I don’t even know what to say, where to start, or how to communicate on feelings that have already been expressed myriad times by myriad people. It’s like walking through a thick, viscous fog that is filled with hands that keep slapping you in the face. I’m just……demoralized.
Before I go any further, let me say something. This blog post is about MY feelings on all this. MY experiences, MY outlook, MY insights, working through MY issues. If, while you read this, you feel the need to tell me any of the following:
- “Calm down, you’re overreacting.”
- “We need to stop blaming and start uniting.”
- “God has it all under control, stop worrying.”
- “Let’s wait and give it a chance…”
- “But she……..”
may I respectfully and kindly ask that you just DON’T. If you honestly think I (and millions of others) haven’t heard that or some variation thereof about 85,632,840,574,398 times, you’d be mistaken. I don’t need that or want that. Please and thank you very much.
Like many others, I found myself aghast, despondent, frustrated, angry, surprised, and simply FLOORED by the election. I should have known better. Really, I should have. But I honestly, completely believed that we all were better than this. That we had come further as human beings. That such extreme and blatant vitriolic hatred was a deal breaker for everyone. But like the SNL sketch when Dave Chappelle hosted, what a vast percentage of our country already knew was flayed open and served on a steaming, rancid pile for the rest of us to realize. I knew there were racists. But I didn’t think there were this many or that there were this many people willing to overlook racism. I knew there were misogynists, but I didn’t know so many women were willing to ignore that. I knew there were stupid, gullible people, but I am shocked by how many were willing to believe the flat-out lies being fed them – even when those lies were pointed out daily. I didn’t know and I refused to believe it. I thought “good will out,” as we’re taught.
Now, I’m not a minority, so I cannot speak about being a minority in our country – the way race issues affect people of color. I know what stories I hear, but I do not know it firsthand, therefore I won’t speak on it. I’ll leave that to someone better suited.
Neither am I an immigrant (at least not a 1st or 2nd generation immigrant), so even though I know & am friends with immigrants and hear their stories and their fears, it is not mine to discuss. So many others can do it better and more authentically.
I’m also not a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Jew. I know nothing but anecdotes concerning what they face on a daily basis in terms of struggle, oppression, hatred, or bigotry. I could speak on the surface of their issues, but I won’t. Those are their stories and I won’t co-opt them.
I’m not LGBTQ+ either. I know and love a whole lot of them and I will hold them close and fight with them. But I cannot speak for them.
But here’s what I am. I am a woman. Not only a woman – I am an abuse survivor. I am a sexual assault victim. And, horror of horrors in the eyes of our new administration, I am not a woman that has any place or worth in his eyes. I am fat. I am past middle age. I am not hot. In fact, I’m a woman that if he had assaulted me and I called him on it, his response would be, “Look at her. I wouldn’t waste my time with that. She’s a 4 at best.”
It is my status as a female assault victim/abuse survivor in the face of the past 1.5 years of this man’s candidacy that has me feeling this way. Not even INCLUDING the fact that since his election win, men around the country have decided that his win means open season on treating women like THINGS that they get to have, to touch, to grab, to assault at will. My feelings don’t even take that into account. Here’s what they do.
I, and many, many, many other abuse/assault survivors, sat and listened over and over again to this man talk in a demeaning manner about women. Dismiss women. Laugh at women. And, finally, reveal that he feels he has the right to do whatever he wants to them. Whenever he wants. We listened as our memories were triggered. As all the old feelings came rushing back. Statements and remarks that should have immediately eliminated him from any consideration as president were downplayed and minimized and, instead, when actual women came forward and said, “Yeah, this is who he is because he did it to me,” they were discounted. He threatened to SUE them. People defended him and his ACTIONS (not his words) as “locker room talk” and said it wasn’t a big deal. And, slowly, we began to realize that the safety we thought we might have found is actually nonexistent.
