Poem: In These United States is a Woman Electable? by Marie Cartier

In these United States we are wondering
if a woman is electable.
Is she likeable enough?

I donate to a woman candidate and I have put a sign
on my front lawn with a woman’s name on it.
I’m a woman. My wife is a woman.
Over half of my students are women. I teach over two hundred
students a semester. I see that women can.
We do and we can. But…

Can a woman lead? A headline asks.
Is she likeable enough to get elected? Another asks.
I was born from a woman.
All of us get here through the legs of a woman.
Women hold up half the sky.

All the slogans of my birth into feminist consciousness stir
and light up.

I believe a woman can lead, is electable,
and I don’t care if like her.
She is not my friend, and won’t be my friend and
anyway, I don’t expect all women to be my friend.

What I want is not for her to be my friend.
What I want is… a woman president.
I want a woman president. I want a little girl
to not be told she can’t be president because she’s a girl—
because girls can’t be president.

Girls have never been president.
Haha, what are you thinking?

I was repeatedly told, and countless numbers
of us—women–
were repeatedly told:
A woman has never been president. You can’t.
You can’t be president. It hasn’t happened.
You can’t.

It means so much more than that you can’t be president.
It means: you can’t.

And I believe, I believe, a woman can.
I can. A woman can.
You can. You can.

In these United States, yes,  a woman can lead.
In these United States, yes,  a woman can lead, and
she doesn’t have to be liked
by everyone in order to do it.

In these United States I believe a woman can.
She can.

In these United States I want a woman president.

–Marie Cartier
February 2020


Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.

11 thoughts on “Poem: In These United States is a Woman Electable? by Marie Cartier”

    1. totally agree- i will vote blue no matter what but have no problem saying what i say above- i want a woman president. it matters. i had my students do an entire unit on this issue of “likeability” which affects women candidates more than anyone else

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Marie, thanks for writing this outspoken and true poem. Brava! I totally agree with Sara. A female leader who possesses competence and compassion is our only hope. I don’t want a female leader to be my friend. I want a woman leader who can do a better job than many of the male leaders have done and do.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I was never told I couldn’t be President. In fact I was told I could be anything I wanted. So how did I always know I could never be President?


  3. I came back to this poem Marie, after Elizabeth announced she was stepping out of the race. While I am shattered, your words have kept those embers burning that we must continue to hope, dream, encourage, and manifest the spaces, thoughts, and people so that we will see a woman become President of the United States.


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