Why There’s Nothing Wrong With Being A Beyoncé Voter

According to Whistles' Jane Shepherdson women are turned off politics. She may be right, but here's why that needs to change


by Rebecca Holman |
Published on

Yesterday all that single ladies out there had a shout out when Fox News presenter Jesse Watters declared that Hillary Clinton was going after the Beyoncé Voter. That’s you, that is.

Yep, apparently single women are now known as Beyoncé Voters (because of the song *Single Ladies *fyi, not because of her relationship status, she’s about the most married person we’ve ever come across). And if you’re not sure how that’s relevant to anything, Waters was referring to Hillary’s opposition to a Supreme Court ruling which found that closely held companies can deny their employees contraceptive cover in their medical insurance on religious grounds.

Waters was then kind enough to explain further. ‘Hillary Clinton needs the single ladies vote,’ he said on Fox news segment Outnumbered, yesterday. ‘I call them ‘The Beyoncé Voters’ — the single ladies. Obama won single ladies by 76% last time, and made up about a quarter of the electorate. They depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands. They need contraception, health care, and they love to talk about equal pay.’

Thanks for the clarity Watters, you sound like a great guy, never mind that forcing women to pay for their own contraception is just about the most stupid thing we’ve ever heard.

But this news from across the pond coincides neatly with claims from Jane Shepherdon, Chief Executive of Whistles, that the tone of Parliament in the UK is putting women off getting involved in politics. ‘I did think, after [the European elections], maybe I need to get politically active,’ she told *Red *magazine. ‘It’s just so depressing. So maybe it’s time. [Politicians are] mostly a lot of braying upper-middle-class toffs and that is extremely off-putting for normal women.’

Sky News political correspondent Sophy Ridge agrees that parliament is less than representative. ‘It’s easy to see why some women are turned off by politics in the UK.
 The green benches in the House of Commons are full of men grey suits and there’s not a single mother in the Cabinet.’

And Jane is right to say that we’re turned off politics - in the 2010 General Election, voter turnout amongst women was 64% amongst women, as oppose to 66% amongst men (although this was unusual). Meanwhile, only 44% of 18-24 year olds voted (we have one of the highest disparities in voter turnout from the young to the old in Europe). In contrast, in the 2012 presidential elections in America, voter turnout amongst young women was significantly higher than that of young men.

But why is that? Are we really just put off by the structure and make up of parliament, or would we all start rushing to vote if, say, our access to contraception was taken away from us? ‘Clearly more needs to be done to engage women in politics and to make them feel they are represented,’ agrees Sophy. ‘But I do have a sneaky suspicion that people are apathetic because there is less at stake.
 If the right to abortion was suddenly taken away – like in some states in America – I bet women would suddenly become more engaged. And just imagine if women were banned from driving like in Saudi Arabia… the number of women voting and running for parliament would double overnight!’

The thing is, there’s plenty for us to be enraged about. The cost of living is going up far quicker than our wages (if we’re even making any yet), the housing crisis means we’re liable to be made homeless at any moment, and websites like Everyday Sexism demonstrate just how far we’ve still got to go to close the gender divide. But because these aren’t issues that are presented to us in the same stark, partisan manner that women’s issues are in America (‘vote for us, and we'll take away your right to free contraception!’), we don’t see the way we vote as a way of changing things. Instead, we compose angry tweets, or sign online petitions, because occasionally we get a direct response back.

But if the only people who vote are 20 years older than we are, then politicans will have no reason to meet our needs or act in our interests. Voting in the next election probably won’t change your life, but if you never vote at all, you guarantee that nothing will ever change. And there’s nothing wrong with being a Beyoncé Voter.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebecca_hol

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us