Saturday, 12 November 2016

Stop. Hillary Losing Does NOT Equal Women Losing.

And proclaiming it with your social media loudspeakers blaring on ‘neighbour alert’ doesn’t make you a feminist.


I’m going to start with a quick disclaimer: I’m no expert on politics. People here to find bones in my soup of ponderment (let’s hope this phrase sounds believable enough to evade Googling) can bow out now—you will probably win your little battle.

My main mission statement here is less about the election itself, and more about social media’s extremely diverse (but unfailingly entertaining) reaction to yesterday’s damning results.

In what seemed like a surreal, lucid dream (or an episode of Black Mirror/South Park, to reference social media), Donald Trump was declared the 45th President of the United States of America last morning.

It’s safe to say it was in the internet’s job description to explode.

As much as the very thought of this man being the leader of the superpower that is America filled my chest with bile, the creative flicker in my soul was happy just to be a party to a segment of history that would go down in the books as something that truly shook the world.

And how do you relish in the very moment, and celebrate being alive to witness something so momentous (albeit horrific)?

You turn to social media, of course.

I chose to stick to Twitter—in my opinion, the closest to actual self-expression that social media can get (suffice to say, I’m still not an Instagram type of ‘gal’), and it delivered—the place was awash with hilarious cries for help, some genuinely heartbreaking post-election reactions, and, far more upsetting than anything, the odd Trump-ed Twit talking about how the ‘good days were on their way’.

Luckily, there were enough Tweets about this officially being the apocalypse to assuage my ebullient panic. Including, might I add, a hilarious George RR Martin—whose books I haven’t read, and the shows based on which I’ve never watched, but who’s enough of a cult giant for me to have garnered a small arsenal of catch phrases (“You know nothing, Jon Snow", and ‘I drink, an I know things’ being top of the pile)—to go ‘Winter is coming. Told you so”.

But none of these Tweets annoyed me quite as much as every woman in the fray choosing this time to go, “Oh, you know why this happened, right, right, RIGHT? It’s because Hillary’s a WOMAN.”

Wow. Um, No.

What’s upsetting is how a little a grasp of the situation every person who has Tweeted or Facebooked this has of what has actually been happening here.

I’m going to start by quoting Tim Urban’s post on WaitButWhy, because the moment I read this line, I felt a brother-from-another-mother feeling take over my body. He says, succinctly and bluntly:

I don’t believe that for a second [that we’ll never have a female president] and I don’t think you do either. Hillary didn’t lose because she’s a woman. She lost because Hillary is bad at campaigning and because Trump had a message that resonated with a lot of people and she didn’t. The country is unbelievably ready to elect a woman as its president and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in the next election or the one after. And it’ll be so awesome whenever it happens.

Straight off the bat, in said post, Urban declares that he was supremely crushed at Trump’s victory, but instead of going blind with seething rage, tried to analyse the situation for what it’s repercussions might be for the country, and the world.

The point he makes, however, is one I have been too wary to make because the world is currently up in arms, waiting to slice and dice anyone that toes the myriad lines of political correctness in the smallest of measures.

Regardless, as someone who may not be able to call herself many things with the kind of ardent axiom she can call herself a feminist, I feel like I can be candid.

I will be damned if you make this about feminism.

Has America screwed up? Yes, indeedio! Will it’s consequences have a catastrophic domino effect for generations to come? Probably! Did they just vote in (even though popular vote says they didn’t, but ah, semantics) a man who’s going to be the political equivalent of termites? They sure have!

But that’s the thing though? They didn’t do it because Hillary is a woman.

The people that voted for Trump did it because this man is out and proud about having the wildly bigoted, sexist and ruthless worldview he does (and believe me, ruthlessness is frightening enough in an intelligent man)—and because they like that about him. They don’t hate Hillary for being a woman, they hate her for her views on abortion, on letting in refugees, or racial harmony—and those views to them would have been as unattractive in the guise of a man (or so I’d like to believe).

 The proof of the pudding is how wildly the same people slammed Obama, asked for his birth certificate, and called his legalization of gay marriage ‘a straight move to landing the country in hell.’ I speak of those that genuinely think #MakeAmericaGreatAgain is a stellar idea, and now there is nothing to do but watch from the sidelines as the country unravels, and its whole foundation of liberty comes apart at the seams.

The fact is, the America she was standing for isn’t smart enough, or liberal enough, to want her.

But to peg that on the fact that she’s a woman demeans not only her, but the idea of feminism. The one kind of woman I detest, is the kind that uses feminism as a shield, at the ready. ‘Oh, you don’t like my poem? You’re just hating on me because I’m a woman?’ ‘Oh you think I’m not funny? Is it because you think WOMEN aren’t funny?’ ‘The only reason I didn’t get that promotion is because I’m a woman.’

I’m sure there are lots of circumstances where that’s true—but there are many where it really fucking isn’t, and to pretend that’s why it’s happening makes you pretty despicable. The whole idea of feminism is to stand level, not to try and use it to get a leg up. In this case, you are boiling everything the person that is Hillary stood for with her gender—which is a part—not the essence—of who she is. To say she lost because she’s a woman is a cheat, a low attempt by someone who either knows nothing of, or has totally misread, the election, and wants to feel included in the conversation.

Hillary didn’t win because America doesn’t deserve for her to win. And I’m pretty sure Hillary is woman enough to know that.

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