My name is Danielle Hope Diamond, and I support Hillary Clinton.
There, I said it. That was easy.
2016 is a world where tangible political and social activism takes a backseat to online rants and declaration. It’s easy for almost anyone to avoid the certain kind of scrutiny that comes with face-to-face judgement.
This election season, I’ve proudly posted articles, endorsements, and personal assessments about Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, I’ve gotten some backlash from Bernie Bros, Protest Third Party Voters, and even the rare, but fascinating Donald “Because I don’t want to, Greta” Trump Supporter. Each time, I’ve strongly defended my fellow “nasty woman” and felt all the more empowered because of it.
But today, I decided to show my support the old fashioned way; I proudly put my brand new Hillary Clinton hat on my messy morning head and headed to the dining hall.
I’ve never been much of a hat person, but when I do choose to wear one it’s almost always for protection. I’ll occasionally wear one to protect my eyes and skin from the sun, but usually I wear it to protect my tired face or unstraightened hair from the view of judgmental eyes. And when I hide behind a hat, its sole purpose is so no one will notice me.
This hat however, turned out to be a giant sign that screamed “look at me!” Instead of hiding my face, my hat became the centerpiece of my physical being.
ENTER insecure voice in my head.
INSECURE VOICE: Are people looking at me? Are people judging me for wearing this? Maybe I should just take it off.
I stopped that script and killed off the annoying little voice. Why was it that after everything I loudly stood for on the internet and at family gatherings, I was afraid of my peers judging a simple H on my head?
Realizing my crippling hypocrisy I kept my hat on and continued to wear it proudly during my meal and that annoying little voice in my head remained silent.
But when I reached the elevator of my dorm building, I found myself face to face with a group of overbearing young men in red, white and blue sweat-bands. Fear started talking again, but now I realized why.
This was the same insecure feeling I get when I wear sweatpants instead of a dress or a more put-together outfit. It’s the same feeling I get when I just pulled an all-nighter, and I’m not wearing make-up to cover the bags under my eyes like I’m supposed to. It’s the same feeling I get when there’s a noticeable blemish on my face and I feel like the world is looking at it.
This group of boys stared at me scornfully as if I were an untamed monkey at the zoo. Through condescending laughter, one of the boys then proceeded to take out his phone so he could photograph this outrageous creature and make his thoughts of me known to the world. After all, the best way to tame an animal is to put it in her place.
I stand with Hillary because of those boys in the elevator. If it wasn’t the hat, it would have been my unbrushed hair, or over-sized t-shirt. I am undoubtedly a confident woman, but even so, people like this have always made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.
I recently read a post online where a man was scrutinizing the way Hillary answered questions at the debate, demanding the world be more critical of her. The fact of the matter is she answered the questions just as directly as every male candidate has in the past, and their responses were deemed sufficient.
The same man that called for more judgement on Hillary later threw a hissy fit because he was asked to stop touching a girl that he was making uncomfortable. He couldn’t understand why this girl wouldn’t want to be touched. (But he doesn’t deserve the scrutiny he’s demanding on Hillary, because he’s really a nice guy and didn’t intended to make anyone feel physically unsafe.)
This is bigger than self-righteous politics. I am not voting for Hillary because she’s a woman, and I am not voting for Hillary because she’s “the lesser of two evils.” I’m voting for Hillary because she is easily one of the most qualified presidential candidates in history. (And if you don’t believe me, just ask the Obamas.)
While her gender plays no factor in my decision, it has undoubtedly effected the way she is treated by the media, public, and other politicians. She’s been criticized for her “unfeminine pant-suits,” for her “pony-tail phase,” and for not wearing make-up out of the house. A great defense against her has been her ability to “please her husband,” and during debates, Donald Trump even hovered over her and invaded her physical space in a domineering and uncomfortable way. And the most common comment I’ve heard from non-Hillary supporters has been “she just rubs me the wrong way,” or “Shrillary? She a bitch, I just don’t like her.” Whether they realize it or not, if a man with the same political history and qualifications was running for president, he wouldn’t be subject to the same level of scrutiny, criticism or hate.
Don’t believe me? Look at Donald “Because I don’t want to, Greta” Trump. When he makes outwardly sexist remarks or offensive, bombastic comments, he gets a free pass. “He doesn’t mean it, it’s just his personality.”
Right now, one of the most qualified candidates in history is running against the least qualified candidate in history. Hillary supporters have been knocked for “voting with their vaginas,” but if we look at our candidates as resumes, policies, and experience instead of personalities, people are voting against vaginas. Donald “Because I don’t want to, Greta” Trump supporters even started a movement to #repealthe19th. (Yes, that’s right. Repeal the 19th amendment, the one that gives women the right to vote.)
I now wear my H for Hillary hat proudly because I believe in Hillary Clinton as a qualified politician and change-maker. She is practical, logical, and knows how to effectively make positive change in a delicate political climate. I only wish that I didn’t have to justify an educated decision by declaring that her gender isn’t why she has my vote. Because while this is true, I’m also not voting for her in spite of the fact that she’s a woman. Were I to succumb to the judgement that Hillary has so actively fought against, every word I have written would be hypocritical and in vain. I wear this hat for me, for the girl that didn’t want to be touched, for Hillary, and for America.