Where are all the women?
As my siblings and I became more interested and engrossed in politics growing up, my father always tried to impress on us the importance of understanding the political/ethical/economic/social views of others. Regardless of our point of view, he urged us to listen and try to understand those views that were different from our own. Not only does this allow for greater respect between people of different ideas, it also better prepares a person to counteract ideas or views with which they don’t agree.
This always seemed like a simple and admirable moral mission — while at times frustrating — and yet I have failed at it. Political platforms aside, I cannot understand a woman who is willing to sacrifice her self-respect and legitimacy as an equal being in order to have her political views heard. And no woman should have to.
Where are the women in red standing up to say that Donald Trump and what he says about women is outrageous and simply unacceptable? Surely not every woman voting for him supports the legitimacy of a candidate of a major political party who would try to de-legitimize more than 50 percent of the population of this great nation.
When Hillary Clinton became the first-ever female presidential candidate of a major political party, my heart swelled. Half with pride and excitement because American women reached yet another major milestone in their quest for equality and half with discouragement and grief because so few women were able to separate political views from female unity for even a moment in order to cheer on this achievement for all women.
Perhaps this should be seen as a positive reaction. Perhaps the lack of coordination and celebration is a sign that women weren’t at all surprised, that this seems like something we have been capable of and are just now, unsurprisingly, achieving. But I fear our absence in this victory is a sign of a much darker storm on the feminist front, one that coincides with the women choosing to let self respect fly by the wayside and vote for Donald Trump. I fear that having won so many cultural and legal battles (there are many more still to be won) we have begun to overlook the social and moral equality battles that have yet to be won.
Equality is an inalienable right that women have made great strides in achieving, and yet this election cycle demonstrates how much farther we have to go. Our fighting mothers would surely be equally overjoyed and taken aback at the juxtaposition of these candidates. On one side a sexist, hateful, power hungry male, on the other our first female candidate. Women should unite to recognize the victory that is our first ever true representation on the presidential scale as well as unite to occupy more positions of power and decision making to ensure our rights, needs and legitimacy are recognized, because 200 plus years of history, 12,000 plus for that matter, have shown us that men won’t do it for us. And they shouldn’t have to.