Women have to walk a ridiculously sexist tightrope to be considered suitable for a position of power.
"But that was just Hillary!" you might scream in indignation. "She was a deeply flawed candidate! Typical 'identity politics,' insisting that I didn't like her because she was a woman!"
Okay, fine. Let's lay aside the fact that all these insults weren't directed at Hillary Clinton's policies or the way she ran her campaign (both of which are deserving of criticism), but rather were highly gendered comments. Let's lay aside the T-shirts that made disgusting, sexual jokes about her, or said she "couldn't satisfy her husband," or encouraged others to vote for Trump because he was "someone with balls." Let's say all of that was irreverent, off-color humor because Hillary Clinton was that uniquely unlikable of a candidate.
Lucky for you, it's a new election cycle, and there are scores of highly qualified women vying for the top job! Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar have made themselves serious contenders for the nomination! Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York may be trailing in the polls, but she's far from out of the race. And let's not forget Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii's 2nd district and even Marianne Williamson!
Wow, what a historic moment for wom—oh, what's that? Elizabeth Warren is shrill and unlikable despite the fact that hardly a day goes by without her presenting a deeply detailed policy proposal on how to address some of America's most pressing issues? Got it.
Kamala Harris is either a mean, ruthless prosecutor or too warm and charismatic depending on the day, you say? Oh, and she only ever got this far in the first place because of someone she dated two decades ago? Makes sense.
And, really, how are we going to expect such unbearable women to face off against someone as infamously likable as Donald Trump? Anyone who isn't a reincarnation of Christ Himself isn't going to be able to hold a candle to his world-renowned warmth and charisma. Do yourself a favor and don't check any poll numbers on that; you might give yourself some false idea that 'likability' isn't an objective variable upon which to gauge elections in the first place.
Here's a hint: if you find a handful of candidates unbearably unlikable and those candidates just so happen to all be female, you may be the problem.
Even 100 years after the 19th Amendment passed both houses of Congress and three years after a woman won the popular vote in a presidential election, female candidates still have to walk a ridiculously sexist tightrope to be considered suitable for the presidency. Strong but not abrasive, charismatic but not soft, friendly but not too friendly. Ambition, authoritativeness, decisiveness, passion; all the traits we as a society deem acceptable and even necessary for leadership in men are suddenly anathema when employed by a female politician. Or, really, by any woman seeking a position of power.
If you're not voting for a female candidate because you disagree with her policy, then I respect that. But if you're willing to shrug off a highly qualified woman and her plans for how to improve this country solely because you don't like the sound of her voice or don't think she smiles enough? Then you may be a misogynist. Sorry to have to break it to you.