In the year of black swans, the US Presidential election result is being put through intense analysis and scrutiny: did the polls go wrong, did the media go wrong, was it Hillary Clinton, was it the Democrats?
While I’m positive that parts of all these went wrong – the media in hoisting Clinton and treating Donald Trump’s supporters like a “basket of deplorables”, Clinton in placing her bets entirely on the non-White supremacist voters and the minorities, a group that many news outlets claim don’t always have a high voter turnout – a huge part of this rests with misogyny.
At this point, it doesn’t matter to me – and possibly to most women – if you call us ‘feminazis’. As a feminist, I’m appalled that Hillary Rodham Clinton did not become the first woman president of the most powerful country in the world. I do not live in the country. I will probably not be affected by the outcome. But to a woman, the elections result sends out just one message – you are never good enough.
A competent woman losing out to an incompetent man is an everyday reality for most women at their workplaces. Various reasons are cited for it, all relating to her bodily functions or emotions or capabilities that are simply unseen. For Clinton, however, it was her corruption. Those who oppose her cite her corrupt run in the government, her lies, her emails as valid enough reasons to not support her. They stand completely true. And, pay attention, just like any other politician in any part of the world, Hillary Clinton was corrupt, probably lied a lot of times, and her emails were cleared by the FBI so one can do away with that reason altogether. She was just like any other politician.
The voters may have expected out of her a puerile being, with a halo above the head and motherly wings, promising to nurture the people. Well, Clinton was a far cry from that. She was headstrong and decisive, qualities we still cannot attribute to femininity. Indeed, her years of experience in the government and four years as secretary of state got noticed as “bad experience” thanks to her opponent.
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She may have been unlikeable to some of the voters. As it often happens in politics and with leaders, we’re unhappy with their terms and don’t choose them. However, at this point, her opponent came with less to zero experience, with a terrific history of racism and misogyny that vilified the hatred of many other Americans and continues to do so, now with more vigour, and yet, the woman was not good enough. It was not only her loss that is reflective of misogyny, it is also Donald Trump’s victory.
She lost out to a man who was not even remotely as good as her. But her run becomes uninspirational to the many girls and women aspiring for higher positions if you tell those women that Clinton should never have run in the first place. Tell her where she went wrong instead of telling her that her replacement, a man, would have been better for the party. Analyse the faults of her campaign, instead of showing how her replacement, a man, would have turned the election round. The polls are anyway the least trustworthy at this point. Instead of speculating on the outcomes of yet another man’s supremacy over a woman, it may do well to understand how she went wrong as a politician.
If we need to salvage the good out of this democratic but disastrous outcome, the least the world could do is to not negate her entire run. Serve it as an example on how to be leader not as a bad example of how women shouldn’t run.