Image Credits: Hillary Clinton / Youtube

“To young girls and women across the country, I say: do not let others define you. Do not listen to anyone who says you have to vote a certain way or for a certain candidate because you’re a woman. That is not feminism. Feminism doesn’t shut down conversations or threaten women. It is not about ideology. It is not a weapon to wield against your political opponent. A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses and uses all her God-given gifts. And always remember that a leader is not born, but made. Choose leadership.”  – Carly Fiorina

During the 2016 presidential election, I received a lot of backlash for being a conservative. I was a student on arguably one of the most liberal college campuses in the country. Yet, the worst of it came from the so-called modern feminists who attacked not only myself, but other conservative women because we refused to support Hillary Clinton.

I was told I was “against my gender.” Supposedly I was on “on the wrong side of history.” These are among other things that I cannot type out due to their offensive nature. From the group that supposedly supported all women and said they wanted to work together with all women to continue to fight for women, I found it ironic that I was being attacked by this very group. Despite what feminism says in the dictionary, I found this group refused to allow strong women to lead, have their own ideas, and to be themselves, instead of fitting a mold of a modern feminist who would rather spend time tearing down others instead of promoting what they are about.

After the most recent special election in Georgia, when Karen Handel became the first Republican woman to hold a congressional seat in that state, I tweeted, calling out the hypocrisy of the modern feminist movement. I was met with backlash, interestingly enough, having people who said that they shouldn’t be excited about a women being elected solely because she was a women, but because they would rather agree with her politically.

That’s funny.

That was my response when I would defend myself when I was called “against my gender” – when I was told that it as ridiculous that I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she was woman. Apparently, for a conservative woman to not vote based on identity politics is absurd, but it is fine for liberals.

To be honest, if politics are removed from the situation, it is truly an achievement for the women to have a woman be the nominee for a major political party in the United States. But add in the fact she covered up the sexual assaults accusations for her husband, lied about Benghazi, and many more scandals, it slowly becomes less of an achievement and more a negative image placed on the fight for women’s advancement politically.

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When honest, hardworking, and intelligent women win, so does the women’s movement. This double standard and hypocrisy of the modern feminist movement is removing all the good that came from the feminists of the first wave. The women who braved marched for the 19th amendment, the women who were trailblazers in business, politics, and in military service. The one’s who embrace their femininity while also proving that women have a place at the table. Women who have knowingly done what Hillary Clinton has should not be champions of a movement for the empowerment and advancement of women.

If the true definition of feminism were true in the movement today, I would be able to call myself a feminist without any hesitation. Due to the tarnishing nature that the modern feminist movement has placed on it, I can’t. For the sake of the women in my life, both present and future, I hope that we may be able to remove the double standard. I hope we can remove the hypocrisy, and finally come back to the movement that changed the course of women’s lives in the United States forever.

Bailey L
Bailey is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who enjoys writing, traveling, and coffee. When she isn't working, you can find her with her nose in a book or planning her next adventure.

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