When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.
― Bette Davis
Since the first debate last Monday, I have wanted to say so much…as has pretty much everyone else…and I thank every one who has flooded social media with all that you have wanted to say. Not that anything any one of us has to say is going to change any one voter’s mind as to who they are going to vote for. Of course I am assuming that there is really no undecided voter out there. If you are with her; you are with her. If you are all about a principled candidate to lead one of the global leading nations, yet has no clue as to what is going on globally; you are going to stand on those principles…even if his own running mate concedes Hillary Clinton is the most qualified. You might be supporting Jill Stein…sorry, I’m trying to understand that choice but I just can not. But you do you. Perhaps you are for Trump…and I swear I try really, really, really hard not to make assumptions…really I do, even if there are so many reasons why one might question the reasoning of a Trump supporter. We all are standing by our man or woman and I know there is nothing any of us can say that will change the resolve of the other.
So be it but god help us all too.
The biggest thing on my mind after the debate was the reality of what it is like to be a woman or a girl in this world right now in two thousand sixteen..
I remember one of my first parent-teacher conferences as a young mother. Hollie’s teacher began with enthusiasm explaining to me that it was easy to tell that my child was the first born because she always took charge making sure classmates knew what they should be doing at any given time.
Yeah. she can be pretty bossy sometimes.
No. No she is not bossy. She is a natural leader.
…as first born children often are like 28 of the 44 US Presidents, and Gary Johnson and Hillary Clinton. And that, boys and girls was the first of many moments where I realized that I might imagine me a feminist raising my daughters to be feminists except I really had much to learn and understand…and I have thanks to raising up four amazing, smart, capable women who just so happen to be my daughters.
As mother to these women, watching them and their friends grow up through the years, I have come to see that they are not bossy. They are indeed so much more than how they might be dressed, how they wear their hair or whether or not they smile.
Whether we intended or not, like their mother (and perhaps generations of ancestors before them) they have mastered the art of looking interested when a dumb man is talking. Every single woman at some point in her life..and probably at a lot of points, and most probably on a daily basis has been forced to quietly sit and just accept that a man is yelling at her, or being wrong toward her or any other nonsensical thing that we as a society of women just accept is our lot in life in order to advance in school, in work and sometimes just to survive.
As women we learn that our appearance is a big factor in how the world sees us. From the time we are just girls, we learn that how we are dressed has an effect on pretty much everyone. Our dress distracts. Our dress labels us. Whether good or bad the question often ends being but what was she wearing even when one is running for President.
We are told to smile because when we smile we are prettier and the implication that appearing attractive to men is one of our responsibilities. Then there’s the humbling of being told the correct way to feel because we should always be happy! Except when we shouldn’t smile because we are being condescending and smug; which is absolutely not attractive…not. at. all.
And our voices…raise our voice we are shrill, bitchy and not feminine at all.
Don’t forget, we also can be too fat or too skinny.
In my lifetime we have indeed come a long way, baby, but this election season smacks us in the face every day that its a long, long road still.