Please welcome a lifelong friend of mine who is an honest-to-God, no-surgery-required, cisgender female. After a conversation we had recently, I implored her to share her views with our Riverside Green readers. To protect her identity, I’ve given her a username that makes me laugh. Enjoy!—Bark
On November 9, 2016, my best friend texted me. “Well, it’s done. I voted. I voted for HIM.” I laughed, because honestly, minus a tiny snippet of hope in the very back of my brain, I thought Hillary had the election in the bag. “Remember,” I said, “This was an easy decision. Better to vote for an honest asshole who gets economics than a dishonest criminal who is married to a dude who got a blow job in the Oval.” I got the “LOL” and we both went about our day. That night, I stared at the television, incredulous, as the ticker declared that Trump would win Wisconsin. My phone buzzed. “Holy Shit, Lizzie. He’s going to win this thing. You were right about the silent voters.”
I am a 38 year old, pro-choice, gay marriage supporter. I live in a state where it’s legal to buy marijuana for recreational purposes, and frankly, I have no problem with that whatsoever. I did not hesitate when I filled in my ballot in for Donald J. Trump. Oh, and I’m a woman with a graduate degree. But, up until now, I haven’t been able to talk about that at all, because there’s an incredibly curious phenomenon happening with women in America right now.
And it all boils down to this: If you weren’t #withher, now you’re #notwithus. Effective January 21, 2017, I’ve apparently lost my woman card. Even though I don’t want to live in a country where the government can tell me what to do with my body. Even though I believe that you can marry whomever you wish. Even though I raise my daughter to believe that she can do whatever and be whoever she wants in this life. Nope, I’ve lost my woman card because I wholeheartedly believe that President Trump deserved my vote for President of the United States of America.
I don’t understand the reasoning behind the women’s march, and I think #theresistance is stupid. I’m mortified that friends of mine found it acceptable to put a “vagina hat” on their heads and march around various cities in apparent fury. For three days around the Inaugural Ceremonies (capitalized) and the women’s march (not capitalized), I was legitimately confused. Exactly WHAT are they protesting? What rights does my husband have that I do not? For days I texted back and forth with two friends who share my beliefs – we called each other “safe company.” I would text them when I went to school for pick up and Moms cried about Trump on the playground. I would text them when my husband came home from work and said he had co-workers shut in a conference room all day talking about how “scared” they were to be women in America—all high-powered attorneys who make well over six figures. Also, for the record, my husband did not vote for Trump. My friends would always end the rants with something like, “I’m glad we have each other because we can’t talk about this anywhere else.”
But the fact that we feel like we can’t talk about “this” is increasingly unsettling for me. I’ve been philosophically slut-shamed by my own gender into silence. I don’t understand why women are so pissed off about words. I’m not less of a woman because Donald Trump has a potty mouth. Donald Trump’s potty mouth hasn’t taken any rights away from me. Bill Clinton got a blow job in the Oval from a White House Intern who, you know, wasn’t his wife…and then Hilary stayed with him. Her choice, totally. But Donald just talked about pussy. Bill actually got some. Yet, we regard him as some sort of hero.
Why can celebrities (and playground Moms, for that matter) shout their disgust from the rooftops, but I feel like if I speak up, I’ll be completely ostracized. Wait a minute…freedom of speech only applies if you side with “her”? I sign on to Facebook and I only see those who are part of #theresistance (I’m not sure what they’re resisting – America?) But, forty-five percent of white women with college degrees (my demographic) voted for Trump. I am convinced that more than half of that percentage is spending their time trying to smooth over the hysteria with kindness and memes. (Guilty, a couple of times). But, the reason I’m increasingly unsettled is no one wants to listen to why I voted for Trump. Apparently, to be a woman in 2017, I need to have a very angry vagina. I should be mad about the fact that Trump (may have) sexually harassed women. I should be mad because he (might) walk back civil rights. I should be mad because a newly shaped Supreme Court (might) roll back a woman’s right to choose. I should be mad because the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (could) take away free birth control (which, coincidentally – why am I not getting free birth control with my insurance plan? Another topic for another time).
KellyAnne Conway made a comment at a post-election conference at Harvard University that struck me:
“Voters were being told constantly, ‘Stare at this, care about this, make this the deal breaker once and for all’. And they were told that five or six times a week about different things. And yet they went, they voted the way voters have always voted: on things that affect them, not just things that offend them.”
Women need to stop being so offended, and they need to stop with the total tyranny on free thought. I absolutely voted on things that affect me – not what might happen. I voted for a businessman who would surround himself with people who can implement deals that can ultimately strengthen our country and put more money in my pocket. And before you start ranting about privilege, I give more than I should to “causes.” I believe in “inclusion.” I believe that people should have a roof over their heads. I have a soft spot for kids who don’t have enough food to eat or supplies for school. I do a lot—but, on my terms. I don’t want the government telling me when and where and how to be charitable. I’m not worried about the government trying to control my body…because they don’t. Cause here’s the deal: I don’t live in Afghanistan.
Let this sink in for a moment: “The average Afghan girl will live to only 45 – one year less than an Afghan male. After three decades of war and religion-based oppression, an overwhelming number of women are illiterate. More than half of all brides are under 16, and one woman dies in childbirth every half hour. Domestic violence is so common that 87% of women admit to experiencing it. But more than one million widows are on the streets, often forced into prostitution. Afghanistan is the only country in which the female suicide rate is higher than that of males. “
American women are completely out of touch. My humble advice? No matter your beliefs, respect the Office of the Presidency, and give President Trump a chance to do his job. Stop talking. Listen to other women without judgement. Above all—stop being fearful. There is no reason to live in fear…because, you know, you’re not an Afghan woman.