The number of Americans who would rather elect a rapist than a female human being

Sady Doyle, like so many of us, is sick to death of this fucking election.

I am tired of the lingering hangover of the Democratic primary, tired of what this conversation has shown me about the seemingly well-meaning, “progressive” men in my life. I am tired of seeing the damage that even the mildest, wimpiest, plaid-shirt-clad beardy-bro can do when he’s been given license to stop taking sexism seriously, and therefore stopped worrying that he might get somebody hurt.

I’m tired of the hurt. I’m tired of hearing from women who’ve been run off Twitter by harassment and death threats and doxing because they dared to express an opinion about a Presidential election. I am tired of arguing that their pain matters, that the attacks on them matter. I am tired of living in a world where a state Democratic Party chairwoman can record her death threats and post them on the internet, a world where that woman needs a bodyguard to visit the goddamn bathroom, and where feminists are asked to prove that this series of events is, in fact, a bad thing.

It’s interesting how we get it from all directions, isn’t it. I think women are unique that way. I suppose it’s because everybody hates Mommy or some such thing.

Doyle is tired of explaining it, too.

I’m tired of having to explain why it’s sexist for men to tell me how to do my feminism “right,” why they shouldn’t impose their self-declared authority on my liberation. I’m tired of explaining why barring women’s access to public life, penalizing their public voices through tactics like harassment and intimidation, is integral to the functioning of patriarchy. I’m tired of explaining why demonizing powerful women — calling Hillary Clinton a murderer, a criminal, a hag, a witch, a bitch, etc — is a tactic as old as witch-burning. I’m tired of explaining why “likability” is a trap designed to make women worry more about other people’s feelings than they do about their own lives — and why no powerful woman will ever be “likable,” because the only “likable” thing she can do is give away her power. I’m tired of reading shitty divide-and-conquer thinkpieces about the catfight between “old” feminists (evil, capitalist, wear pantsuits, loathe the young and wish to feast on their economically disempowered flesh) and “young” feminists (hot, cool, hip, fun, down with male power because they understand these silly identity-politics struggles don’t get us anywhere and sometimes men are just smarter, am I right, girls?) and I am supremely tired of looking at that thinkpiece, and others like it, and seeing a male fucking byline on it.

I get that a lot. Just the other day, on Twitter – some guy, explaining women and feminism to me for tweet after tweet after tweet. I let him go on for a couple of days because I was curious to see how far he would push it. Once it became apparent that the answer was open-ended, I stopped letting him go on.

Now at least people believe her about sexism, but at what a price.

After spending a goddamn year arguing about whether sexism even existed, let alone whether it influenced people’s votes, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy now depends on beating a guy who is sexism incarnate — the big, orange, pussy-grabbing monster who grew to Tokyo-stomping size while we were arguing the finer points of progressive self-identification. A racist. A con man. A fascist. A joke. An alleged rapist. An alleged wife-beater. An alleged sexual harasser. After all that arguing about sexism and its impact, in the end, we just had to point at Donald fucking Trump and let people draw their own conclusions.

Truth. There has been a gruesome kind of schadenfreude in the news items about Trump, because they do demonstrate how casual and taken for granted it can be.

But the larger truth is that the whole thing is deeply insulting.

It isn’t just an insult to Hillary Clinton that she wound up facing Trump. It’s an insult to all women; it’s confirmation of our darkest suspicions about sexism, that while women are killing ourselves to do better and be smarter and work harder, while we’re building resumes, accumulating qualifications, going to classes, applying for extra credit, the only thing all that excellence does, at the end of the day, is to put us on equal footing with some male idiot who’s done precisely none of the work. It isn’t fun, realizing that the most qualified candidate in modern history is considered roughly equivalent to a barely literate game-show host with no government experience, just because she’s female. It doesn’t feel good, knowing that even Hillary Clinton has to stand there and get screamed at by some Twitter troll, just because she’s trying to get a job.

It is not fun, was not fun, has never been and could never be fun, spending nearly two years “debating” my own humanity through the lens of the biggest news story in the country. It has not been fun realizing that this matter was up for debate. I mean: By my count, Donald Trump currently has twelve standing allegations of sexual assault. Now, thanks to the magic of modern polling, I can see exactly how many of my countrymen don’t give a shit. According to FiveThirtyEight, the number of Americans who would rather elect a rapist than a female human being stands at around 45 percent.

And it’s only going to get worse.

In one scenario, Trump will win, and we’ll be governed by a man who is more vocal and unapologetic than most about believing women to be subhumans and second-class citizens. The sexism will flow down in terms of restrictive policies, cultural backlash, anti-choice and anti-female Supreme Court Justices, the incalculable harm done to younger generations by seeing misogyny legitimized and modeled by the most powerful man in the country. Or, Clinton will win, and she won’t have Trump to run against any longer — meaning that the sexism, “progressive” and otherwise, will come back every time someone gets frustrated with her or wants to delegitimize her, and we’ll have to argue about whether it exists or matters all over again.

I keep thinking it will take centuries, and then remembering that global warming means we don’t have centuries.

One Response to “The number of Americans who would rather elect a rapist than a female human being”