When I was in eighth grade, I first began to truly explore feminism. In my spot in the Gifted and Talented program, we were able to do a report on any person we chose. I chose you. I presented my project confidently, as boys in the back chuckled as I said the word “feminist,” and girls smirked, looked at my short hair and tight clothes, and said, “Of course.” As I stood at the front of the classroom, a projection of you and Bell Hooks behind me, I knew that I could get through anything that was thrown at me because there were strong, powerful women to back me up, no matter what. I never imagined that my original feminist hero would be the one to criticize and belittle my choices.
On your appearance with Bill Maher, you commented that young women support Bernie Sanders just so that they can meet boys. As a lesbian, I can firmly say that this is not true. At all. Your saying so is not only extraordinarily heteronormative, but also implies that young girls are only interested in politics because of male attention, thereby implying that girls are silly creatures who do not understand what they are supporting.
I do not do anything for male attention. I support Senator Sanders because he is not afraid to say Black Lives Matter, and his stance on new laws about the restriction of “allowable force” used by police officers. I support him because he has supported LGBTQIA+ rights since long before Hillary Clinton, supporting Pride in 1983, whereas Hillary Clinton was quoted as recently as 2004 saying that marriage “exists between a man and a woman.” I support him because he wants to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, because of his ideas about college tuition being not only affordable, but free, thereby increasing the chances that more women will become educated and more people living in poverty will have a chance to graduate, and because of his immigration policies that expand on President Obama’s, and his consistent activist history.
I know my facts and I know the impact my choices have on my own future. I know why I have a “Bernie 2016” sticker on my desk. I am not here for the boys, I am not here to derail the feminist movement, I am not here to step down and be quiet. I am here to show the world that my youth and my gender do not mean that I am confused. I am here to make a better world for all genders. I am here because feminist icons like you do not understand how feminism has changed. Feminism isn’t about men - it’s about us. My work is not done; as a matter of fact, it is only just beginning. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the feminist movement, but right now, I think it’s time that you update your policies.
We are the new generation of feminism, and we know what we want and why we are here.
When Ted Cruz was asked at Saturday’s GOP debate to explain the practicality of deporting up to 11 million undocumented immigrants he made reference to his “11-page, single-spaced” policy document on the matter. He pointed to deportations under previous presidents to bolster its plausibility. But Ted, those numbers are WAY off.