Rethinking America

I’m Not Here for The Boys

Why Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, is winning over Millennial women.

Credit: Brian Stalter -


  • I am voting for Bernie Sanders because I am a feminist, not despite that.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is a feminist issue, and I stand with Bernie Sanders’ plan.
  • Reigning in Wall Street and the influence of corporate power in politics is a feminist issue.
  • Ending fracking is a feminist issue, and I stand with indigenous women and our environment.

Contrary to the claim posed by feminist icon Gloria Steinem, I am not here for the boys when it comes to supporting Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

Do not tell me to “grow up” or “get with the program,” as the New York Times phrased it. Do not tell me what to think, what to believe, or whom to vote for.

I know how to think – and I am a member of what may easily constitute the most informed generation on a wide range of public policy issues.

Also, do not tell me, as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did, that there’s “a special place in hell” for women who don’t support other women for leadership roles unconditionally.

But more than anything else, do not call me a bad feminist for supporting Bernie Sanders. It’s actually the other way around: I am voting for Bernie Sanders because I am a feminist.

Wages as a feminist issue

Senator Sanders is the only presidential candidate who supports a $15 minimum wage for all Americans. The national minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.

An American working full time at the current federal minimum wage earns $15,080 per year, which is far below the federal poverty line for any household with children.

Consider as well that the majority of minimum wage employees in the United States are women of color and young women. This low minimum wage places these groups of women at serious risk not just for experiencing poverty, but also for staying in poverty.

That makes raising the minimum wage a profoundly feminist issue, and that is why I stand with Bernie Sanders’ plan to raise the wage to $15 per hour.

Wall Street as a feminist obstacle

Senator Sanders is also the only presidential candidate who has rejected all Wall Street donations.

Contrary to the protestations of the Clinton campaign, in a post-“Citizens United” America, who would dispute that financial institutions and corporations donate large sums of money to political campaigns in exchange for political favors?

These favors often include deregulatory policies that hurt middle class Americans. Harmful byproducts of financial deregulation directly affect women, especially young women.

The Wall Street crash of 2008 and the subsequent economic downturn that took place across the globe disproportionately affected women. African-American women in particular saw much of their two decades worth of income gains completely erased by the recession.

The burden and long-term effects of high youth unemployment in developed economies have also disproportionately fallen on the backs of women.

All of this makes reining in Wall Street and the influence of corporate power in politics a feminist issue.

Bernie Sanders’ uncompromised campaign puts him in a unique position to enact real, systemic change on the influence of corporate money in politics.

Environmental justice for women

Sanders is also the only presidential candidate that opposes the use of hydraulic natural gas fracking for U.S. energy production. That puts him in contrast not only to Republicans across the board, but also to Hillary Clinton.

Fracking pollutes the land and water and accelerates climate change. This puts low-income women across the globe in serious jeopardy.

Fracking also frequently takes place on indigenous lands, which tears apart the fabric of their primarily matriarchal societies.

Ending fracking is a feminist issue, and I stand with indigenous women and our environment.

Bernie Sanders champions these values in his environmental platform better than any other presidential candidate in the race.

I’m voting for Bernie Sanders because I’m a feminist who supports marginalized women who are typically excluded from the political process.

Why we’re “feeling the Bern”

Unfortunately, women like Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright are apparently unable to wrap their minds around many of those considerations.

To me, gender factors are an important consideration, but they alone cannot determine voting behavior, as Steinem and Albright suggest.

Yes, we may stand on the shoulders of those women who came before us. But that heritage cannot be turned into a “legacy debt” shackling our political freedom of maneuver, as the Clinton campaign and its surrogates suggest.

That is why the large majority of young Democratic women who will vote or have already voted for Bernie Sanders #FeelTheBern. See you in hell, ladies!

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About Talia Lepson

Talia Lepson is Chair of the College Democrats of Massachusetts Women's Caucus.

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