Playing The Woman Card
By Erica and Karen
Donald Trump is saying that Hillary Clinton is playing the “woman’s card”--asking people to vote for her solely because she is a woman. Trump goes on to say that were she a man, she wouldn’t get 5% of the vote. Meaning that only gender, and not anything else, matters to the electorate. Maybe it’s not surprising that someone who sees women only as shapely objects would focus on gender as their defining characteristic.
Historically, gender hasn’t really been much of an issue on the national political stage since most candidates have been men. Nobody ever said that men were playing the “man’s card” when they asked for votes. Now, however, that a woman will lead the the Democratic ticket, The Donald believes that gender is his trump card. It reminds misogynists that they don’t want a woman president, period. And it diverts the conversation from obvious qualifications and important issues to another different “birther” issue--this one of gender, not place.
The “woman’s card” has, however, been with us for some time in other respects. Once upon a time, it was used to explain women’s success by saying that they slept their way to the top. More recently, women’s success is often explained by the need to fill the diversity slot. Why is it so hard to accept that women can get to the top on their own merits? The “woman’s card” that Trump is talking about is just another form of the same prejudice. This one argues that, but for gender, women can’t win elections.
Gender is obviously important to who we all are and plays a role in our most formative experiences. Hillary, like us, is a woman whose life experiences have, at least in part, been defined by her gender. And, to that extent, it’s relevant to knowing who she is and understanding her world view and vision for the future.
Gender is not relevant to Hillary’s qualifications to be Commander in Chief. And she’s not arguing that it is.