I think every liberal woman has broken down at some point in the past week. For me, it was at 2 a.m. on Wednesday when I called my boyfriend and wept. My mom cried when she woke up the morning after and my best friend shed tears throughout Tuesday night as it became clear Donald Trump would become president.
Every progressive person is upset that an intolerant man with zero policy experience has access to the nuclear codes, but for feminists, Trump’s win feels like a gut punch. Women are devastated that after waiting 227 years for the first female president, we’re stuck with a misogynist and alleged sex offender.
Yet, instead of being empathetic to the pain so many women are feeling, a lot of progressive men have responded with insensitive criticisms of Hillary Clinton.
When you inflict your analysis on a woman who is devastated that Americans just elected a man who considers her subhuman, you are being sexist. Plain and simple.
These dudes, known as “brogressives,” are really eager to share their definitely-not-sexist opinions about why Clinton failed. When women try to express how it feels to watch a man with zero years of public service experience and 15 sexual assault allegations to his name beat a female candidate with 30 years of political experience fighting for mothers and children, they proceed to list her flaws. She’s “unlikeable” they say, a classic “establishment” figure. They say sexism played no part in Clinton’s defeat because the majority of white women voted for her ― ahem, racism ― while failing to note that the majority of all women did support her.
They undermine her professional accomplishments. Writing in the Guardian, author Thomas Frank called Clinton a “party hack” who should have been replaced by Joe Biden because of his “powerful, plainspoken style.” In short, these non-Trump supporting “woke” men find various ways to invalidate the emotional pain women feel right now.
Quick message for the Brogressives: back off and let women grieve. Even better, support them. Of course there are valid criticisms of Clinton and the Democratic Party. But when you inflict your analysis on a woman who is devastated that Americans just elected a man who considers her subhuman, you are being sexist. Plain and simple.
Quick message for the Brogressives: back off and let women grieve. Even better, support them.
For the past 19 months, we’ve heard Trump call us “dogs,” “pigs” and “slobs,” brag about grabbing our vaginas and call the 15 women who accused him of sexual assault liars. We’ve watched Trump imply Clinton should be assassinated, call her “unstable,” “weak” and a “nasty woman” and stalk her on the debate stage.
Now that he’s been elected, women fear for their personal safety, and their fears seem to be warranted. From a young man allegedly grabbing a woman’s breast on a bus because it was his “right” to another yelling, “Trump, baby!” after smacking a woman’s butt, sexual harassment is on the rise in Trump’s America.
Women of color are even more endangered. Since Trump’s election, his supporters have beaten and mugged Muslim women, spray-painted “black bitch” on a woman’s SUV and told an Asian woman to leave the country.
Beyond the threat of physical danger, we are terrified by the likelihood that Trump will end our reproductive rights.
The best way to prove you’re a man who isn’t threatened by powerful women is to show support.
Many women relate to Hillary Clinton’s pain because so many of us know what it’s like to lose in some way to a man who is less deserving. It’s emotional to watch the discrimination we feel on a daily basis happen on a national stage.
When we grieve for Clinton, and the historic first that didn’t happen, give us space. Don’t respond with “Yeah, but...” The best way to prove you’re a man who isn’t threatened by powerful women is to show support.
*This column previously appeared in the Ottawa Citizen.