On Hillary Clinton, the Presumptive Nominee, and Sexism and Glass Ceilings

Tonight, the AP and other media entities have determined that Hillary Clinton has enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination, and are now naming her the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.  This is historic.  She will be the first woman to be the nominee of a major party in United States history.

Much of the online buzz is about the timing of the story because five states, including delegate-rich California, vote tomorrow.  This is a diversion that is obscuring the real history and real accomplishment that Hillary has achieved.  If she wouldn’t have become the presumptive nominee tonight, she would have tomorrow, and in all likelihood before the polls close here in California.

The studies on how gender affect personality, achievement, and political success are numerous.  Many countries, including the United States, have very unequal representation in government–there are many more male representatives than female ones.  This may be a turning point in having more female representatives, which will be better for women and for this country.

Just about six months ago exactly, Lex went into labor.  It was harrowing and painful, difficult and tiring.  For me.  It’s hard for me to imagine and try to comprehend how it was for her, and I was in the room until she was wheeled out for an unplanned C-section.

At the time, I thought it was such a weird thing that sexism is so prevalent.  We all have mothers.  All fathers have partners who have given birth.  Birth is such an incredible thing.  So much work.  So much pain.  So much determination is necessary to give birth.  Something so worthy of respect, gratitude, and amazement.  It’s incredible that the people who are literally responsible for the continued viability of our species are treated so poorly.  And I don’t even have a sister or daughter.  I’d think that people with sisters and daughters might be even more respectful of women, might be more likely to be feminists.

Thinking about it now, I imagine that in many places fathers are not near mothers during labor and child birth, which could contribute to the continued prevalence of sexism and misogyny.  But still.  Just about everybody is surrounded by mothers and aunts and female caretakers and teachers and nurses (not to mention those of us who are lucky enough to be surrounded by female doctors, engineers, lawyers, CEOs, etc.).  Everybody is around women enough and cared for by women enough that blatant sexism shouldn’t still be a thing.

You might think that Hillary is a shill, or crooked, or a liar, or any other number of “disqualifying” things.  I don’t, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

Regardless of your stance on Hillary, you should cheer the fact that a woman is the presumptive presidential nominee of a major party in the United States.  It will inspire little girls and grown women that they, too, might be able to accomplish their wildest dreams.  In the United States, women are already a better educated demographic group than men.  Breaking the ultimate glass ceiling likely would fuel more female ambition that will lead to a better, more just society.

The fact that Hillary has done it based on her intelligence, dedication, and experience (in contrast to her general election opponent, who is trying to win with demagoguery, racism, and hatred) is just an added benefit.

I won’t pretend that a win by Hillary in November will end sexism.  Far from it.  Just as President Obama’s two terms have put to rest the notion of a post-racial America, a Madame President would not usher in an Utopian era of gender equality.  But just because one thing won’t solve everything, doesn’t mean it won’t solve anything.  We can and should celebrate Hillary’s accomplishment tonight, which will hopefully be practice for a bigger, more meaningful celebration (at least for Democrats) in November.

One thought on “On Hillary Clinton, the Presumptive Nominee, and Sexism and Glass Ceilings

  1. A historic day, indeed. As men, we can never fathom what women go through. Now, little girls everywhere in this country can dream of becoming anything they hope to become. It’s been a long time coming!


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