With Election Day comes the weird ritual of remembering that women have only had the right to vote for less than 100 years. In the final hours of 2012’s exhausting gender gap/war on women, it’s hard to even picture what presidential elections were like before the Nineteenth Amendment. What did campaigns even do before they obsessively researched and shamelessly pandered to female voters?
But while political analysts and pundits have become more enchanted by the elusive female vote since 1920, the act of voting, happily, remains one of the un-gendered things a girl can get up to.
Even the stickers are gender-neutral.
Contrary to what Lena Dunham says, casting a ballot is not at all like losing your virginity, no matter how many male candidates inaccurately explain your own body to you beforehand. Thinking reproductive rights are a deal-breaker doesn’t mean you vote with your genitals (sorry, “ladyparts”), as some conservative pundits have implied. You are allowed to be white and uneducated without registering as a “waitress mom.” (You are also allowed to be an educated waitress and a mother of color.) Voter-suppression tactics are at a despicable high, but no one will be required to provide proof of her relationship status or the date of her last period, even though scientists claim these factors may sway your hormonal little vote.
Once your anonymous ballot goes in the hungry counting machine, you’re no longer even that deeply coveted “female voter.” You’re just a citizen who exercised the right to decide whom she wants to govern her, without explanation or apology. The fact that almost 100 years later, it’s only under special circumstances that women have their opinions counted alongside men’s without bias is as good as any to get out and vote, even if there are long lines and easily predictable outcomes. And especially with opponents of our autonomous decision-making taking up space on so many ballots.