This morning the totally expected happened. I opened twitter, scrolled down a bit and came across an Alex Jones tweet luridly mocking feminists for failing to vote for the woman candidate in the French presidential election this past weekend. This was precisely the reaction had I envisioned, and wrote about, in post just before the second round of voting took place on 07 May. I figured the alt-/far-right would go bat-shit crazy when Marine Le Pen lost, and start behaving the way that the far-left had after Hillary Clinton lost the US election last November.
I wasn’t disappointed. The alt-/far-right promptly spewed vitriol at both the winning candidate, and the French people in general. They even mocked and ridiculed Macron’s wife, intentionally posted bad photos of her to further insult her, and called her a pedophile in a concerted attack very similar to the one that the left launched against Melania Trump.
It was, however, the condemnation of feminists for not supporting a fellow woman that really pissed me off. It also blew the scales from my eyes. I suddenly realized that there was something good to be said about these women who had refused to support Le Pen. The fact is, they chose to judge the candidate on the basis of her stated positions, her history, and her rhetoric in exactly the same way they would have judged a male candidate. This the what women have been fighting for ever since the suffragettes demanded the right to vote: to be taken seriously, and to be judged, base on their abilities and accomplishments alone.
And, that is how French feminists judge Le Pen. They judged her, and found her wanting. They saw her performance on the campaign trail, and in the debate, and noted that all she did was tear down her opponents without offering any solutions of her own. She had nothing to contribute beyond the rhetoric of closing borders and deporting Muslims. Macron may have struggled to formulate policy, but at least he was trying to. Worst of all, Le Pen turned the big debate into a US-style mudslinging event – something the French have an intense distaste for. In French, they would say that they have a ‘horror’ of it, however, if I used the term ‘horreur’ English-speakers would have a problem getting past the English usage of the word, and completely misunderstand the context. I say this because ‘intense distaste’ doesn’t quite sum it up either. ‘Revulsion’ might, but then it might not. Perhaps ‘intense distaste for something that is (to them) revoltingly cringe-worthy or disgusting’? In any case, I think you get the general idea. The French hate it.
But, I digress. Le Pen is closely tied to an ideology that open-minded French people find repugnant. She attempted to display a kinder, softer version of it, yet, in the end, a poisonous snake is still a poisonous snake, no matter what sort of gift-box you present it in. The French people felt Le Pen’s ideology was dangerous. They also felt Macron might be dangerous. They weighed the two, and found Macron to be somewhat less dangerous than Le Pen, and chose him. It was a case of intellect triumphing over emotion.
It had nothing to do with biological sex or gender. Le Pen’s father was rejected twice as firmly as she was when he presented a similar ideology. Perhaps France was a little sexist and went easier on Marine than they had on her father because she is a woman.
If women vote for a woman just because she is a woman, is that equality? If men and women vote for a woman just because she is a woman, is that equality? If a country votes for a woman whose platform they disapprove of, even feel to be dangerous, just because she is a woman, is that really equality? If a country votes for a woman whose platform is morally repugnant to them, just because her opposition is a man, is that true women’s equality? No. It is not. If women have true freedom, then they have the freedom to vote for whomever they believe the best candidate is, even if that candidate is a man.
France’s women, and France’s feminists just scored one for true equality. They chose to vote for the person, regardless of gender, whom they believed to be the better candidate. They refused to be encumbered by the notion that women must support women, even when those women are less qualified, or morally and/or materially corrupt. They refused to view either of the candidates as male or female. The candidates were simply two people vying for the same job.
So why, when women vote according to a candidate’s suitability for a position, and not their gender, do they get lambasted as traitors towards feminism simply because they did not select the female candidate? The answer is simple: because the people who are lambasting them only give a rat’s ass about their own agenda, not the competence of the candidate who wins. It is a sad fact that in the two most recent elections where a man has squared off against a woman, the women were both badly flawed candidates.
In the US election, the female candidate was so corrupt that only people who were equally corrupt, mentally unbalanced, or ruthless ideologues would ever consider voting for her. Her opponent was an unknown factor, yet logic dictated that it was a far, far better thing to take a chance on him than it was to allow someone so utterly corrupt and immoral to take control of the presidency. Strangely enough, in the French election the situation was basically the same, only this time the woman represented the right-wing, while the man was more closely aligned to the left.
For those who will split hairs in order to bolster their pathetically weak arguments: I am not saying that Le Pen is in any way as corrupt as Clinton. She does, however, carry a certain stench about her which the French find repugnant: that of intolerance to people who are from different cultural backgrounds. The French find this stench to be as bad, if not worse than, abject corruption.
So both of these women lost their races because they were inferior candidates, and feminists have finally progressed to the point where they recognized that and felt free to vote against a woman candidate. That is something new under the sun. Women no longer feel the need to automatically support other women if those women don’t measure up. Those people on both the right and the left of the political spectrum who think they are being clever by invoking the ‘why didn’t feminists support the woman candidate’ card are being disingenuous. What they are really trying to do is browbeat women into doing what these people want them to, and venting their anger on them for having had the courage to say ‘non’ to a bad candidate.