I have a girlfriend who is a self-professed feminist. “I am woman, hear me roar,” could very well be her motto. But when she told me last week that she wasn’t going to vote in this presidential election (the perhaps biggest and most important election of all time for women, ahem), I nearly fell out of my chair. Apparently, she’s not the only female refusing to head to the polls tomorrow though. Just don’t call yourself a feminist if you don’t vote. And by all means, don’t ever complain about this country’s policies and treatment of women if you don’t vote.
According to Dictionary.com, a feminist is defined as someone who advocates “social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.” In other words, we want equal treatment; we want our voices to be heard. What woman can truly say that those are things she doesn’t want? True, feminism can sometimes take a strong–and even annoying–direction when it becomes too dramatic and petty (like wanting to ban calling college students “freshman” because it contains the word “man”. Please.). But in the case of this presidential election, the need for women to speak up couldn’t be more clear. Or more important.
Did you know that in the 2008 election, only 66% of eligible female voters actually cast their ballots? If the same holds true this year, means millions of women’s voices will not be heard tomorrow. Millions. In fact, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll, up to 90 million Americans total may not vote tomorrow. And why?
“They’re too busy. They aren’t excited about either candidate. Their vote doesn’t really matter. And nothing ever gets done, anyway,” reports USA Today. And in the case of my friend who is sitting this election out, she “doesn’t know enough about the candidates or the issues.”
OK, so if any woman falls into one of these I’m-not-voting categories, here are a few awesome reminders from Mother Jones on why you should vote:
Women make up 51% of our population, and with this majority, we can influence this election. We can let others know how we feel about things like abortion, birth control mandates, equal rights, equal pay, gay marriage, jobs, the economy, our healthcare, the national deficit, defense, education and taxes. But we can’t do that if we’re “too busy” or if we “don’t know enough about either candidate.”
No matter what side of these issues you are on, educate yourself and then please show up and vote. Remember, it wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted the right to vote. Women protested, were tortured, beaten and killed for demanding this right back then. The right that we now have.
So tell me again why millions of females won’t vote tomorrow? They haven’t taken the time to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news to learn about this election? They don’t like the candidates? They don’t think their vote will matter? Seriously???
Voting is a privilege. Be a good feminist.
Photo: cafepress.com and motherjones.com