I think that the results of this presidential election have struck a nerve with me and a lot of women, particularly millennial women. Women of my generation and those who have gone before us, have had to deal with misogyny and sexual harassment and gender bias and racial bias and all the abuse and missed opportunities that go along with it throughout their lives. This is a form of control that came to life on the stage of the 2016 Hillary vs. Donald campaign trail, and hit a big nerve since the votes were tallied and Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. At least 50% of the nation is in disbelief. But as they say…it is what it is, and there is an inadvertent silver lining. Read on.
When I reflect on how Hillary behaved during this election, it serves to remind me that she followed the “good girl” rules. For example, she didn’t raise her voice. She acted the good mother and grandmother. She didn’t interrupt or insult her opponents during the debates. She didn’t scowl. She prepared for the debates, and then criticized for it. She played by the rules. (Forget about the emails!). She did work hard, and then lost. Is she perfect? Of course not. Who is? I just want to compare and contrast the public behavior of the candidates. The expectations, consciously and unconsciously, imposed upon her (and every woman in a public position and everyday women everywhere) place women in a bind. This extends to people of color as well. The bind is, “Damned if you do , and damned if you don’t.” I don’t think a woman can ever be in the Office of the President, and play by the “girl rules”. I think we should instead adopt the phrase, “Girls rule”.
Hillary (or any other woman) would never have been allowed to or gotten away with behaving like Mr. Trump during and prior to his presidential run. His behavior was erratic. He boasted about being unprepared. He didn’t have to base his arguments on facts. In fact, he mocked facts. He just had to say that he “believed” something or didn’t, and that was enough. He could change his mind and then in essence say, “Never mind” when he blundered, and there were some major blunders. It didn’t matter what other experts or agencies or people dedicated to research and fact finding stated. All he had to do was say something, anything. If he said it happened or didn’t happen…that apparently was fact enough.
Hillary, like women in general, had a much more narrow range of acceptable behavior. Trump did not have those limits. He could name call, curse, mock, humiliate, harass, demean, objectify, incite, humiliate, encourage racism and sexism, and even threaten. This aggressive behavior was acceptable and even encouraged. Mr. Trump talked a lot about “the good old days”. The good old days were not so good for a lot of people. Apparently, they were good for people like Mr. Trump, namely white males and the privilege that comes with the right displayed DNA (expressed DNA that is).
So, the point is that the rules are outdated. I, for one, an adult, latino, single American woman am not interested in living by rules that don’t work for me, although I have for a long time. I am certain that I am not alone. The results of this presidential election are a blessing in disguise. Our complacency and acceptance of unacceptable behavior has brought us to this point. It has taken this unbelievable presidential campaign and election to wake us up, and to let us know that we have a responsibility to make change. Being passive observers got us here, and it ain’t gonna get us to a new place.
We don’t have to be in denial about these rules that exist and keep people down…female people, people of color, poor people, people with disabilities (or is this a misnomer). We don’t have to accept these rules without question. Hillary and Donald played out the consequences of prejudice on life’s stage. Thank you for bringing this into the light for all to witness. This can no longer be dismissed. We cannot afford to ignore this.
I, for one, will encourage equality particularly by raising awareness and using my gifts to empower change one person at a time. Let it begin with me. Let it begin with you.
Counselor and Coach
P.S. I am not discouraged, but encouraged. It is still a beautiful world. Do what you can do to make it a good place to be. Fight for justice.