On Nov. 8, 2016 I woke up thinking that I was going to see the first woman to become president of the United States of America.
Not just any woman, though. I thought it was going to be Hillary Clinton. A woman who was the top of her class at Yale Law School, a woman who earned an incredible job in Washington, only to leave it to be with her soon-to-be husband Bill Clinton—a man she would continually put before herself. A woman who worked through criticisms of her work, her husband’s scandals and not to mention her physical appearance all for one dream—to serve this country as president.
Sadly, on Nov. 8, 2016 this is not what I saw.
I saw a man who embodied the worst aspects of humanity—misogyny, racism, xenophobia and homophobia—become president of the United States of America. I saw a man who openly said he grabbed women inappropriately without consent become our president. I saw a man who judged women’s worth and capabilities solely on their appearance become our president. I saw a man who openly called an entire race drug addicts and rapists become our president. I saw a man who will never understand or even respect what it means to be a woman become our president. A man who will never understand what it is like walking home alone, pepper spray in one hand and a pre-dialed 9-1-1 phone call in the other or experience the daily struggle of covering up every flaw to look unattainably attractive became our president. I saw a man who campaigned with hate speech gain the most powerful position in the country, and arguably the world.
And most importantly, on Nov. 8, 2016 I saw a woman who was named one of the most qualified candidates our country has ever nominated for presidential candidacy lose to this man.
I’ve always dreamed to see a woman lead this country. After Hillary spent her whole life putting a man before herself and sacrificing her career, her image and arguably her self-worth for him, I wanted it so badly to be her. But, apparently thought of having two historical elections back-to-back was really too good to be true. And truthfully, if Hillary Clinton cannot beat Donald Trump, I don’t know what woman will beat a man in a presidential election.
All I know right now is this—I am still with her.
I am still with her because I want to see that glass ceiling broken. I want to be judged by anyone, but especially males, on my merit and my abilities as an intellectual and a professional rather than the size of my waist, my breasts and the length of my skirt. I am still with her because I don’t want to have to sacrifice my self-worth just to compete for a job with an underqualified man. I am still with her because I want to be able to get pregnant with a child and not have to worry about chosing between my well-earned career and raising that child. I am still with her because I don’t want someone to grab me by the pussy. I am still with her because I don’t want to live in a world where rape is okay. I hope that someday I will live in a world like this—but I know now someday is surely not anytime soon.
On Nov. 8 2016, I went to bed scared.
I went to bed scared that the rights that I do have, the rights to my body, the rights to my civic duty and the right to my somewhat equal status in society will be stripped away from me. I went to bed feeling guilty that maybe I took these rights for granted all my life. I went to bed feeling like a piece of property rather than a valued member of society. I went to bed scared because this election speaks measures far beyond politics and far beyond the ideologies of democrats and republicans. This election speaks volumes on our need for feminism, our need for inclusiviely and our need for tolerance–but now we have to work even harder for it.
And lastly, I went to bed thinking that maybe I CANNOT be anything I want to be—especially not the President of the United States.