When I Was Watching the Polls Come In-
When I was watching the polls come in, I wanted to cry. I was in shock and disbelief. I was scared. I was confused. I was blindsided. And I was heartbroken. It wasn't the fact that Hilary was going to lose, it wasn't the fact that Donald Trump was winning (that would come a few minutes later) It was the fact that I'd seen pictures of Hilary voting for herself in New York. She looked excited, emotional and even a little overwhelmed- and Bill Clinton was smiling so big that it made me smile at my computer screen.
When I was watching these polls come in, I kept thinking of that picture and the look he was giving her. It's normal to see men smiling at their wives- and it's normal to see them look lovingly at them but this was something less traditional- it was professional respect and pride. I know that I am used to that feeling- but with that pride flowing more towards the other way around. It's common that wives feel this way for their husbands, or girlfriends feel this way for their boyfriends- It's typical for men to have ambition and climb mountains and thrive. It's more typical for women to sit on the sidelines- to nurture, or to cheer on. (there's nothing wrong with that at all if that's what you want to do)
When I was watching the polls come in, I thought of her career and when she and Bill met. I thought of the years and years of slander, incredible humiliation, degradation for wanting to do more in her life than just sitting on the sidelines. She went through it all and probably felt it all so deeply but never gave up on what she wanted. When I was watching the polls come in, I thought, "He must be so proud of her" and it made me emotional.
If I have a daughter, I want her to feel that same pride- the affirmation that yes, she is enough- not just from her significant other but from the certainty I hopefully can teach her to have within herself. When I was watching the polls come in, I teared up because it isn't fair. I am tired, and most women I know are so tired of not be taken seriously- atleast not fully or whole heartedly. I was crying because it really, really hurts when you're always in second place.
Despite whatever your opinion is of Hilary Clinton's character as a person or her political views, it is a very real thing that most people do not take women seriously. It's a dynamic that I have to deal with all the time. We do not trust women. We do not believe women. We do not respect women. We do not listen to women. We do not like women. I know people who didn't vote for her just because she's a woman. I heard men at work saying that very thing the next day after the election. I get why people voted for Donald Trump in the sense that I understand why people want something different and went against the status quo- and I understand that many men do not fully understand this and sadly, plenty don't even care. I know men like this personally. I grew up with them. I went to school with them. I was friends with them. I know many men will laugh at this or call me hysterical or become defensive and that's fine. I do not care. I am used to it- and a lot of other women are too.
But that doesn't mean that I am wrong.
I thought that maybe this election could be the beginning of something new. I didn't think that sexism would vanish into thin air but I did think that maybe it would be the beginning of a world where it wasn't just a given that a woman is of lower status. I didn't think that we'd be welcoming a man with deep roots in racism, xenophobia, and misogyny into office.
I don't want to list the questionable things both candidates have done. But as a woman who has been sexually assaulted, I was/am scared and hurt and I think we made the wrong choice. I know a lot of people felt like they needed to settle when it came to voting. I know good people who voted for him and they don't hate women or people of color or people who believe in a different religion. I'm aware that a lot of people who voted for Trump didn't agree with his hateful rhetoric but still voted for him anyways- and although I do not understand it, I don't hate them for it or hope that Donald Trump does a terrible job. I accept it and am looking towards the future.
Despite the outcome of this election, I hope that women know that they are not inferior or less. I hope women become empowered. I hope women continue to work hard even if they feel like it's pointless. I hope women can find strength even though the world is terrifying right now. I hope women are inspired to be bigger, to find their voice, to be loud, to become determined to be heard, to do whatever the hell they want and not be degraded or shamed for it. I hope that I'll get to see a woman become the President of the United States one day.