I had a good friend tell me, about my reaction to Trump being elected president, “It bothers me how upset and frightened you are.”
It bothers me, too. I’m trying not to be melodramatic and I’m saying all the vaguely comforting things about checks and balances and branches of government and such. Really, though, it feels like there is an enormous bully army built with the intent of fighting inclusion, other-ing the underdog, and keeping women and minorities in our place. The powerful will gain more power, the weak will be cast off. Like it was, like it always has been, like apparently now, it always will be.
This morning I woke up furious and my plan was to a) find a computer person who could create a secure, hack-free social network we could set up to start rescuing our Muslim neighbors when the government comes for them and b) because I assume crimes against women will go up and I cannot presume they will actually be considered crimes and/or be effectively punished, we need to build an army of vigilantes who can take care of it.
The evolution of the thought actually went, “well, so under this administration, women are just sex playthings and baby makers, so there goes access to affordable birth control and abortion services, so I guess there goes women ever having sex with men again….oh, wait, women don’t have a say in it, men can take what’s not theirs with impunity as this man in charge of this army has admitted he does….so since we already know that neither police nor judges will support women who have been sexually assaulted, I guess at least they’ve still left us a bunch of guns, so we can take care of it ourselves….ok, we can work with that.”
This morning I was going to shave my head and start doing push-ups and lead the revolution. That was all this morning.
Since then, I just feel silenced.
I’m afraid. I’m disappointed. I’m disillusioned.
My worries cover the LGBT folks, people with disabilities, immigrants, minorities, the economy, peace…I’m worried this leadership might spread a broad hurt, but today I’m most thinking about women.
Probably because I am a women and I took a baby women with me to proudly vote yesterday.
In my reflections on the significance of the results, I’ve concluded today that I was misguided in teaching my daughter to expect her voice to matter, to assume she alone has authority over herself. It’s untrue. She’s just a girl. I’m just a girl. We will continue to be owned, marginalized, thrown away, kept ineffective, quiet, docile. Our only value is our prettiness and appeal to men. So instead of shaving my head, I should color it a more enticing color of yellow. Instead of helping Anna become the nihilistic ninja she naturally wants to be, I’m going to slow her down with dresses and heels and tell her it’s time to be quiet.
It feels like the Men’s Rights’ Association president has just expanded his territory. On my run tonight, I had dark, scary thoughts like, “maybe I should just start carrying lube with me, so when I inevitably get attacked because I dared to jog by some entitled man with my vagina, I won’t get as much tissue damage. Very practical.”
Plus, yeah, it was emotional to see a female Ghostbusters this summer, it would have been bitchin’ to see a female president.
The past few years have been so promising. We’ve seen women in civic and corporate leadership and making huge steps in science and business and entertainment. There was a feeling that women not only could do the same things as men, but could excel with the same opportunities and deserved the same reimbursement, respect, and chance for growth, and might actually get it.
And maybe (here’s the most shiniest hope nugget I had), maybe some of the qualities traditionally feminine; empathy, caring, skilled listening, ability to discern, reflect, and discuss emotions, weren’t actually flaws, but maybe were actually superior qualities that made good leaders?!
But nope. Wrong. That’s crazy talk. All we can continue to expect is decisions made based on ego/pride and reactions instead of reflection.
I know, I know. Be still and quiet, keep the mushy stuff home where it belongs.
We’ll be mocked and harassed, threatened and intimidated for trying to use our voices. Still. Some more. We had the tiniest sliver of hope that it might be different, that there might be someone fighting our causes with us, but no. The mob chose the person who shows nothing but disdain for women.
It’s not just grand scale intimidation and dismissal women face. Many men are just as irate about this result and feeling just as disenfranchised, but in the last week I’ve been shut down multiple times by the men who love me, when discussing sex inequality. I’m “too into this gender stuff” and I’m “being too sensitive.” My desire to promote and protect women is critical of men and unbecoming to discuss.
I’m sure they’re right. I know it’s childish to get passionate and have hope and stuff, I get that.
I will make every effort to be silent and keep everyone comfortable.
So, I’m put back in my place. Behind and under angry men. They will lead us and decide what is right for our education, bodies, families, careers, futures. They will lead us but they will never really see us because we are mostly just pretty bobbles. We had gotten too big for our britches. Now we know.
So, I guess that’s a lot of words for silence. Now go ahead and tell me all the ways that I’m dumb and wrong. I’ve sort of beat you to it.
This is why women are crying today. We feel like we have to give up, when very recently we expected to rise.