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Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams

Women are so strong.

I didn’t make that statement from a feminist’s perspective, though I’m absolutely fine if you perceive it that way. The fact is, women are strong. So are men, but I choose to focus on the strength of women, because they are often the most questioned and criticized of the two sexes.

I know women who have endured hours and hours of labor with no medication. I know women who have been challenged professionally by men over and over again, yet they persevered and often outperformed and achieved higher acclaim than their male counterparts. I know women who can drive semis, mine coal and climb the highest utility poles in the pouring rain — just like, or better than, their male counterparts. I know women who have encountered nearly every obstacle thrown their way — disease, desertion and poverty — yet managed to withstand the challenges and eventually saw triumph.

While women are strong, they still have moments of weakness — moments when, for an isolated period of time, they were defeated. Moments when they didn’t know the answer, or how to overcome an obstacle. Moments when all they could do was succumb to the situation at that particular time in their lives.

If only for a minute, even the strongest of women give in to the challenges. Sometimes this surrender is voluntary, and sometimes those women who are so steadfast in their attempts to persevere are forced to surrender.

The latter happened to Hillary Clinton last week when cameras caught her collapsing as she and her team prepared to board their vehicle.

As soon as the video footage hit airwaves, people attacked.

“She’s unhealthy.”

“She needs to see a neurologist.”

“What type of disease is she withholding from the public?”

Her Republican counterpart has even argued that Clinton lacks the physical strength and stamina to be president.

Well, I’d rather take an exhausted president who only has enough strength to sit and run the country over an ill-informed president who has no idea how to run a country.

But I digress.

My point is, bringing up Clinton’s health in such an overtly slanted and incorrect manner is not only unfair, but also completely irresponsible.

People are referring to her as weak because she collapsed, rather than acknowledging that she collapsed because she never gave up. Her body made her give up. In my opinion, that takes tremendous stamina, strength and determination.

As Election Day — and the reality of this country having to elect its next president — nears, I feel a sense of urgency to educate people and to implore them to not get distracted by the hoopla. Making something out of nothing is hoopla. So are ignoring the facts, playing into propaganda and deciding not to vote.

It’s absolutely absurd, and I am so tired of it.

I’m also tired of people (mainstream media in particular) picking Hillary Clinton apart bit by bit, while ignoring the impropriety and incompetence of her opponent.

Clinton is continually criticized for being distrusting of the media and for not being forthcoming on things relative to her personal life. There is a dichotomy between her public and private life, but why is that so bad? Shouldn’t people be more interested in what she has done to positively impact the lives of others? Isn’t making progress on minimum wage more important than who she spends her private social time with? Aren’t issues surrounding early childhood development, equal pay and affordable health care things the public should be concerned with?

With the majority of her lifetime in the spotlight, Clinton understands that exposure can often equal evisceration.

At the end of the day, much of the “hoopla” that surrounds Clinton is based off of sexism, plain and simple. There is a disregard and undermining of female leaders — especially female leaders who are audacious enough to think they can run countries. Clinton isn’t the first woman to encounter such discrimination and scrutiny. Germany’s Angela Merkel experienced it, and even women like Margaret Chase Smith and Shirley Chisholm, who ran for president in of the United States in 1964 and 1972 respectfully, have experienced forms of oppression based solely on the fact that they are women.

Clinton herself has said there is a level of “visceral … fear, anxiety, insecurity (that) plays a role” in how America regards ambitious women.

She is correct. But what is sad about her comment is that like many men, there are some women who feel the same way about a woman’s ability to lead a country.

Now, more than ever, America needs to wake up from its deep slumber of unconsciousness.



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