Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States. At first, I was overjoyed, then almost immediately saddened, because I know how polarizing she is and with the state of things in our country, it doesn't bode well for her. The offensive, terrible memes have already started about her, which leads me to believe she doesn't really have a chance and my childhood dream of seeing a female POTUS may not materialize in my lifetime. Also, it's depressing to hear people try to take her down knowing that so much of what fuels their ire is that she's a strong woman and unapologetic about her strength, which they fear. Seeing that I strive to be a strong woman who is unapologetic about it, I almost feel like their
take-downs of her are directed at me as well. Those memes, those commenters, the folks who put those misogynistic bumper stickers on their vehicles, are really saying, "We are against all women who try to achieve, who strive to excel. Who don't know 'their place' or simply won't accept it."
What especially irks me are the deniers. Not just the women who believe in equal rights but insist they are not feminists (honestly, I can only roll my eyes at them anymore) but those who insist the pay gap and discrimination and blame-the-victim politics are merely the invention of a group of whiners, that those problems really don't exist or are greatly exaggerated. NOT. TRUE. Almost every day, even in our enlightened little town (although certainly less often here than other places I've lived) there are discriminations, instances where I know was treated differently than someone with a Y chromosome would've been. Dismissed. Taken less seriously. My abilities and judgement doubted in a way that my male counterparts are not, simply because I am female. Mansplaining, being talked over, having my ideas dismissed then later introduced as someone else's and applauded, yeah, I've experienced all of that.
When I was working at a library in the midwest, I did the layout and design for our newsletter. I did a good job. In fact, our newsletter received a Best in Show award. The library decided they needed a new copier and felt that I should be the person to help decide what machine to go with, as the newsletter had some special printing requirements. A gentleman whose office machines company the library had done business with for years came by with a machine to show us and let us try for a few days. He set it up in my office. I introduced myself to him and he just looked amused. He asked for a copy of the newsletter to show how the machine could handle it. He looked it over and said, "Hey, this is really good. Where's the fellow who put this together?"
Politely, I told him I put it together. I was met with immediate skepticism. To the point that he laughed. "Nah, come on. Where is he?"
I showed him my name on the masthead and even pulled out my license to prove that we were the same person. He started to frown and his eyes narrowed. He still looked like he didn't believe me. I showed him my computer screen where I was putting together the next issue using Quark XPress. (Oh, how I miss Quark.) He started looking angry, and I realized he thought I was trying to take credit for someone else's work, that I was trying to pass myself off as something I wasn't. And that he genuinely did not believe that a young woman could've created that publication.
He finally sighed and told me he'd show me how the machine ran, and I should show the guy who did the newsletter when he got in the next day. But he could come back and show him, if I couldn't remember all the details.
He did not get our business. I used all the powers that I had to convince our director to go with a different company. But being dismissed like that, and practically accused of being dishonest about my work, still burns me almost fifteen years later.
I'm also depressed because I'm reading a history of the Riot Grrrl movement and I'm dismayed to see how little has changed, and in fact, in some ways gone backward. In spite of all our efforts toward progress, today we have a woman who has been sent to jail for having a miscarriage, a woman who had a pharmacist refuse to fill her prescription for a medication her doctor prescribed for her after she'd had a miscarriage, a woman in Ireland who died of sepsis because the emergency room she went to after she began hemorrhaging from the miscarriage she was having would not do a procedure on her that would save her life because they felt it was too close to abortion.
We have congressmen having closed door meetings about contraception and not allowing women to be part of the discussion.
We still live in a world where the victim of a sexual attack is blamed for what she might've done to invite the attack, but the violator more often than not gets a slap on the wrist and the sincere concern that the woman's allegation won't hurt the attacker's future.
A crazy woman in Arizona wanted a law on the books that would consider all women of childbearing age to be pregnant unless they could prove otherwise. Yeah, you read that right. The proposed bill (which failed, thankfully) "contains a clause that dates gestational age from “the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman.” This effectively moves the beginning of a pregnancy to two weeks prior to conception.