Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Let me make it clear that I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter. I’m not a rabid opponent, like some, and in fact in the unlikely event that she gets the nomination I will probably end up campaigning for her. But she’s not my first choice. Or really even my second choice.

But one day last week, Lucy came home from school breathless with excitement.

Lucy: Mommy! Guess what!

Me: What??

Lucy: There’s going to be a girl president!

Me: Uh…

Lucy: She’s trying to get yeleted right now!

Me: Right! That’s right. A woman is trying to get elected president.

Lucy: Oooh, I hope she gets yeleted!

Me: Why?

Lucy: Because that would be so cool, to have a girl president!

As a matter of fact, this is my sentiment exactly. It would be so cool to have a girl president! Just not, you know, this girl president. I guess I thought that we’d come far enough that I didn’t have to support her just because she’s a girl (er, woman). But Lucy’s reaction to the possibility of a female in the White House makes me question that belief, because my gut-twisting realization is that having a “girl” president is a big deal to Lucy.

How does she know that this matters? Sure, she knows about the presidency, and she’s understood for quite some time that voting is important. But this level of excitement on her part is usually reserved for things of monumental importance, like a trip to the ice cream stand or permission to stay up past bedtime. How can she possibly have internalized the underrepresentation of women in politics so completely in a mere six years? And what does this mean for me, her unabashedly feminist mother? Do I have to start supporting female candidates based solely on their gender just so that there are more role models for my daughter?

No, of course not. But this is a reality check for me. Maybe we haven’t come as far as I thought.

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