To be womanly always; Discouraged never. My favorite line from my Sorority’s symphony. Something I never thought would have so much meaning, until now. It has been two weeks since the election and before you stop reading because you have a feeling you know where this is going, I ask you to continue.
I don’t know how you were raised, but I was the oldest of two girls. I grew up in a small town and went to public school until my parents decided it was time for us to switch to a Catholic School. My parents raised both my sister and I to befriend everyone. We were not to judge someone for the color of their skin, what they dressed like, their physical or mental abilities or their beliefs and religions. And, to be honest, we didn’t. We were raised to be strong, independent women and were told we could be whatever we wanted when we grew up. I am very lucky to have such supportive parents and so grateful for the values and morals they had both taught my sister and I as we grew up. I continue to hold these teachings very close to my heart and strive to live out these morals everyday.
But during the Presidential campaign, these morals and values were tested. I was very hesitant to discuss my feelings on this election because I did not want to deal with conflict among friends or family members, nor do I still wish to. This article is so much more than the election and more on us as women, as viewed by a 22 year old. I witnessed women constantly cutting one another down, attacking a woman who they have never personally met, except through the public eye of the press. Referring to her as a disgrace, unfit and unwomanly. Really? I knew it was time to speak up and share my voice.
A Historical Moment
When Hillary accepted her nomination as the Democratic nominee for president, my heart was filled with joy. You can believe what you want, but this election was BIG when it came to the history of our country. Like Donald Trump said, “this is going to be huge” type of big. There was a woman candidate and a man, who had no previous experience in the political field, on the ballot.
Take a minute and think with me for a minute: A woman, on the ballot. This to me represented a step towards the future. A future for all the little girls who stand up in their 2nd grade classroom and say “I want to be the President of the United States of America” with a big smile on their face because they know that they can make that dream come true.
If you think about the history of our country, a hundred years ago a woman would not even be able to vote. Let alone run for president. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted illegally in the presidential election. Her efforts and leadership lead to the pass of the 19th Amendment and the right for adult women to vote. Can you imagine if she were here today to witness this movement?
The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. This means that women have not even had the ability to vote for 100 years. This is something we should think about.
You had the ability to vote. That is amazing all in itself. Stop taking it for granted. For some reason, we as women have been cutting one another down for whichever candidate we voted for. We stand against one another because of our beliefs and judge one another because of each others reactions and actions.
This is not what Susan B. Anthony or the hundreds of other woman who fought for our rights would want. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, who never had the chance to vote, would gladly hit us hard with their wooden spoons for the constant negative words we have passed back and forth to one another. To be honest, we would all deserve it.
We are no better than one another and need a wake up call. Maybe, this election was it. We as women should stand together, even if we did not vote for the same woman or man.
It’s Time to Come Together
I read a Facebook status about how Hillary was a “disgrace” to women because she stayed with her husband after his acts of infidelity. This alone shocked me. Knowing several women, who are close to my heart, who have stayed with their husbands after they have cheated, I did not agree that they were also a “disgrace.” Or ever a disgrace for that matter. To stay with someone – to forgive someone, who has hurt you, takes a lot of strength. Remember, it is easier to leave than to stay and fight for something you believe in.
I have seen women refer to one another as unintelligent and worthless. Would you want your daughter to call one of her classmates by these terms?
We as women have the ability to change how we are perceived. When we constantly cut one another down it allows other people to do the same. When we stop using these negative words to describe one another, not only do we sound more intelligent but we also encourage a healthier environment for relationships and future generations.
Although this should have been a realization before this election, it is never too late to begin a new movement. We as women have a voice to share, together.
Maybe you went to bed Tuesday night crying and woke up Wednesday morning depressed. Maybe you went to bed celebrating and woke up happy but decided that the women who were crying over the decision were weak. I didn’t see this as a sign of weakness, but more of a mental issue we as women have faced over generations. Even if something has not been said directly, it can still be implied subconsciously.
I called my Grandmother the next morning and I could hear the depression in her voice. She is in love with President Obama, she was a big Clinton supporter in the 90’s and was totally for Hillary. She said to me, at 82 years old, that she never thought she would see a woman on the ballot for president. My heart broke. But this election was so much more than Hillary and so much more than a woman running for president. This election showed that Girl Power was and STILL IS real in 2016.
In no way am I saying that Girl Power has not existed until now, but it has taken many years for us as women to come together, speak up and show our talents as leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, mothers, workers and go-getters.
This year, the United States Women’s Soccer team voiced for equal pay since they were receiving 25% less than members of the men’s team. There are now several other professional female athletes who are in the fight for equal pay. There are 23 women who hold CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies and five more women have been elected into governmental positions this year. (Insert handclap emoji here)
Throughout this election, women have come together. As mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, co-workers, and family members – strangers – we must continue to march forward.
“And — to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” – Hillary Clinton.
This election was not about the sex of the candidate, but what the candidate stood for. Hillary stood as the voice of a hardworking mother, an understanding friend and someone who fought for what she believed in no matter the conditions.
This election confirmed that you should not fear the backlash or the hate you may receive for standing up for something you believe in.
We should embrace Girl Power and all it has to offer. You can be a Pro-Girl Power supporter even when you stand by your husband or boyfriend. While you raise your kids, work at your job, study at school or even while you travel the world. Being #WithHer means standing together, supporting one another, understanding each others beliefs as women and as a person. #WithHer means standing up for what we as people, as women, have fought so hard for.
We have the ability to be the change we want to see in the world. I feel like with today’s social media, our generation is so much more about the image we want to be perceived as and hold back our full potential. This is where we need to reevaluate ourselves. Do we want to be someone who is full of hate and has a closed mind? Do we want to be someone who only speaks and does not take action? No.
I will be the first to tell you that I was not happy with the results of this election. I posted a lot more than usual on social media and even lashed out at a family member. It was a rough week and after taking a deep breath, I realized that my actions were not meeting the qualities of the type of person I wanted to be in this world. I didn’t feel myself at all and instead of reacting, I wanted to take action. In order to do that, I needed to move on and change my response. I ask you to do the same.
So regardless of who you voted for, I ask you to reevaluate how you speak to other people, what you post online and the way you react to problems you may face day to day. I ask you to stand up for what you believe in, to fight for what is right but to carry yourself with class and grace. Do not let others hold you back or discourage you. You are an amazing woman and you will do great things. Stand together, help one another, guide each other and spread the love. This is why I still stand #WithHer. In hopes that we can come together and unify as one.