatives, 30% of statewide elected executives, and 31% of state legislative seats. The composition of the United States population should be mirrored in the government.
That is also not taking into account how women of color, Republican women, young women, and low-income women are especially underrepresented. Women have been excluded from running for public office long enough, and they should not be discriminated against based on their beliefs.
The only way that we will be able to change the political discourse, and the nature of our political system, is through more women running. It is the only way we are going to break down the stereotypes around who is a leader, what a leader looks like, and what a leader sounds like.
Even though some women who run for public office may not run on platforms that are supportive of the standard feminist agenda, it is important for women of all beliefs to see themselves represented in the political sphere. 61% of women candidates identify as Democratic and just 39% identify as Republican candidates. In order to show that women as a whole are able to hold elective office, women of all political orientations must get elected. It is also equally as important to have women represented on both sides of the political spectrum, and right now there is inequality in those numbers.
I strongly believe in voting for the candidates that embody my political beliefs. But until the gender disparity in U.S. politics is nonexistent, women do not have the luxury of just being seen as candidates. Before their platforms are even announced, they have a disadvantage in an election at any level, simply because of their gender. As I see it now, a woman getting elected in any position of power, even if her party affiliation does not line up with mine, is a win for women in general.
I am by no means a Republican, but if voting for one furthers the overall agenda of dismantling the patriarchy, I’ll be filling in that bubble.
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