As soon as I saw that former Secretary Hillary Clinton has begun offering a Woman Card to make a mockery of Donald Trump on Thursday, I immediately chipped in to tote a feminist-official pink and orange woman card. Take that Trump! The spur of the moment purchase was partly decided to support Clinton, but also to optimistically contribute to the demise of Trump as the GOP candidate.
Alas, the wind behind the sails of my decision began to weaken soon after. I started to ponder the connotation behind the Woman Card. Did I just buy into a gimmick that could also be supporting a dangerous stereotype of the original meaning behind a woman card?
Two days previously I voted in the Pennsylvania primary, hoping beyond hope that Trump wouldn’t win the Pennsylvania primary last Tuesday; but as we all unfortunately know now, he made a sweep with all five states. Speaking live from Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday night, Trump once again stated that “the only thing [Clinton] has got going is the women’s card.”
Trump’s continuous discrimination against women has lasted long enough, not to mention his non-stop sexist diatribes aimed at Clinton. Accusations of women using their gender to move forward need to be supported with factual evidence. Otherwise, that statement is empty and unfounded.
Clinton herself just won four out of the five states in the primary, and at her campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, she took aim and used Trump’s accusations as leverage. “Well if fighting for women’s healthcare and paid women’s leave and equal pay is playing the women card, then deal me in,” Clinton said. Then the Clinton campaign started to offer the “Woman Card” on Thursday, promising that for a monetary donation, backers will receive their very own Woman Card.
On one hand, Clinton’s marketing crew made a genius move, and were able to both successfully fundraise and ridicule Trump at the same time. Essentially, Clinton is literally using the Woman Card to transfer negative attention to positive personal gain. Yet on the other hand, the Woman Card is perpetuating a dangerous label. The use of labeling in itself is volatile, and yet time and time again, the focus is placed on pegging people into boxes.
There’s an unnecessary focus on labeling and stereotyping groups of people, which comes from various facets, including the media. Perpetuating these threatening ideas around labels creates a dangerous cycle of assumptions.
For example, look at the prejudice aimed toward the transgender community over using the bathroom of their choosing. There’s a rampant assumption among the anti-trans community that they will be in danger of being assaulted if a transgender person uses the restroom. This kind of fear mongering speech creates a hazardous environment for a transgender person when it is his or her personal decision.
Traditionally, pulling the “woman card” means that a woman is leveraging her gender to move forward and make some sort of gain in her favor. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that the women card also has a sexualized element to it by undesired attention. Women do not have a prerogative to smile at complete strangers or dress accordingly to societal standards.
And yet, women are actually capable of earning their way to the top without that attention involved, Clinton included. Talking about one’s experiences and sharing one’s vantage point does not equate to using your gender to moving forward. Men doing the same are not accused of using the male card.
On too often of an occasion, the equally damaging “boys will be boys” card is still in frequent use. The “boys will be boys” card is used as an indifferent excuse whereas the “woman card” maintains a negative connotation. That double standard continues the ugly reality of sexism in the United States.
Just identifying as a woman does not mean an assumption can be made that a woman is using her gender in what is traditionally seen as a manipulative way. Clinton is no stranger to discrimination, and has shared her personal experiences as a way to spread awareness of the glass ceiling that she has encountered time and time again.
Trump remarking on Clinton’s gender at all reveals his sexist vantage point. Sexism still rings true in the United States. A woman president does by no mean equate to the elimination of sexism. Being a woman in modern day America comes with its fair share of discrimination.
Her gender has nothing to do with her qualification for being a presidential candidate — and certainly does not guarantee that she will by default receive women’s votes, despite literally being a card carrying member of the club. In fact, many Democratic women, especially under age 45 are disillusioned with her.
Clinton’s literal use of the Women Card does not equate to her automatic gain of women’s vote. Her politics and policies attract voters to support her campaign. However, each voter’s chosen backing of a candidate needs to be determined beyond identity. Gender issues need to be addressed in policy but not be focused on center stage as Trump continues attempt to derail Clinton.
Clinton needs to be careful not to alienate other groups of voters. Her public negative rating among registered voters sits at 41%. Despite being a woman front runner, Clinton’s future as a presidential nominee remains rocky.
Unfortunately, I bought into a Clinton marketing gimmick before fully acknowledging the meaning. Next time, I will ponder and reflect before I buy into a concept, especially politically oriented.
With campaign season upon us, the bloodbath of slandering will continue. More so, it’s important to truly take into context what the candidates true aspirations are and support the candidates who reflect our own.