So Donald Trump. The name says it all – patriarchal, racist, misogynistic, fascist, xenophobic, narcisstic, undiplomatic…add whatever “-ics” or “-ists” you want, he exemplifies all of it. If ever there was an anti-person person, he’s your man.
What’s more alarming are his followers, diehard as religious apostles. What’s alarming inside of that is how many of his followers are women. I saw a reporter on my favorite non-news show ask a female Trump rally attender, “Is there anything Trump could do or say that would make you not vote for him?” “No,” she replied. “Trump, all the way!” She was specifically ok with his pussy grabbing comments, saying it was just “the way men talk”. She didn’t believe the women accusing him of sexual assault, she believed it was “media lies” and “democratic conspiracy”. You could see that she was uncomfortable but resigned. Unfortunately, it is a state most women in this world are used to.
This woman is an example of the survival attitude on the planet we women live on. In Asia and India, baby girls are discarded like unwanted trash, and families with girls have to save up money to pay the family they marry into. In the Middle East, women are covered up, have almost no rights and are blamed for societal ills. In (thankfully) shrinking parts of Africa, little girls have their labia sliced off and their vaginas sewn almost shut, so as to be ready to please future husbands. Even here in America, women are paid much less than men for equal work, harassed on the street, sexually assaulted in our homes and schools. And sadly, we are often blamed for men’s hostility toward us – we get less pay because we choose family over career, get raped because of our dress or behavior. “You’re a beautiful woman – of course men are going to come on to you in the street.”
We are taught to take it, because that’s just how men are. “Boys will be boys,” and all that. So we are resigned, despite our discomfort. We go to work anyway, and often skillfully make do with what we are paid. We walk around anyway, and hope not to get unwanted attention. We carefully manage the way we act, dress, communicate to not offend male sensibilities, so that you’ll maybe not assault us, perhaps respect us, may even love us. We learn this behavior from our moms and aunts, from school dress codes, from the evening news. “Here’s what you do for survival, ladies. Men will be men – act accordingly.”
Hashtag Not All Men. Hashtag Well, Actually. Hashtag Mansplain to me how, even though you’ve never in fact corrected or criticized your fellow man’s misogynist speech or behavior, you shouldn’t be lumped into the category of “Men” because YOU haven’t PERSONALLY ever disrespected women. Because the one female non-relative in your life that you didn’t fuck thinks you’re a swell guy. Because despite the fact that women have by no means achieved equality in American society, Men Are Discriminated Against, Too! Tell me how it’s the same, how all’s fair, and then miss me with that b.s.
Hillary Clinton has had a hard way to go as the first major female presidential candidate. Many of her actions, which are politically typical, have been publicly scrutinized. She has been called a cold bitch because she doesn’t smile enough. Raked over the media coals. Even demonized for what her husband has done. “Trump may be a bigoted, cheating, fascist narcissist, and a shady businessman with no political experience, but Hillary-“…is none of those things. She has experience and compassion, has made some mistakes and accomplished some things. She’s no Superman (love you, Obama!) but she’s also no archvillain. She is the only clearly competent and reasonable candidate.
I watched the last presidential debate and Trump was a 13-year-old prep school bully, all name-calling and “I know you are, but what am I?” I saw clips from the 2nd debate, when he stalked her onstage, again, like a 13-year-old bully. And throughout, Hillary (or, Ms. Clinton, if you’re Nasty) handled it with grace and maintained her dignity. As all women continue to handle single parenting and career success and walking down the street, despite the bullying and intimidation of a privileged male patriarchy.
So I’m voting for her. Not just because The Donald is a raving lunatic clown car in a bad wig and a red tie. Not even just because I agree with her plans and policies. Yes, both these reasons, but more than anything, I look at her and see a mirror. If Obama was a reflection of my ideal Black self, Hillary reflects my inner woman. Uncomfortable but resigned. Ready and willing to do her best anyway.
That’s an adverb all of us women are intimately familiar with: anyway. An adverb is a qualifier. Cast your vote well.