As are many teenagers, I am trying to figure out who the heck I am in the world; the presence of the 2016 election during this time of self-discovery is influencing the way I figure these important things out. The rhetorics of the two major-party candidates are shaping my self-perception as a sixteen-year-old queer female. One candidate represents more of my identity in his/her policy and discourse than the other, yet those of both candidates have equally great impacts on how I see myself.
Throughout his candidacy, Donald Trump has said a bunch of really horrible things about women. I am nauseated at the fact that this man may soon be at the forefront of the decision-making in this country. Though Trump himself does not make me quake in fear and disgust, as the merit of his words is insignificant in my mind, the fact that some of his statements ring true with a large percentage of the population makes me see clearly how women are subordinated in this country. If sexism is institutionalized and internalized in this society to such an extent that one uncouth orange man with some money can actually make a difference in the political system, is there any point at all in trying to combat that sexism? The answer that I have come to is: yes. There is a point. Have we really fought this long and hard for gender equality only to be set back fifty-plus years because some dude with bad hair and bizarre hand gestures has gotten into the heads of some voters? No way.
A Trump presidency is a threat to the future of teenage girls around the country: if he is elected, our futures will be limited due to our gender. Empowering girls is necessary for countries to succeed; Donald Trump is merely unenlightened about the power of young girls, which is his loss TBH. That is why I call all teenage girls who give a crap about their futures to advocate for a president who gives a crap as well.
This president would be Hillary Clinton, who has reinforced everything my mother taught me: I should be proud to be a woman. The fact that a woman has made it unprecedentedly far in the presidential election has empowered me to further push back against Donald Trump’s vulgar sexist rhetoric. Hillary Clinton has strengthened my feminist mindset and propelled me on my quest to empower myself and other teenage girls to speak out, regardless of the societal norms are being impressed upon us. Throughout her campaign, she has established herself as a staunch supporter of American women; her slogan, “Stronger Together”, reinforces the ideal of sisterhood and expands it to include all races, religions, and classes -- the true meaning of intersectional feminism. If Hillary Clinton is elected President on Tuesday, November 8th, my future and the future of teenage girls like me will be further expanded. Hillary is the candidate who believes in #girlpower!
Often, I wonder if my opinions on this election would be different if I were old enough to to vote. (I used to joke that the only reasons I wanted a fake ID were to see SNL live and to vote.) I have the knowledge to make an informed decision about who should lead this country for the next four years, as do many other sixteen-year-olds. Oftentimes, I find that a lot of teenagers are more politically-minded than adults due to the very fact that we are not properly represented in the government. When we are denied political representation, elections become even more magnetic. While I understand that the majority of sixteen-year-olds don’t pay taxes or work full-time jobs or raise children or do any of those “adult” things and thus, aren’t directly affected by many of the policies promoted by the presidential candidates, we should have some semblance of a voice in the government. After all, we are impacted by the President and his/her policies. However, since I cannot make tangible change with a ballot, I will ensure that I campaign for Hillary (aka hillbae or hillz) whenever I can, as she will make it possible for me to have a future.
I support Hillary Clinton wholeheartedly in the 2016 Presidential Election. She is the better candidate and has made me proud to be a sixteen-year-old queer female, even though I can’t vote and am underrepresented in politics and government. In searching for my identity through the maze of Democrat and Republican rhetoric, I have found a community of teenagers (of all different political backgrounds) who agree with me: growing up during an election affects the development of one’s character, regardless of one’s ability to make tangible political change with a ballot. The anger I feel towards Donald Trump’s statements and the way they have awakened a lot of the dormant sexism in American society has pushed me to fight more for the rights of girls and women everywhere, even if that fight is not accomplished by directly electing the next president. Even if he isn’t elected president, the fact that he has made it so far in the election by expressing such sexist beliefs proves that this country needs more feminist voices, especially those of teenagers who will soon grow to run it.