Democratic leader and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton running for President has caused a much-needed discussion about feminism to surface—that is, the concept of corporate feminism. I started thinking about this after hearing someone sarcastically state that Clinton should win the election simply because she is a woman. To be fair, many of the articles covering the debates and campaigns from a left-wing perspective have taken this stance seriously. Obama’s election brought with it many celebrations and challenges simply because he was the first person of colour to be elected as President. For some, the next logical left-wing step would be to elect a woman, specifically Clinton. But would this actually be good for women’s rights in America?
It’s important to mention that Clinton has already done loads of cool shit for women in America during her role as first lady to hubby Bill. During her 1995 speech in Beijing she declared that “women’s rights are human rights”. She also helped to form the US Justice Department’s Violence Against Women Office and partnered with a domestic violence trust to organise a series of conferences devoted to promoting female leaders and encouraging women to get involved in politics. However, after leaving the White House and entering the US Senate, her female-centered agenda seemed to disappear altogether. When she ran for the Democratic nomination in 2009, her goals appeared more centre-left than ever. Aside from a few nods to the widening pay gap between white women and women of colour, Clinton failed to take any memorable stance on intersectional issues. Many feminists of colour became sceptical of her and wondered “whether she will be a champion or a voice for them—or only for white women”.
This time around it seems Clinton is making more of an effort to redefine her feminism to become “all-inclusive”. Her announcement video took great pains to mention almost all minority and marginalised groups living in the US. She mentioned police brutality and a more in-depth look at income inequality between gender and races during her speech at the Women in the World Summit. Seeing a woman as president would be awesome, there’s no questioning that. But she may not be our saviour. A feminist student from New Jersey put it perfectly during a recent interview: “It’s problematic to assume that just because she’s a woman, she’s the best spokesperson for all women.”
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