Op-Ed: I’m with Her

I’m with Her.

And I’m not with Her with a sigh or slouched shoulders or because she is the lesser of two evils; I am with Her through and through, and I am damn proud to be.

I am voting for Hillary Clinton because before she was Hillary Clinton, she was Hillary Rodham.  First, a twelve-year-old girl who wrote to NASA asking how to become an astronaut, only to find out that she couldn’t because she was a girl. Then, when she was a college student organizing teach-ins on the Vietnam War and the first to give a student-led commencement speech at Wellesley College. Next, the woman who worked at the Yale Child Study Center, taking on cases of child abuse and researching problems of migrant workers. 

I’m voting for the woman who was one of two women in the room during her law school admissions test. I’m voting for the woman who became the first female partner of Rose Law Firm in Little Rock while pregnant with Chelsea. The woman who was the first First Lady with the postgraduate degree, the woman who headed the Task Force of National Health Care Reform, the woman who spearheaded the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the Adoption and Safe Families Act, the woman who helped create the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, and the woman who was one of the first to say that women’s rights are inseparable from human rights on a global stage.

I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State. I’m voting for the secretary who helped negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, who was fundamental in laying the foundation for the Iran Nuclear Deal by urging the toughest sanctions in Iran’s history, who negotiated with Myanmar for freer elections, and who played a vital role in reducing American and Russian nuclear arsenals to their lowest in 50 years.

I am voting for a Nasty Woman, who has all-too-often been caught in the double binds of sexism every woman knows so well. I’m voting for the woman who has been called a bitch, had her sexuality questioned, caught flak for not taking the Clinton name right away, was interrupted 51 times by Trump in the first debate, and whose success has continuously been accredited to riding her husband’s success. I’m voting for the woman who has not been afraid to be labeled as aggressive, unpersonable, and bossy, while always carrying herself with poise and grace.

Today, I’m casting my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’m voting to break the glass ceiling; I’m voting for my future daughters; I’m voting for my friends and family; I’m voting for the future; and I am voting for myself. I’m also voting because I wanted to wear a pantsuit, but I couldn’t find one, so my “Ask me about my woman card” button will have to do.

“I was taking a law school admissions test in a big classroom at Harvard. My friend and I were some of the only women in the room. I was feeling nervous. I was a senior in college. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal. But I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room. I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”
“I was taking a law school admissions test in a big classroom at Harvard. My friend and I were some of the only women in the room. I was feeling nervous. I was a senior in college. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal. But I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room. I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”

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Alexis Smith
Alexis Smith

Writer

Alexis Smith is a junior International Studies major from Picayune, Mississippi. She’s a big fan of Jimmy Fallon, gender theory, and Hungarian sheepdogs.