Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Splitting the Vote

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When my dad was a senior in high school, he took a government class. The class had to elect a president and, before the speeches, the girls nominated the most popular girl and the boys nominated their most likely candidate. A head count revealed that there were 18 girls and only 15 boys. So, the cleverest boy promptly nominates another girl. The boys look at him in consternation while the girls look amused, thinking maybe he had a crush on her. Only later, after the speeches, did it become apparent that this third nominee was going to split the vote. The boys all voted for the boy and the girls couldn’t be cruel enough to vote as a block for just one candidate, nor did anyone think fast enough to withdraw from the race. So the girls split down the middle and the boy won. The girls were being kind and the boys luckily had one clever boy among them.

I was reminded of this story by Roxane Gay’s article “Bad Feminist”. In it, she brings up one of the main problems I had with feminism when I first heard of it. There are so many definitions for it! There’s trans-exclusionary feminism. There’s conservative feminism. There’s feminine feminism. There’s the stereotype of what people think feminists look like. And everyone thinks their own way is the one and only “right” way.

This movement comes from a good place. Of course women and men should have equal rights. But if things continue the way they have and the movement keeps dividing itself, it will never work. And then we’ll have to have a male president in government class. We can’t let that happen again.

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One thought on “Splitting the Vote

  1. I completely agree with your qualms of feminism–it seems counter intuitive to have so many definitions for one cause. Sometimes it divides it and makes it harder for things to get done.
    But even though it can be considered a bad attribute of the cause, it is also an amazing attribute of it.
    I can have a different definition of feminism (one that works for myself and the way I live) then the person sitting next to me. And then this is where the beauty of Western feminism lies: both truths for the individuals are equal.
    So yes, feminism has a lot of definitions, but when have causes ever been perfectly cohesive? American Revolution: strong state government or a strong federal government?–every life is important: pro-choice or anti-choice.

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