Bernie Sanders’ Female Supporters Want To Break The Gender Barrier… Just Not Now – Huffington Post

For the Clinton campaign and its supporters, there is a certain level of frustration over these defections. Albright’s comment was the most sharply enunciated of that sentiment, but it was hardly the only one. Gloria Steinem, the famed feminist, journalist and political activist, blamed adolescent attraction to boys for the reason that women were supporting Sanders’ candidacy (the attraction being to his young male supporters, not Sanders himself). She subsequently apologized for the remark.

Several of Clinton’s female supporters, meanwhile, copped to feeling bewildered that their friends weren’t swayed by the potential history to be made in her candidacy. Claire Walsh, 69, of Deep River, Connecticut, said that at a recent retreat of Democratic women, she “almost fell off the chair” after hearing all her peers gush about Sanders.

“How can you do this? How can you not support a woman who has been dragged through the mud for so long for so many decades?” she said.

Every female Sanders supporter interviewed for this piece agreed that Clinton has faced sexism and double standards throughout her career. And they also felt that it was because of those roadblocks that she’d had to adopt what some perceive to be not-so-appealing political traits (ambition and firmness being the two terms most frequently used). Their empathy for her was made even deeper by the fact that many had faced sexism in their careers.

“Nothing can be tougher than having your boss tell you you can’t have the raise you deserve because the other guys are married and have kids,” said Joni Salvas, 74, who was volunteering at Clinton’s Manchester office and had worked in manufacturing.

“Hillary has been through that too, absolutely. But not as bluntly as I have,” she added. She said she eventually left that field because, “I don’t have a military pension, I don’t have a penis and I’m getting the hell out of this joint.”

But although they related to Clinton, they also felt comfortable compartmentalizing their own experiences from their political choices. Whereas the prospect of having the first female president is ever-present at Clinton’s events, it is very much secondary, if not tertiary, at a Sanders rally.

This was especially true among younger women, who, according to the polls, support Sanders over Clinton by large margins. 

I think that is counterintuitive,” said Megan Smilikis, 18, of Massachusetts when asked if female voters should consider gender when weighing Clinton’s candidacy. “Feminism isn’t about making a woman the same or better than a man. Just to support someone because she is a woman isn’t what that is about. Just to put someone in office because they are a woman is a step back.”


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