Policies, candidacy, emails, and campaigns aside–you are a woman. A woman who dared (for the second time) to deviate from traditional gender roles in the most public of possible ways.
I am a young female that has spent my entire life in the United States. In fact, this election was the first time I was old enough to stay up late watching various campaign and election coverage, able to understand the weight of the decision America had to make.
I was 8-years-old when President Obama was elected into office. I remember my dad waking me up the morning after Election Night with the news that America had just elected its first Black president, 232 years after our nation’s founding.
Little did I know, at the time, only 20% of the white male population in the U.S. had a “very unfavorable view” of Barack Obama as a candidate. That is a colossal 32 point difference in the present 52% of white male Americans that have a “very unfavorable view” of you, Hillary Clinton, the first female to get remotely close to “Madame President.”
These same Americans who think you so unfavorable are also above four times more likely to agree that society is becoming “too soft and feminine,” according to the Public Religion Research Institute.
But I don’t want to get too consumed by numbers. It wasn’t numbers that drew me to your campaign or this election. It was much, much more.
I saw the optimistic expression on your face in April of 2015 when you announced your presidential bid. It was an experience of reflection for how badly this country needed a female to lead, and how badly I needed to see a female lead this country.
The Democratic convention had jazzy sound. “First female nominee.” It was feminist heaven.
The Republican convention, fervently hostile, was a past time to spectate. I was scrolling through social media when I began to see the hatchings of a population of America equivalent to the proverbial sexist/racist/homophobic relative everyone ignores at Thanksgiving.
“Trump That Bitch.” “Finally Someone With Balls.” “Hillary Sucks but Not Like Monica.” “Life’s a bitch, so don’t vote for one.” “KFC Hillary Special 2. Fat Thighs 2. Small Breasts.”
All of these were flaunted as paraphernalia of Trump’s growing supporters. They are commonly offensive, but most importantly, commonly associated with your gender.
Never has a presidential candidate been deemed unfit or worthy of criticism because the size of their thighs or breasts–until a female became a possibility.
I consumed all of this. I felt embarrassed, even though I was sitting alone in my room. I had so many questions looming in my mind.
Is this what my country bases their judgement on?
Is a female’s worth only based on her body?
Does it say somewhere in the Constitution that you have to have balls to be president?
From that moment on, I was practically glued to your campaign. I felt charged by your willingness to lead and represent my experiences as a female. Living in a time where my rights to my own body is a question made an actual living/breathing woman in charge seem like an oasis in a desert of ancient societal issues.
It’s unfortunate that many months after your nomination and weeks after your loss I can’t say that the culture surrounding this election didn’t further devolve into sexist banter, or that we didn’t elect this man as president.
But, I can say that I have never felt more inspired to vocalize my dissatisfaction and delight with the transformation this country is undergoing. I truly believe your campaign and success was only the beginning of a female future in America.
Thanks to you and other strong women of the past and present, it has never been a better time to be a “nasty woman.”
Photo credits to http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com