To say that our country has been feeling some “mixed feelings” in the past couple of days would be a huge understatement, and I know most people just want to move on with their lives. But here’s an issue that’s been bothering me for the past couple of days, and really, the entire election cycle, that I feel like I should really talk about: women’s status in society.
First off, let me preface everything by saying that I voted for Hillary Clinton not because she is a female, but because she was the most qualified candidate — male or female — on that ballot.
Second, I will say this: Hillary Clinton undeniably suffered at the hand of the underlying, sometime-subtle-othertimes-very-explicit sexism of our nation.
Of course, there are people who will immediately tell me that it’s not because she’s a woman. That it’s because her platforms and ideals don’t align with them, or that they just can’t stand another career politician. Certainly, I get that — I mean, that’s how politics works — but this election cycle saw a slew of outside and unnecessary factors and bias that haven’t contributed to any other previous election and would not have happened if Hillary Clinton was male. Here’s why:
Clinton has dedicated her entire life to serving our nation, from starting out as a young lawyer, to being First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, Senator of New York, and finally Secretary of State. No one in this country has had more experience or is more qualified to run this nation than she is. If Hillary Clinton was male, she would have won, hands down. Why? Because just look at everything she has done. No, it’s not flawless, but it shows just how much she does care for her country and just how much stamina she has, and even if you don’t agree with her politics, you can’t deny the extent and value of her experience.
And I even dare say this: if the Republican Party nominee was a male Hillary Clinton, that nominee would have SWEPT both the primaries and the general election with just a slight tweak in platform issues. People would believe her, “resonate more with her” if she were male.
Now let’s try switching the scenario a bit. Let’s imagine a world where Hillary Clinton said and did all the things Donald Trump did. All hell would break loose (heck, it already did…) and the American population would most certainly not be saying, “Oh, Clinton says it as it is.” She would not have made it past day one, and the “outsider” or “anti-establishment” factor will entirely play against her. The “You’re not even qualified; why are you running?” sentiment never bothered Trump (it helped him instead), but you can bet it would be the first thing people point out if Hillary were Trump, and it would not be one of many, many reasons why she wouldn’t and couldn’t be president.
Then, at the debates, people focused more on her outfits than the content of her speech. At her rallies, people focused more on the sound of her voice than her message. On television, people focused more on her smile (too wide, too scary) than her campaign. Oh, and she’s wearing a white pantsuit that costs 100k? AHH SHIT, I CAN’T HAVE HER AS PRESIDENT, BECAUSE SHE’S TOO RICH TO CONNECT TO THE COMMON PERSON. Wait, what???
DOUBLE STANDARDS EVERYWHERE.
The scale and range of this sexism varied: we had those who said, “I would vote for a female president, but Hillary lacks integrity so I can’t vote for her” (DON’T YOU DARE TALK TO ME ABOUT INTEGRITY WHEN YOU’RE CONSTANTLY EXCUSING TRUMP’S ACTIONS SOLELY BECAUSE HE IS A MAN AND “MEN ARE LIKE THIS.”), we had those who blatantly did not want a woman for president, no matter how qualified, and then we had those who disguised it by saying, “But Bill Clinton did some bad things.” So why are we going to hold Hillary accountable for the actions of Bill Clinton (might I add, from twenty years ago, and the accusations have been PROVEN to be false)?
More importantly, why did our nation brush aside the accomplishments of a woman who has dedicated thirty years of her life to public service in favor for a con man with no political experience or qualifications whatsoever who played upon America’s deepest fears and prejudice? Who would I be kidding if I said sexism didn’t play a huge factor in this?
But what makes me even scared is this: if Hillary Clinton, arguably the most qualified person in our country for President, cannot break this glass ceiling, WHO CAN?
And even scarier is this: Just WHAT exactly is our society looking for in women, particularly a woman president? And what happens if a woman refuses to be defined by these societal constraints? If a email scandal (an obviously partisan attempt to drag Clinton down that apparently worked) can cause the population to just “overlook” thirty years of public service, then HOW can we break this glass ceiling?
It’s certainly paints a bleak picture for women in our country. (Not to mention the fact that half our country just seemed to either forget the leaked Trump tapes or think that they were totally fine –> rape culture…)
Women have come a long way since 1920 and the 19th amendment, and we have poked about 18 million holes in that glass ceiling, as Hillary Clinton has said. But we have a much, much longer way to go, and until then, we will continue fighting together. We will continue pushing against that glass ceiling, adding more and more cracks, until women are finally viewed in an equal light as men. As your fellow human beings, we deserve that.
I will, though, add one note of positivity: the millennial voter map showed that most people under 30 voted for Clinton, for progress, for equality, and if anything, that means perhaps our future will shine just a bit brighter.
And when women finally reach that level, all of humanity will become better. #StrongerTogether