First, I will say this: this is not a political post, it is not about politics, the right or the left or the in-between, this post is about humanity, being human, it is about morality and hypocrisy and injustice.
I grew up in small town Michigan where our town had one stoplight. Actually, we were a village. And I had a great childhood, I did, there are a lot of good things about growing up in a small town – my childhood was spent zipping through the woods, using my imagination, building forts and make-believe towns, discovering old settlements, picking blueberries and running amuck with no fear of stumbling upon a meth lab or weirdoes in the woods, or the neighbors calling CPS because children were unattended by adults.
And yet, I didn’t fit in.
I came screaming out of my mother’s womb with a fierce independence, a drive to succeed (even in Elementary school, I needed all A’s) that was never (and will never be) abated. I became an actress, a singer, striving for perfection in every area of interest. My mind was (is) hungry, almost desperate for knowledge. I yearned for the satisfaction of a good, healthy challenge; in sixth grade I chose Gone With The Wind for a book report when I was told I wouldn’t be able to read those seven-hundred-thirty-three pages (challenge!), and I did, I read them, went home every day after school and locked myself away in my bedroom and read, victorious when I got to the end of the book.
I say this because when I got to high school, I felt misunderstood. When girls became women and were expected to act a certain way. When “male” characteristics (like ambition and drive and a competitive spirit – which aren’t “male” characteristics, I know they’re not, or they shouldn’t be, but some people still think this way, some people are still stuck in the past, which is why I use the quotations) were not becoming on a lady. When female whiles such as submissiveness and flirting were used to secure boyfriends. I never had a boyfriend. Boys didn’t date me (a few dates, here and there, but nothing serious). And I felt lonely, alone, unwanted, not…enough.
I was told that men found me intimidating. I was told to be softer. I was advised that if I wanted a man to date me, then I needed to change who I was (am), and play the game (dim my light, my brightness, my intelligence, ambition, and passion), be more likeable. But were the boys/men told to be less intimidating? To lesson their ambition or intelligence? To be more…approachable? More likeable?
I refused. I refused to lower my expectations, my self-respect in order to be soft.
I learned hypocrisy at a young age. The hypocrisy of the standards some men and women hold other women to, but not men. I see you, Hillary Clinton. I see how hard you have worked in your career, and I acknowledge how infuriating it must be to have an opponent, a male opponent who has ZERO experience in your professional field, a field where you are quite possibly the most prepared, knowledgeable, and tenacious candidate.
And yet, some people look down on you for those very characteristics. Some people say you’re too prepared. They say you don’t smile enough (I’ve heard that one myself). Or you smile too much (I’ve heard that one as well). You are under constant scrutiny. Your words dissected. Twisted. The masses searching for lies while your opponent lies 91% (source from Politico) of the time. But your lies are the important lies, the unforgivable lies. Donald’s lies are pardoned.
You are unlikeable. You are a ferocious, ambition woman. You are intimidating. You are a force. A force who has thirty – 30! – years of experience in public service, who has done MORE good than harm in her career, but it doesn’t matter. Your mistakes will be what you are remembered for. Because you are unlikeable and you are a woman.
I see you. I feel for you. I admire you and champion for you. No, you are not perfect. Yes, you’ve screwed up. Yes, you’ve lied. Yes, you’ve had to make tough choices – such tough choices! Yes, others have been hurt by your choices, or mistakes, but guess what? You have had the experience necessary in order to make those mistakes and I will take that experience over ignorance, over incompetence any day.
So why is your opponent – Trump – not held to the same vicious scrutiny? Sure, people make fun of him, they call him a big, orange dummy (my words), or the Cheeto Bandito, and point out the fact that he can’t finish a sentence, that he talks in circles without actually making a point, that he rudely interrupts you – wrong! wrong! wrong! – or that he makes up words – bigly – and has no real stance on the issues at hand, that he blows where the wind takes him and right now it has taken him right, and it peeves me, it infuriates me that this wishy-washy man with no experience is even a candidate. It is a slap in the face to you and your profession, your entire career in public service.
I am sorry for that. That sucks. It really, really does.
