Dear young girls everywhere,
I hope you learned a valuable lesson last night. That no matter how hard you work, and how qualified you are for a position, we as a country still believe that the most unqualified white man is still the better choice for the position. We want to hear your voices, and give you the right to participate in the process, but to actually hand over the power would be setting a dangerous precedent. We want you to work hard, fight for equality, prove that you can do all of the things that a man can do…but always be a gracious host once a man, any man, comes in and takes the seat at the table that has always been rightfully his anyway. Don’t get TOO ambitious now. We can’t have that yet.
P.S. Most of the people who will argue about how this had nothing to do with your gender, but everything to do with the fact that you’re a crook, a war hawk, and part of a deep liberal conspiracy, will always hear what they want to hear. We have all heard you, and you made your voices loud and clear last night. We lost. It’s time to work even harder. See you in 2020.
My husband’s words, written hours after the election results were announced. My feelings, that I haven’t been able to form into words since?
I want you to look into the eyes of that little girl in this grainy, 26 year old photo and tell her ‘yes, of course, but actually… no’.
I am weeping in a Starbucks as I look at this picture, because I remember that beautiful little version of me so very well. I wasn’t held back by fear multiplied by my depression and anxiety like I am now. My absolutely open, hopeful, fearless heart hadn’t been hardened by a million little wounds yet and I still trusted that my abilities were the only thing that would shape my future. I truly believed what I had been told, that I could do anything, and I had very little comprehension of a glass ceiling or the truly dehumanizing feelings of being passed over because of my gender or being sexually harassed – but I didn’t have long to wait for that. It started a year later, when I was in 4th grade.
To get right down to the meat of it, it just feels so fucking unfair that the way I’ve been treated in my life has shaped me into a woman that is so unlike what I thought I’d be back then. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too sensitive – no, I know I am. I’ve been made fun of for being a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ my whole life. It’s true – my heart bleeds. It bleeds at the memory of the graphic Right to Life posters in my childhood garage, kept there between protests against young women just like me, girls I quite possibly knew. It bleeds for every every non-Christian, non-white, non-gender-binary, different-from-the-pack kid that got sold a lie. Because in this election we’ve just been told, in no uncertain terms, that no, we CAN’T be anything we want to be. 47% of voters checked the box next to someone’s name who is woefully underprepared for the job they’ve awarded him, who believes women are objects, that Mexican immigrants are criminals, that Muslims are terrorists, and on and on and on. Congratulations bro, we feel comfortable with you at the helm, because jobs or the economy or what the fuck ever took precedence for me in the voting booth over all of these peoples’ safety and worth as humans, and because you ‘look’ like a President. I’m sick over the fact that middle America hates females so much that this is what they prefer, that a woman like me will not ever be taken seriously, at least not in my lifetime. I’ve been told no so many goddamn times. *Almost* reached the brass ring. Shared an award I won fair and square with the second place winner because ‘we don’t want his feelings to be hurt’.
Because I don’t want her to feel the way I do today. I don’t want her to endure sexual harassment at 9 years old from grown men only to grow up a step behind those men, who worked half as hard as she did. I don’t want the (beautiful) color of her skin and her disabilities and her sex to be the determining factors in how far she’ll go. I didn’t think they would. I thought we’d gotten further than that. I knew we hadn’t, deep down, but fuck if receiving confirmation of that fact on Wednesday morning didn’t crush me anyway.
I’m so uncomfortable with the feelings of overwhelming negativity I’m dealing with now. I’m also enraged by the people telling me to man up, to play nice, to accept it and move on, that I’m being dramatic, that all of the things I’m worrying about won’t happen and this won’t really affect me (said by a middle class white male). FUCK YOU. I am not being hysterical. You do not get to dictate my feelings. You do not get to run the kind of campaign that you ran the last year and a half, and throw the vitriol you aimed at my president his entire 2 terms, and then demand that I curl up like a pussycat moments after the election is decided, and if I don’t I’m an ugly, fat, feminazi SJW bitch. This pussy will no longer be a good girl and be nice, because look where it got my candidate. Look where it’s gotten me. I’ll never be a bully, that’s just not who I am, but I’m never going to fall in line again. I’m sick of apologizing for supporting HRC, sick of fighting off men in the comments of my own and my friends’ posts but being chastised for replying in the exact same tone, sick of constantly having to admit that YES, Hillary does has flaws, when I’ve never heard that phrase repeated so many damned times about a candidate in my life. She has not killed babies. She did not cheer a rapist. She has never murdered. She is ambitious and has worked the admittedly flawed political system in the same way every man who has gone before her has, and never been called out for it.
I have to fight. Fight because I have lost the belief that I will see a woman *allowed* to break through in my lifetime. Fight for the next generation of girls. Fight for everyone who is different and facing fear and uncertainty right now. Fight the rising tide of racists, homophobes, sexists, and a million other -ists that have been emboldened by the hateful rhetoric of the Trump campaign. Even if you voted for Trump, ESPECIALLY if you voted for Trump. We have to fight.