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Our primary election season has sent shudders up my spine.
These shudders are reminiscent of when on an episode of Game of Thrones I watched a woman, Cersei, being forced to make a naked walk of “atonement” through the streets, pummeled with kicks, spit and garbage.
This week, instead of trumpeting a flawed woman’s rise to the steps of the flawed (historically) man-only throne, a woman continues to be stripped of her personhood, flayed for her mistakes, and shoved onward, presumably until nothing is left.
That illusive perfect woman, the one every man is on the hunt for and every woman strives to be, doesn’t exist.
The ideal woman is blonde, a size two with big boobs, a tight behind, smooth skin and a mind that will entertain but not threaten, a voice not loud or shrill, one who stands by her man and is always supportive but lays perfect boundaries while owning her actions. She must work outside the home as well as in, keep household coffers full and clean, know everything yet be willing to know nothing, make money but spend it only on others, and rise to the top while never looking as if the position is wanted.
A woman must sleep with no one and everyone, be friendly, yet not too friendly, dress down but not dowdy, hold off aging with every product imaginable, though never act or dress too young, raise perfectly behaved children and be pleasant at all times, especially when said children are in public.
Though her paycheck will be less than male counterparts, a woman must not complain lest she be thought of as “greedy” or “bitchy.” A woman’s days will be filled from end to end with tasks that will never achieve perfection, since so many other women will be seen as having done better or perceive her for not having doing things the “right” way.
And so, instead of cheering “You go girl” when a woman finally reaches a pinnacle of female achievement, that has been denied since 1941 when women won voting privileges, she is stripped in misogynistic bear paw swipes by the media and voters.
The latest was the cost of the female candidate’s clothing in relationship to a speech she was giving about inequality.
As though the amount she spent on her outfit was disrespectful.
In the 1950s, a woman had to ask permission from her husband before using household earnings on herself. A woman’s clothes belonged to her husband—as did she.
It has taken nearly a century of voting rights to elevate a mother-grandmother, a woman who has been besieged by the press, belittled by other women, degraded by men and humiliated publicly by her own husband, to a party’s nominee for President.
This woman stands before us, offering to be continually and brutally commented upon so that she may be the leader to voters, non-voters, and a pack of angry haters.
Politics have always been ugly, especially for the last eight years when a black man rose to the office of President of the United States. It has been horrifying to witness members of Congress and many of our populace de-humanize President Obama and his family.
The putrid smell of racism leaked out from hidey-holes and the stench still hasn’t evaporated. With the heavy-handed poking of reality performer Donald Trump, additional viewpoints—masked for decades—have been brought to our cultural awareness.
The odor is now joined by the rancid fumes of sexism, long thought gone as women have joined the ranks of Congress and are running Fortune 500 companies. As with racism, we have avoided acknowledging what some of our fellow American’s think.
The interactions during this election have been reenactments of what goes on in discussions about females in high school, at dinner tables, in office chatter, beauty pageants, on dating websites, behind closed doors, in whispers and guffaws between men and vicious comments among women.
Females are viewed on a 10-point scale that covers how we dress, have sex, look, talk and walk, how good we mother, how bad a daughter, a friend, a wife or a sister we are; whether we force ourselves to do it all and can cartwheel while simultaneously giving birth and making dinner.
As females we aren’t ever perceived as a 10. Flaws, mistakes and unfortunate choices are paraded until a woman quits or hides.
Hilary Rodham Clinton is no quitter. She didn’t hide when the nation condemned her relationship decisions, the choices she made as Senator and Secretary of State nor when Donald Trump called her “evil” while in the same two sentences describing her husband Bill Clinton, as “intelligent.”
Women have been called evil throughout history. We were called witches and hung or burned at the stake for offering healing practices that were misunderstood. A woman was condemned for being a poor public speaker (!), called a naughty girl for back-talking to a man, and met with disdain for having a misplaced mole or freckle, being non-religious or simply seeing the world differently than men.
Let’s celebrate a woman having the courage to stand and ask for our vote.
Hilary Clinton is a woman, a human being, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a daughter, a friend and a politician. From girlhood to adulthood, Hilary Clinton has crawled up the same rocky mountain range all women traverse.
Losing jobs because we aren’t a man, having to take pay cuts because we’re mothers, being called “emotional” because we know how to cry, asked “if we’re on our period” when we speak angrily, having our boobs and butt checked out by strangers, being told we shouldn’t dress provocatively because “someone may misunderstand,” having our weight continually considered and opined, food intake measured and being the arm candy for some guy at a business dinner.
It is time to celebrate that in spite of a history of female denigration, we have finally achieved what has seemed impossible. Whoever you are, whatever your belief or voting practices, please take a moment to dance for all women today.
A woman will be listed on the ballot to be President of the United States.
In November, let us leave behind 10-point scale tendencies and decide, based on abilities, if Hilary Clinton is the person for the job as leader of our great nation.
Author: Deb Lecos
Image: YouTube still
Editor: Caitlin Oriel; Renée Picard