The American Dream Is not Just for Boys
It's not that you should vote because of someone's gender, but the fact remains that women have been underrepresented in positions of power for years. Still, to this date, arguably the most powerful country in the world has yet to see a female head of state. Moreover, as this video by Elle UK shows painfully clear, there is just an all over lack of female representation in politics as a whole:
Simply said, having the mere choice to vote for a female representative is something that has not been as obvious or self-evident as some might think. The only women who were ever successful in winning major parties' elections were not even presidential, but vice-presidential candidates: Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 for the Democrats and Sarah Palin in 2008 for the Republicans.
So yes, it is kind of a big deal that there are two contenders this year that actually seem to stand a chance: Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. And it's not that it's commendable that a woman has the skills set to become the new POTUS, or surprising. If anything, what is surprising - and slightly offensive - is that people have never really taken them seriously before. After all, women make up roughly 50 percent of the population - in fact, the current male to female ratio in the US is 0.97 : 1.
Moreover, statistics show that women have been active on lower levels of politics and have actually proven to be more successful than men in many different areas. Female governors, for example, have significantly higher approval ratings - and that has nothing to do with the fact they have a vagina. In fact, the efficiency rate of women in leadership roles is higher than that of men. That might have to do with the leadership competencies of a woman that are more positively assessed for women than for men.
Turning to science, there is empirical evidence that congresswomen are decidedly more effective than men - they get things done and outperform their male counterparts. The sad part is that this might be caused by the rooted misogynist bias in voters, that tend to favor male candidates, resulting in only the best female candidates being considered for the position. Whatever the cause, the outcome shows that it is not only democratic to have a woman represent the people for once, she will probably be better at it too!
And yes, of course, she has a different viewpoint, and she will bring issues to the table that other presidential candidates might not have considered - like paid maternity AND paternity leave, Planned Parenthood and other issues. But that is exactly the same for any presidential candidate carrying his/her own experiences and background that will determine the outlines of his/her eventual policies. It doesn't make a woman less qualified for the role of POTUS if she's able to include more issues on the agenda.
Politics is about democracy, it's about representation and it's about trying to decide what path will lead your country to greatness. What will allow each individual to fully prosper and reach his/her full potential? How can you provide for security, education, employment, equality, dignity and respect? Those are the things that matter. And if you can't come up with an actual policy or an answer that holds any relevant content whatsoever but instead have to fall back on attacking someone's appearance or gender, then you're an awful politician and an awful human being.
No, it's not all about gender, but then again it kind of is. A woman isn't any less of a leader than a man, and the powerful candidacies of both Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton show that the American dream is not just for boys. They've proven themselves before, and they will do so again - now's not the time to joke about pantsuits or ask about their nail polish. It's time to take them seriously; it's time to take their candidacy seriously, and it's time we start treating them as the norm - not the exception.