History with a capital H. Alternate Title: Please Don't Do That Sexist Thing.
So, as you all know, unless you're purposefully hiding under a rock, that Hillary Clinton was officially nominated by one of the two major political parties as their candidate for President this week.
Let me just lay out the obligatory disclaimers:
I did not vote for Obama in either election.
I did not vote for Bill Clinton in either of his elections.
I did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary.
I was a lifelong republican until a few years ago (see my previous post about why I left).
I am not a democrat. I am currently registered unaffiliated.
I am, indeed, a woman.
I was born in the 1970s.
I work in a field dominated by men, my instructors were all men, other than for about 8 months in residency where we had a female psychologist, but her husband was the one they hired and took her as part of a package deal.
Most of the though leaders in my field are men.
I have a daughter who is 10 years old.
I am not a fan or an apologist for Hillary Clinton.
I am a fan of equality. And I am a fan of having a non old white guy President. I've known, like most of the country, for weeks, if not months, that Clinton is going to be the de facto candidate for the democrats.
Last night, when family were at dinner, I was checking the twitter news and there it was: Hillary Clinton makes history as the first woman selected by a major party as candidate for president.
As I read the headline aloud, something happened that I did not expect. I felt a catch in my voice, a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. When I said it aloud, it became real. A woman is actually running for President. And she could honestly win.
I think that part of me, subconsciously, knew that until it was actually official, it might not happen. Part of me still believed that the Sanders camp would find a way to protest the primary results and still get him the nomination. The crazy thing about that thought is that I voted for Sanders, my guy would have won, so why was I so bothered by the idea of a contested election and Sanders as the candidate?
Because he didn't win it. Read this Shaun King (a Sanders supporter) article if you want to know why. And if he had contested the convention and been made the candidate, it would have once again meant that a woman who worked to achieve something had it taken from her and given to a man, despite having earned it. **
**yes I know about the goddamn DNC email links and yes I know they worked hard to put the thumb on the scale for HRC, read the King article, I said.
So, while I am not a fan of Clinton, I am a fan of history. And this is the kind of history I want my child to be a witness to, that I want to be a witness to.
So, when I took the chance to express my state of mind on the Book of Faces last night, most people were in agreement. But then it showed up. I posted a photo of Mrs. Clinton and a comment (below the photo):
You may not like her. But my daughter gets to grow up in an America where she can take for granted that a woman can be president. I didn't get that. This is history, and I aim to appreciate it for my girl.
And then came the sexism, from a friend who doesn't even realize what he's doing.
Here's the conversation (he's the black block, I'm the yellow).
Do you see it? I said, "this is historic." He said "wait, I don't like her and she might not win. Also, I'd like to point out she's not a good person." (
Leaders should be held to high standards--what the actual hell does that have to do with the conversation about whether this is historic or not? It doesn't. Of course leaders should be held to standards.
Never mind that people in power are held to standards, and women are held to higher standards than men, nearly universally.
The key line in all of this, though, is "I take it as a given that it's historic..."
He takes it as a given.
He takes it as a given.
What he doesn't understand (and what, I suspect many men may not understand), is that I didn't get to take it as a given that it was even going to happen, because it literally never has.
He had already resigned to her being the candidate, and was ready to move on.
But for me, as a woman, a mother, I wasn't ready to move on. I was ready to celebrate and observe the moment.
I get it, people don't like her. And they don't have to. Heck, I don't even really like her. But I will not erase the history of this moment because of it. I will not allow anyone else to shush me or tell me that it's not a big deal until November. Because you know what? It's History. With a capital H.