Yesterday, for the first time, I cast my vote for a woman for the President of the United States.
I knew it would be emotional, but I even surprised myself.
When I saw her name at the top of the ticket, I actually gasped. I asked my 10 year old daughter to accompany me. She gave me a funny look when she heard me catch my breath.
I went through the rest of the ballot and when it came time to cast my vote, my daughter asked if she could hit the button. I told her with all the controversy around voting, she had better not, but we could do it together.
I started to tear up.
When we got to the car, I actually started to cry.
She looked at me and said "Is this really a big deal?"
And I said "I hope for you, it never is."
And I mean that. I hope it's not another 200 years. I hope that there's not another discussion on how big someone's hips are or if they are too ugly to be President or anything other than if they are qualified for the position.
I should be clear that I did not cast my vote based on gender. In fact, twice, I raised my hand against her in our caucuses.
More accurately, for the other candidates.
My relationship with Secretary Clinton is complicated (and one sided, I should point out, as she has no idea who I am.)
It started in 1992.
In fact, while all these other people have all these issues which aren't really based on anything real (despite random websites), mine is quite simple.
She baked cookies.
Prior to the horror of the cooking baking incident a group of women rudely questioned the audacity of her choice to pursue her career in lieu of being a dutiful wife and mother and staying home. She said: "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but
what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before
my husband was in public life."
I remember hearing that as a senior in college and thinking that was the best thing a First Lady could have ever said. I loved it.
She had busted her butt as one of the few women at Yale Law. She was the first female partner at her firm.
She was unabashedly herself.
But alas, that was not flying with the public.
It became the "Hillary Issue." She was seen as cold and unfeeling.
So she baked the damn cookies.
And while the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are a delicious recipe...
NY Times First Lady Cookies-- Hillary's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Barbara's Traditional Chocolate Chip Cookies
it bugged me.
Back then, even as a young woman who loved cooking, I felt like she had caved. That after all her accomplishments- serving on the Watergate prosecuting committee, working with the Children's Defense Fund- they were cast aside and the true measure of being a woman was based on her cookie baking skills.
That makes her a woman.
A real woman.
The stand by your man crap bugged me more then than now. Now I'm married. I'm over it. Marriage is complicated. Marriages are private. That's their business not mine.
But the cookies were always a thorn in my side.
Silly, I know.
So silly, that I could get past it.
But yet it nagged at me.
And it nagged at me because I know that women are held to a different standard. To be perfect. Strong and sensitive. Smart but not cocky.
No male presidential candidate is held to that.
If she cries, she is weak. If she doesn't cry, she's a bitch.
If she's strong, she's angry. If she angers, she's difficult.
And every woman knows it, because we've experienced it.
We've been in meetings and been interrupted 51 times.
We've had our ideas restated by men- sometimes verbatim- 10 minutes after we've said them and been told they were stupid, only to have a male colleague receive praise for saying the exact same thing.
So I didn't want her to bake the cookies.
I wanted her to tell them to shove the cookies up their...
well you know. I don't want to be vulgar.
That wouldn't be ladylike.
I wanted her to be strong. So I could be strong.
And this entire campaign I still felt like she was being too nice.
I have the fortunate advantage of knowing a few people that have the privilege of working with her. They all have said she's actually very kind. She's brilliant. She's hard working. She's bitingly funny.
They are people I respect. I trust them.
So I supported her.
Plus, I like her platform.
But that last debate. That last debate- pre-cookie Hillary was there.
She was strong. She debated Chris Wallace like a champ.
He pushed her. She pushed back.
There were no fluffy stories. There were not apologies.
She was strong. She was confident.
She was unapologetic for being brilliant.
She was what I wanted in a president.
So when I hit that button it wasn't just about voting for a woman who was running for president. I didn't just vote for my party's platform.
I voted for the woman who finally allowed women to be themselves.
Without reserve. Without apology.
Without the damn cookies.
THAT made me cry.
The overwhelming feeling and support of every woman who came before me.
Of every woman who was beaten as a suffragette.
Of every woman who was mocked for thinking she could ever have the same rights as a man.
Of every woman who burned her bra.
Of every woman who filed a complaint and stood up to unfair treatment.
Of every woman in my women's history classes.
Of every mentor.
Because maybe now we can live in a world where anyone can bake the cookies or not bake the cookies.
And anyone can be president.
Anyone who is qualified.
Regardless of baking skills.