If you aren’t an abuse victim or an assault victim, you can’t possibly understand what it feels like to hear these things. To be told that something this man did – which might be similar or close to what happened to you – is nothing. To realize that even though you thought progress had been made, that our society had made steps forward, and that this kind of bullshit wasn’t tolerated anymore – that was a lie. It’s a kind of PTSD to hear someone running for the highest office in the land saying these things. You feel unsafe, threatened, powerless – AGAIN. And you panic.
For me, add to that the war I’ve been waging with myself for the past several decades. I have spent my whole life feeling that my worth as a woman is based on a few simple things. Am I attractive enough? Am I skinny enough? Am I hot enough? Do men want me? I have, for the most part, always answered those questions with a resounding NO. No matter how skinny or gorgeous or fabulous or sexy I was, it wasn’t enough. And if there wasn’t a man who wanted to have sex with me? I was worth nothing. I have fought tooth and nail for 30 years or so to put that outdated, bullshit standard out to pasture. Trying to reprogram and teach myself that my looks don’t matter – it’s who am I inside. It’s my heart and my talents and what I do for others and the passion I bring to the things I love. That the social construct of “female” I’ve been presented with all my life is a lie. I have worked my ass off trying to get myself there. Some days I do pretty well and some days I want to kill myself. But I keep trying because I saw and believed that being Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a more worthy goal than being simply a hot body. (No, I won’t name a famous hot woman because I won’t make another woman smaller in order to make myself feel bigger)
It is literally physically painful to realize that nearly half of the voting populace were willing to look past the vile words and actions, were willing to look past the misogyny, were willing to look past “grab ’em by the pussy,” were willing to forgo basic Christian beliefs, were willing to ignore the rights & well being of themselves and women they love. That even though they themselves might not be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc., that they were willing to overlook that in order to ensure…..what, exactly? What did he promise them that was so enticing that they could overlook all of that??
We have allowed someone who has shown himself over and over again to be a bully, a known sexual predator, a liar, a rule-breaker, a con man, unstable (crazed tweets??), and not in control of his faculties to be exalted to the highest office in the land. He doesn’t admit when he’s wrong. He doesn’t apologize when he’s been horrible (but expects others to apologize when they’ve done nothing wrong), he claims one thing and then the opposite when it suits him. It’s not that he won’t TAKE no for an answer, he won’t even HEAR it. He demands constant attention like a toddler.
The triggers and the buttons that have been callously pushed by this man are painful. To watch him stalk and try to physically intimidate Hillary during the debates was, for many, like watching and waiting for an attack to begin – an attack they’ve seen and experienced before. To hear him discuss groping & grabbing women in the most violative way was, for many, like reliving their own assault and the aftermath thereof. To hear him dismiss women’s accusations against him as lies and publicity grabs was, for many, like having to relive the pain and shame of reporting their own assault and having it minimized or dismissed. To hear him insult and demean women – breaking them down into nothing more than parts meant to create pleasure for him – was, for many, like every comment, every insult, every catcall, every “nice tits,” every single step that we as women have fought and bled for since the beginning of time being taken back from us. It was being forced to go back to the days where all that mattered was the size of our bra in relation to waist & hip measurements and that we’d better shut the fuck up and get back in the kitchen. And for those of us who aren’t more than a 6 on Donnie’s scale, we have been irrevocably handed our worth. We are all Rosie O’Donnell or Arianna Huffington or Bette Midler or any of the many, many women he has insulted by calling “fat pig,” “dog,” “not hot,” or whatever. As far as he’s concerned, we don’t matter. Which is what many of us thought about ourselves all along. It’s just now we have a President to remind us.
So. I’m sad. I’m depressed. I feel empty inside. Because it is now accepted that who I am is only meaningful in terms of my looks. And as I’ve been told, I don’t have to worry about anyone grabbing me “by the pussy” or being raped or assaulted (again) because I’m not attractive enough. I have nothing to worry about. So I’ll just sit here in my fat cave and try not to offend the President’s sensibilities.Tweet