Like most of you, I woke up Wednesday, November 9th with the greatest feeling of dread. In Washington Square Park, the protests have continued and will continue for some time. I pass signs of Love Trumps Hate and colorful LGBTQ positive t-shirts on my way to class each morning. It is sad that the country we live in found a reason to illegitimatize a woman being our next leader. Even more so when she was qualified and sophisticated; exactly what we should look for in our national role model.
I took to Facebook to express my dismay, as I had seen so many do in the following hours. What I did not see was any pro-Trump threads separate from those denouncing our nation’s decision. What I did see shortly after posting my own thoughts on the election results was attacks and messages regarding my post from men in my family; White, cisgender men, ironically, with daughters of their own.
My first instinct was to shoot them with questions and try to rationalize how they could put their own financial needs above the social needs of our country. (Needs impacting their daughters that will continue to do so unless we enact change in the future.) What happened when my dad’s friend, a prominent Trump supporter, had to explain to his four year old daughter that a woman would not be president? How did my cousin, a sophomore in college, rationalize her father’s decision to put his daughter’s reproductive rights second to those of his wallet?
Even more shocking is the fact that 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump in the election. Who are these women who seriously believe that this man has their best interests in mind? I cannot help but think that these women put the needs of their sons, husbands and fathers first, ignoring their own.
What can girls and women do in the meantime to keep fighting? I struggled with this question because those small ditch efforts I saw mentioned by others didn’t seem to motivate me, mostly because I didn’t think they would do all that much to change our fate.
However, there are many things we can do that will make a difference, they just require more effort on our ends. On college campuses or in high schools, start your own girls equality club. Start your club by having a meeting and showing the documentary Girl Rising. It’s a powerful film about girls in poor nations struggling to get an education and basic human rights. Start a discussion and figure out how you can change the way you are treated. Is there a strict dress code that you find unfair? Is there a stigma in your community surrounding a sport you believe girls should be allowed to participate in?
If you want to, delve a little deeper tackle issues Pence and Trump could really effect once they settle into the presidency. Volunteer at Planned Parenthood. Make a GoFundMe and set a large goal. Talk to Planned Parenthood and see what they need as far as funding and volunteer work. Maybe even organize a group to get together for a couple of hours a week and call your senator and state officials to oppose Steve Bannon’s appointment.
At the end of the day, I cannot and will not be able to fathom my family, and others who fully support Trump. I disagree with their views and everything our next president stands for. I guess this is the beauty of democracy, we will not agree with everything others stand for, but we can rejoice in the fact that we can speak and express dissent for views unlike our own. I’ll be doing what I can to make a difference going forward, and I hope girls everywhere do the same too.