If you’d told me back in September that I would see, hear, say, or write the word pussy as many times as I have in the last week, I’d have spit-laughed my coffee in your face. But the times, they are a strange-in’.
Here’s something else I didn’t think I would ever say:
We’re still a month out from the election, when, whatever the outcome, the nightmare nonstop media coverage will at the very least, switch focus. Regardless of who wins however, I still need to thank Donald Trump.
Like I said, strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mamas.
You see, for twenty-some odd years I’ve been studying women’s rights, sexism, feminism, women’s studies. Theoretical, linguistic, cultural, sociological. But even more, for forty-some odd years, I’ve been living it. My Steinem senses have had long periods of dormancy in the decades which have passed, but they started tingling in full flare up as soon as Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President of the United States.
And let me tell you, there have been times in the last eighteen months when I have legitimately doubted my sanity. When I wondered if what was so clear to me yet so unclear to others meant that I had finally managed to permanently fry my brain cells with too much wine and too many unnaturally colored cheese doodles.
But then a funny think happened on the way to November: PussyGate.
To be fair, it started about a month before the now infamous tape when I started to notice more articles which delved into the underlying sexism of this election cycle. When I started noticing people finally expressing support for Hillary Clinton the candidate and not Hillary Clinton Who Is Not Donald Trump. When I started to see articles not only about her legitimate flaws, but about her legitimate strengths.
But this is not about Hillary Clinton. This is about women. And Hillary Clinton is only one.
This election was always going to be about women. First woman atop a major ticket was always going to be a big–nay, massive–part of it. Women make up a majority of the American electorate, they were always going to be a major voting block. The fact that one party courted them mercilessly while the other took them for granted should not be overlooked.
2016 is the year that women aren’t simply relegated to the electoral chorus. We’re headlining.
Throw in a former Miss Universe, Bill Clinton’s mistresses, his accusers¹, and now with PussyGate, there’s been a collective female awakening.²
So Donald, thanks for getting it out there on the national stage. Granted, I like to grab ’em by the pussy is a pretty extreme ice-breaker, but it certainly got the job done.
Thanks too for vindicating what I and other women have been shouting about for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand years.
The stories of abuse and assault, of degradation that have been coming out since the leak of Donald’s tape have been staggering, not in their numbers, but because people are finally paying attention.
The party of family values, the one nostalgic for dated gender roles, one which built its recent foundation on the idea of white man as protector and earner. Who exactly are you protecting us from if not the guy you just nominated for president?
So thank you, Donald for exposing the hypocrisy of the current Republican party.
Thanks too, Donald for shoring up a sisterhood. We don’t need, or want your protection. Today’s women don’t want a white knight on a trusty steed. They want someone who’s going to help fold the laundry and take the kids to school. They want someone who is their equal, not their protector. Today’s women want social change and laws that protect them, not fathers or husbands who feign offense at the words that come out of their candidate’s mouth. Hell, half the time those fathers and husbands are the ones beating the shit out of us.
So thank you, Donald for firing up the political base that folks have ignored for so long: Women.
You were right, telling it like it is has its advantages. Thanks for making plain the undercurrent of power-hungry, degradation we’ve been talking about. No, you’re no Boy Scout, but by standing by your banter you’ve actually succeeded in opening up a national dialogue.
And this time, I hope American women aren’t going to stand for being interrupted or mansplained.
Thanks, Donald for validating what millions of women have been saying.
And thank you, for making me realize my sanity was never in question, not really.
I hope that on November 9th, I’ll be thanking you for helping to pave the way for the very first Madame President, but even if it doesn’t turn out that way, I’m woman enough to see that the Pandora’s box has been opened and there’s no forcing all this stuff back in.
Women aren’t going to be cowed back into submission. If you try to keep us down, we will rise, just like we have been doing for millennia.
Thank you for rallying the sisterhood.
I couldn’t have done it better myself.
- For clarification, if Bill Clinton were currently running for president, I would take just as much issue with the allegations leveled against him and his treatment of women.
- Thank you to the wonderful, late Mrs. Kilburn for introducing me to Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in AP English class. Obviously it made an impression.