But what sucks even more is that this man has followers, voters, people who proudly where t-shirts that say TRUMP THAT BITCH, or CROOKED HILLARY, or t-shirt’s with a picture of your face and the word CUNT.
This is no longer about politics, it stopped being about politics the moment a reality television personality became a presidential candidate. It is about morality, and sexism, and a candidate who is perpetuating racism and rape culture, perpetuating hate. I wonder what people would say if Trump was a woman? Like Paris Hilton, a fellow reality television star, a fellow child who inherited a fortune? Would Trump’s supporters support Paris? Who, by the way, grew her fortune faster and on a wider scale than Trump ever did?
I’m sick of the double standards. Of Trump’s supporters, Trump, calling Hillary crooked, or a liar when Trump lies – all the time. To excuse his filthy mouth as “locker room talk”. To point a finger at Hillary for Bill’s actions (newsflash – Hillary is a person all on her own, she is not her husband, and Bill is not running for President, Hillary is) when Trump is caught with numerous sexual harassment, even rape allegations. But people say that the women are lying, Trump says that the women are lying: that’s what people said about Bill Cosby.
Why must we women have to fight so hard against the current? And if you don’t think we need to, think again. Even when we are better, stronger, smarter, more deserving than a man.
Now, to the men and women who tell other men and women to get over Trump’s “locker room talk”, I tell you to fuck off. As a woman who has been sexually assaulted both verbally and physically, I tell you to fuck off. Because words matter. When we excuse this behavior, we are essentially telling young (and old) boys (and men) that women’s bodies are there to be touched by them, with or without consent. And believe me – it happens.
The first time my personal, private space was invaded by a man, I was sixteen, working behind the counter of an ice cream shop. The shop was deserted. No one came in there. I had no phone. And two men walked in to change out the advertisements in the hall. One of them took one look at me, and knew what he wanted. Uncomfortable, I stood there, rolling my neck to pass the time, and he said, “Your neck hurt? Let me rub it for you.” I said, “No.” He came behind the counter, put his hands on my neck, my skin, and I was stunned, a deer in headlights, not knowing what to do – stuck. The other man took one look at what was happening and his face darkened, he said, “What are you doing, man? Let’s get out of here.” But if this other man was not a good man, all they had to do was flip the lock on the door and I would have been had. This is when I began to find my exits in every room, every situation I was in; this is when I began to look for makeshift weapons in case this ever happened again.
I moved to San Francisco five years ago and walked by a group of guys. They hollered, “Come sit on my dick, bitch. Come sit on my dick.” I rode the bus one day and a man sat close to me, too close, but I didn’t want to be rude and tell him to scoot over (it was probably my imagination, right? Right?), and when I pulled the lever to get off of the bus, this man slid his hand between my thighs. Who gave him permission to do so? Not me. What makes this OK? I was running one day, and readjusted my leggings, my underwear, and a man hung out of the passenger side window of a car and yelled, “Grab that pussy!”
Just because I am a woman, does not give a man OR woman permission to touch me, to assault me verbally, to speak of my privates, to force himself on me – no way, no how.
I do not absolve Trump of his words, his actions. I believe the women who have claims against him. I am offended when he says that no one has more respect for women than he does. If his actions, his words, are what he considers respectful then we are teaching boys, men, girls and women that this behavior, this talk is OK.
It is not.
It is not OK for Trump to be racist. To incite hatred. And do not get it twisted, I do not hate Trump – I am saddened and disgusted by him. I am furious at the injustice of this election. The misogyny that oozes from Trump’s orange pores. What a slap in the face this blatant sexism must be to Hillary.
This election is not about politics. Not to me. Because Trump is not a politician. And some people say that’s exactly why they support him, but guess what, folks, it is called politics for a reason. No, this election is about morality. It is about intelligence, having the intelligence to elect a WOMAN with overwhelming experience over a grossly unfit, ineloquent, unqualified MAN.
I see you, Hillary Clinton. I see the fight you have in your heart. I see how you have not, and will not give up. No matter the hateful words thrown at you. No matter the injustice. And I take strength from your strength, tilt my chin upwards, eyes forward, daring the world to call me unlikable, too.
I will take it as a compliment.