Holy shit this election has gotten out of hand. This isn’t supposed to be a political post but it might wind up being one, apologies if it spirals. Let me just state for the record, I can’t stand either of the candidates. In full disclosure, I lean more anti-Trump. Way more. I leaned so far this morning I fell on the floor. I read about some Trump supportors and their desire to #repeal19 and that sent me into a head spin.
In case you haven’t heard this one yet……some supporters are speculating that Trump would easily win the election…..if only those pesky women couldn’t vote. So it was suggested via hashtag to repeal the 19th amendment. You know that very amendment that gave women in America the right to vote. It was not a single tweet. No like most of the vitriol this election, it spread like wild fire in a parched forest with two obnoxious brats flinging lit matches at one another.
I have noticed that I have gotten more sensitive lately to the blatant objectifying of women. I think this election is a trigger for that. We have the Clintons on one side with Bill’s history of being a sexual predator and Hilary’s staunch and sometimes rabid defense of him. Then on the other side we have Trump who has publicly demeaned women through outrageous comments and perhaps actions for his entire adult life.
While the filth is being displayed on 24 hour “news” outlets, I have an 11 year old daughter and a 13 year old son, soaking it all in. The past few months have been difficult for my daughter. Sometimes she has days when she feels ugly and it is a huge effort just to get her to focus on something else and get on with her day. Now I don’t blame this entirely on the election but hell, society at large has some skin in the game.
This morning my girl was having one of those tough mornings. As I was leaving to take them to school, I decided to approach my husband. Twenty minutes earlier he gave me a wtf shoulder shrug in response to our upset daughter. “It’s society, hon. Every girl is supposed to look perfect all the time, society is what happened.” He responded with it isn’t all societies fault and he’s right. Every person is responsible for how they respond to the stimuli around them and as a parent I am accountable for a good chunk of that. I accept that. I also know that as a man, he can not possibly understand the level of ridiculous expectations that are placed on females and so much of it is superficial. He has no idea what a young woman has to endure through out any given day.
When I was an awkward tween, I was teased for my looks. The terms “dog” and “ugly” were used more often than my name. I got used to ignoring the whispers I heard in the hall when I walked by. I had an awful homely phase which was accentuated with stringy, greasy hair, buck teeth, glasses and hand me down clothes. It was a harsh time. Then magically one summer things improved. I started to fill out, discovered make up and finally learned how to do my hair. Suddenly the boys that teased me wanted to date me. That brought on a whole other set of issues.
Here’s a short list of some of the bullshit I had to endure as a female:
When I was 5 we lived in a low end apartment building one level up from the projects. There was a boy there who made a fort in the woods and the first thing he put in there was a dirty old mattress. I didn’t know what the interest in a mattress was but I knew to get the hell away from him.
At 6, I had a “boyfriend” he was about 12 and we would make out in a fort. It sickens me now to think of it. What the hell was he thinking, I was 6.
At 8 years old I remember sticking oranges in my training bra to see what it would be like to have boobs. Even then I knew the importance of a nice rack.
9 -12 the awful tween years. I got teased for my looks including my body.
13 and up…looks improved, suddenly skinny wasn’t so bad. I got braces, stopped wearing glasses and put some effort into how I looked. Guys that used to tease me started to grab my ass instead. The 7th grade hallway turned into an obstacle course of avoidance.
That time when I was barely 16 and a man that was previously my counselor started an inappropriate sexual relationship with me. Predator.
During high school I worked part time at a grocery store. One older man in particular used to hug all the girls that worked at the store. I got sick of him making comments about my small chest so I complained and was shunned as a result.
16 – 20 I would go to the same diner every week with friends. There was a man at least twice my age that would “jokingly” ask for a blow job every time he saw me there. Seriously, he did this at least 30 times it was disgusting.
In my late teens I tried modeling for a bit. Actually had someone at an agency tell me if I became a photographer’s “girlfriend” I would have a better shot at modeling.
Creepy sales guys at my first office job commenting on my body and how well my clothing fit me. The looks the one guy gave me were equal parts disgusting and scary.
20 something…getting lingerie from a manager at work. The great part was his wife worked in the same office and he was at least 25 years older than me. Bonus, he was my first boss there.
I can’t count the times I had to get myself out of situations before they spiraled out of control. Find another ride home to avoid being alone with an aggressive male or sweet talk my way out of an uncomfortable situation. I learned how to turn a guy down without bruising his ego. Important life skills for a female.
Now that I’m middle aged (that’s even hard to type) I find myself in the “invisible” phase. Not ugly or pretty enough anymore to stand out for most people. It’s harsh but it’s true. There is a shelf life on looks in this world and I’ve exceeded my expiration. So I’m sure that realization is part of my seething ball of rage.
I find myself in a triple threat of the women’s objectivity. I’m past my prime in the looks arena which is sadly disappointing. Disappointing in so many ways, primarily because looks matter more than compassion or intelligence in many circles. Angry because my daughter feels the inevitable, soul crushing pressure to look good and she hasn’t even hit the tough stuff yet. The real kicker is these candidates for president – is this the best we can do? One who is without a doubt a sexual predator and the other the spouse of a sexual predator. Really?
So yes that stupid hashtag set me off today #repeal19. I don’t even know why I am surprised any more.The never ending descent into the bowels of hell is getting predictable. Just when you think the bar can not be set any lower, we sink a little more….surely we must be scraping the bottom?