The Voice

Feminism not prerequisite for powerful women

Chloe Devitis, Staff Writer

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     With Angela Merkel’s multiple successes within the German political arena, many people are calling her the most powerful woman in the world. But even after all of the struggles toward her goals as a woman in politics, she still refuses to identify herself as a feminist. As a feminist myself, I would still call this the smartest move she could have possibly made.

     Many people have described her style of speech and delivery as being very tasteless and bland, and have pointed out how she downplays the fact the she made history as a woman political leader in Germany. Could this have been the key to her success in a male-dominated political game? Unfortunately as the bearer of bad news, I feel that this might be true.

     Angela Merkel was fronted with large obstacles because of sexist political banter right at the beginning of her career. The New York Times even discussed how she was an assistant for twenty years for Chancellor Helmut Kohl and how he referred to Merkel with degrading terms like “my girl”. Even other men within her party called her “mommy” as another insult.

     The article also mentions how people at first paid very close attention to her appearance rather than what she had to say when she entered politics. This, Merkel explained, is the reason for her very predictable wardrobe and relatively plain hairstyle.

     Maybe because people are drawn to nation leaders with qualities that are associated with masculinity such as strength, confidence, and being somewhat aggressive, that Angele Merkel decided to downplay everything about her gender. She detached herself almost completely from any kind of female identification.

     When thinking about Merkel’s success, I cannot help but remember the disaster that was Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I believe Clinton’s highlighting her gender really destroyed her throughout the election. During her time as a presidential candidate I remember seeing signs that stated, “Trump that bitch” or even things like “Hillary sucks, but not like Monica”. Overall Clinton’s plan backfired because as a result of her accentuating the fact that she is a woman, many insults were heavily associated with her gender.

     Merkel’s decision to disconnect herself from her gender was most likely the greatest decision that could set the stage for her political success. Even though Merkel herself does not associate with feminists, she still promotes the equality and tolerance between all genders in all aspects of life.

     Feminism does not have a universal guideline of values. It has many faces depending on what region, country, or even generation that you are in, so just because women do not consider themselves feminists does not mean that they do not support the equality of all people. Some women, like Angela Merkel, might not consider themselves feminists simply because of the “feminazi” stigma behind the movement. In my opinion, people should not be angered or annoyed at Angela Merkel’s identity, but rather be proud of her difficulties she overcame as well as the possible sacrifices to her identity that have led to her becoming the most powerful role-model for women all around the world.

Chloe is a senior Anthropology and German major . She is the BU Democrats Communications Coordinator and German Club Vice President. She is a staff writer for The Voice

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Feminism not prerequisite for powerful women