Two weeks ago, I didn’t cast my absentee ballot in favor of Donald Trump. Part of the reason was definitely because he is a man.

Go ahead, respond. Tell me that it’s stupid and irresponsible not to vote for a candidate based on gender. Tell me that I’m an anti-Trump bandwagoner who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Tell me I’m being discriminatory, or better yet, sexist. Tell me I’m a man-hating feminist.

But I dare you to tell me that I’m being unfair. Because you’d be right, I’m not being fair at all.

Isn’t it frustrating to know that I intentionally disregarded someone because of their gender? That I based their incompetency on their identity? That I marginalized an individual because of their association with a particular group?

Did I upset you? I’m glad if I did. Because “upsetting” is putting my feelings about this election cycle lightly.

I need to mention that no one is perfect, and I’m not oblivious to the fact that every candidate has their faults. So no, I’m not blind to email scandals. But in the grand scheme of our election, I don’t think they should be our only focus.

What we do need to look at though, are double standards. If Hillary Clinton walked into the national spotlight with five children from three different husbands she would be shunned and probably labeled a whore. If Hillary Clinton interrupted Donald Trump at the second presidential debate 51 times, she would be labeled as a bossy bitch. If Hillary Clinton called someone a “bad hombre,” or flung racial slurs at Americans, she would be crucified.

So why are we letting Trump get away with treating the American people like garbage?

I asked a female coworker who plans to vote for Trump what she thought about his rhetoric. She told me something to the degree of “I’m a grown-a– woman, and his words don’t phase me.” She told me she cared about politics and policy, not what he said about other people. I’ve heard this defense from other women as well, who write off his comments as “just what boys say” or “just words.”

But I still don’t get it. You don’t have to be personally offended by something Donald Trump says to realize that it isn’t okay. We, as Americans, need to stop making excuses for men who think it’s permissible to talk about sexually assaulting women. We, as women, need to wake up and realize that we could live in a world where men don’t sexualize and degrade us based on our looks, our character, or our gender. If we, as women, want equality, we need to stop subjecting ourselves to “leaders” who continually demean us.

What aggravates me even more is that we shouldn’t have to talk about this. It’s 2016. Nearly 300 years since our country’s foundation, and we are still treating women like they’re property, and saying that their opinions and ideas don’t matter. I’m exhausted from hearing about Hillary’s emails or about how much of a “nasty woman” she is. It’s not about the emails, or how her voice sounds, or how much money she has, or the way that she addresses a crowd. It’s sexism, and it’s alive and well in our democratic system.

All of this he-said, she-said, bad hombre, nasty woman, build the wall, arrest the felon talk is getting in front of the real issues. The way I see it, Hillary has solutions for healthcare, taxes, education, the environment, and immigration. Trump doesn’t. He spins cyclical arguments loaded with lies and intimidation tactics to get people to vote for him. He doesn’t have a plan, and if Americans would stop buying into his showmanship, I’m sure they’d see it, too.

Two weeks ago, I cast my absentee ballot in favor of Hillary Clinton because she is the most qualified candidate for the job. And also, because she’s a woman.

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Emma Gauthier
Emma is a senior journalism and English double major with a minor in political science from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has worked for the Cigar since her first semester at URI as a staff reporter, then web editor, news editor and finally Editor in Chief. Emma also edits for the URI research magazine, Momentum, and hopes to find a career in political reporting upon her graduation in May.