I’m going to be honest, I didn’t vote for Hillary during the primaries. But I’m sure as hell celebrating her victory now.
I’d like to say that “as a woman,” I’m celebrating her win, but it’s more than that, or at least it should be.
We should all be celebrating this day when a woman is on a major party ticket. My husband and I are raising two daughters, and this win is one for our entire family.
I’d love to be around to celebrate the day when a woman being on the ticket isn’t a big deal, or at least it’s not the most important thing about a candidate—male or female. More, I’d feel we’ve been successful if my girls get to vote in this type of climate, both politically and socially.
And then simultaneous with this huge social victory is the injustice of a white man getting six months in jail for rape. I felt sick to be an American as I read this verdict, and the words of this rapist’s father. Juxtaposed next to Hillary Clinton, this feels like an extremely dichotomous climate to be celebrating within.
Yet acknowledging how far we have to go, as well as the injustices that permeate our culture daily, is nothing less than the appropriate, positive thing to do. While it may be disgusting to see racism and sexism still surrounding us in 2016, it’s equally important to not forget that real change can only happen when we open our eyes and say, “I see this.” Because what follows this admission is offering, “Let’s fix it.”
I tried to watch Hillary Clinton’s speech with my daughters. I felt overcome with emotion and gratitude to be living in this moment of history in the making, even if I’m not necessarily one of her staunch admirers. Her victory is one for all women everywhere to celebrate, not just those who love her and filled in the box next to her name. Her victory is one I would be celebrating with sons, too, if I had them surrounding me instead of girls.
My daughters got bored before the speech ended. It’s ok—they’re only five-and-a-half and one-and-a-half.
They’re still too young to understand things like glass ceilings, wage gaps, and rape. They’re still too filled with natural pride, joy and curiosity to know that the world isn’t always as fair as it should be, or as it could be. I don’t look forward to the day when they realize this.
I remember when I was about 12 or 13. I used to tell people, only half-jokingly, that I wanted to be President someday. (I guess sometimes it takes awhile for the real world to sink in, especially when you grow up in white suburbia and more privileged than many, like I did.)
We were getting in the car after a shopping trip the other day—my husband, our girls and I. I told my husband that as soon as the girls are old enough, we’re going to volunteer in local shelters and do things together where they get to see first hand that they are relatively spoiled and lucky, that not everyone grows up this way, and that there are ways they can help if they chose to. I want them to chose to help.
I want to say something cheesy, like I wish there was never a day when they didn’t realize that being a woman might be fun as hell, but that there are faults that inherently come with being one. More than this idealism, though, I want them to be aware of society’s flaws, so that they can make sure to listen to other people when they voice feelings of prejudice, or so they aren’t blind when they witness the discrimination they surely will, at times, plainly see.
I want them to hold space for others who are different from them. I want them to not be ethnocentric and pretend that privilege doesn’t exist, when obviously it does. (Just look at that rape verdict.)
We shouldn’t have to have the same color of skin, or be the same sex, or the same religion to know that rape is wrong, and that a woman running for President shouldn’t be something special.
But I want my girls to know that, right now, women still have far to go, and when they see tears prick my eyes as I watch Hillary Clinton speak, I hope they know one day that these are the happy, happiest tears of a mom raising women; of a mom who is witnessing some of these barriers crumbling.