During the primary I could #feelthebern on issues like healthcare, paid family leave, corporate welfare, the cost of higher education, and GMO labeling. But when I got to my polling station, I felt torn. Because how could I not vote for the first madam president?
We think we’ve come so far, that we can do anything, be anything, even if it means getting paid 78% of our male counterparts’ paycheck; 64% if you’re African American and 56% if you’re Latina.
Then I’ll stumble onto an article like this one. Author Catherine Nichols hadn’t been getting much of a response to her new manuscript and decided to conduct an experiment. She sent out her query letters under the male pseudonym, George Leyer, and received almost nine times more manuscript requests. “Even George’s rejections were polite and warm on a level that would have meant everything to me, except that they weren’t to the real me. George’s work was ‘clever’, it’s ‘well-constructed’ and ‘exciting.’ No one mentioned his sentences being lyrical or whether his main characters were feisty.”
Of course that’s nothing compared to the news item circulating almost nonstop on all my social media feeds, the Brock Turner case. Hail the victim and her courageous letter. Hail Buzzfeed for publishing it. This letter goes viral and still, Brock Turner will maybe serve 3 months in jail. For raping an unconscious woman. People are posting about this all over Facebook, well-intentioned people who want to shame Brock and support the victim. Except even the well-intentioned are so conditioned to rape culture, they don’t see it when it’s right in front of them. Like a woman in my feed who shared a post by a white man, a post intended to support the victim, that begins, “I’ve been drunk many times, even in the presence of promiscuous women…” and I get that far when my brain goes STOP. Here we are. Here’s where it begins. With a word like promiscuous, an adjective ascribed solely to women. As if promiscuity belongs only to us. As if promiscuity has anything to do with rape. I should probably comment on this stuff, but I remain fairly quiet on Facebook. I “like” family photos and wish people happy birthday. But lately, I feel my voice rising in my throat, difficult to suppress.
When I entered the Twitterverse this morning, and I saw the words “History Made” with Hillary Clinton’s picture, I thought, YES! I’m with HER. Let’s break that last glass ceiling. Let’s show my daughter that she really can do anything, be anything, even hold the highest office in the nation. It is time.
“Women have very little idea of how much men hate them.” – Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch
“According to the people keeping score, arithmetic dictates that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. It is all over bar the shouting.
Trouble is, the shouting will go on … and on … and on … for as long as Clinton insists she has the right to contest the Presidency. If she wins, no matter by how much or how little, she will continue to have to fight for her right to be President – as did her predecessor, certainly in his first term. But, for her, the shouting will not stop. Not ever.
She must know this. People have been shouting at her since she first appeared in the public arena. She has been vilified, ridiculed, insulted, dismissed, scorned, demonized, shamed, belittled, defeated, betrayed, interrogated and investigated (and investigated and investigated and investigated) for decades now.
She had a tiny moment in the sun when – after she had conceded defeat to Barack Obama in 2008 and become his secretary of state – she suddenly morphed from shrill Hillary whom no one likes to funky Hillary with her blackberry (and even that has come back to bite her). We love a woman who puts herself second but woe betide a woman who dares to put herself first.
Many women will allow themselves a moment to celebrate Clinton’s claim of victory. Some of us will gird our loins and do so publicly and unapologetically in the full and certain knowledge that we will be lambasted, patronized, lectured (and endlessly mansplained) for being so bold. We will be told that we are only supporting Clinton because she is a woman (unlike men, who apparently cannot “see” gender and never vote for a man because he is a man) and all her supposed crimes will be thrown at us in an attempt to shut us down.
We will be told she is (among many other things) a warmonger, corrupt, in the pocket of Wall Street, a war criminal, weak, vacillating, a homophobe, a creature of the establishment, about to be indicted by the FBI (no, really, any minute now) and a candidate who “stands for nothing”. We will even be told she just represents “more of the same”. All this will be said without a scintilla of irony.
No wonder most women who support Clinton keep quiet about it. They kept quiet about supporting Obama too, which is why almost every pollster wrongly predicted he’d lose the last Presidential election to Mitt Romney. (Interestingly, women voters are also keeping quiet in the Australian election. According to Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast 30 per cent of Australian women voters are undecided.)
Even among those who accept we will see a Clinton versus Trump Presidential election come November, there has been only grudging acceptance. We are told that this is a contest between two unlikable candidates. This criticism almost offends me the most. The fact that any sensible human being could see hard working, moderate, indefatigable, sane Clinton as being as unlikable as Trump can be explained by only one phenomenon – our extreme, millennia-long neurotic fear about women in power.
Clinton is not perfect. I do not agree with her on everything but – so what? She has certainly worked harder, for longer and in the face of more vilification than any other politician I can think of. That she has survived to clinch the nomination and so make history is an astonishing tribute to her courage and determination. I wait (no doubt in vain) for her to at least be given credit for that.
If she wins the Presidency – which she must for the future of the world – she will not be given credit for it. We will be told that she only won because she had a lunatic opponent, and because the Republican party was riven with division and so she was “lucky” to get such an easy ride.
Far from an “easy” ride, I am lost in admiration for Clinton’s ability to get up every morning and face more of the same. Trump will pull no punches when it comes to attacking her for her major weakness – and that is her gender. It will backfire on him. Women are the majority in the US (as they are in Australia) and because the US has voluntary voting, women are more likely to vote than men. Which makes sense; you are more likely to value something you had to fight for.
Clinton has fought for the rights of women and girls all her life. She has dedicated her life to them. If she becomes President it will be a victory, not just for her, but for all of us. She will have opened one of the most important of doors. That is why her indomitable march towards the White House has been met with such vitriol and nastiness. Those who assume power is their rightful domain understand just how much of a threat a Clinton win implies.
A black President followed by a female one? What is the world coming to? Fingers crossed we get there.”
(Post 142 of 365)