By: Shauna Richardson, Guest BloggerNovember 24, 2015
Image via conversationzimbabwe.com
The 2016 Presidential election is underway, bringing many strong females into the mix. Not only do we have two women running for President of the United States, we also have many other women in the spotlight due to various issues and still many other women rising globally in the world of politics. How amazing is that? Pretty darn amazing.
Despite all of these gains, despite the incredible minds of these women and their capabilities, people insist on making the same jabs. How many times during the Presidential campaign so far have you read comments on their looks, or clothing, or thair or even their smile? And I'm not just talking about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, I'm talking about the women that are covering the debates, to the ones moderating them, to the ones conducting interviews.
Many people believe that this observation amounts to a feminist perspective or an attack on men.
I will say very firmly that feminism is not synonymous with man-hating or hatred for anyone. Despite political party or affiliation, we should be proud of these women who set their lives aside because of their love for this country and their quest to better it, not only for us, but for future generations to come.
Instead of taking a deeper look into their policies and platforms, we have people criticizing their appearance. How on earth does one's make-up routine or choice of outfit reflect their ability to serve in office?
A prime example of this would be Donald Trump's remarks about Carly Fiorina. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he made a negative comment about Fiorina's face. In addition to Fiorina, Trump wasn't pleased with journalist Megyn Kelly and tweeted the infamous tweet that implied a connection between Kelly’s demeanor and her menstrual cycle. Would this ever happen between two male candidates? Would they sit and point out whose shoe wasn't polished quite right or whose suit made him look a little round? The answer is no.
What is more alarming than Trump’s remarks are the ways in which regular Americans have joined in to criticize the appearance of these women. While researching for this article, I saw terrible, derogatory memes about Hillary Clinton. Not only were her looks attacked, but also her role as a wife. I was shocked and in disbelief. How do any of those things remotely matter when it comes to the issues? We are talking about a mother, lawyer, former First Lady, former Senator, and former Secretary of State. If all of those important, pivotal roles in our government don't qualify someone as a candidate, then what does? Also, just recently, the women on The View made humorous remarks about Carly Fiorina's smile. Again, why? And again, how does this focus on the issues at hand?
As women we should be standing up for each other. Despite our own personal beliefs, we should be encouraging their bravery and honoring their courage to take a stand and fight for what they believe in. Somehow, many people in America are limited in their mindset when it comes to women and power. I know many young girls around the world that have aspirations of being a senator, or a member of congress, or even the president. We need the dreamers and the thinkers! But if we continually pick at a woman's appearance, what message are we delivering? We should celebrate their minds, their accomplishments, and dig deep into their policies in order to make the right decision when it comes to election day.
I don't want to see women laughing at the expense of other women or men referring to a woman's looks when there is so much more that could and should be the focal point in the discussion. As you read this article, I hope you take a stand with me and decide to support women and respect their ideas and their minds. We can't continue to attack and demean if we want true progress for our country. Support women in our government. It doesn't mean you have to agree with their policies, it means you agree with their right to speak and be exactly who they are. Write to them on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #ISupportWomenInGovt! We can make a difference and we can make the effort to create a better environment for young girls and women everywhere. It's a great time to be a woman -- lets continue to show the world why.
How can we change the conversation about powerful, public women to put their policies and accomplishments under the microscope instead of their clothes or hair? Tell us about it here.
Shauna Richardson is an actress, writer, and model based out of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Her main goals in life: to never stop reflecting, to help others, always take pictures, and to show young girls around the world their immense worth and value.
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