By Erin Cabrey
A week has passed since the presidential election, which was a night of anticipation, shock and confusion. While I hoped to write my last column about the first female president, I, instead, was inspired to write something to console myself and my fellow females who are struggling to accept the election results. So, sad and sleep-deprived, I wrote as I watched the last hours of the election. This one is for all the nasty women out there.
It was just after six in the morning in London. I had not slept yet. The time difference made following this election even more agonizing. The drone of British political analysts on the BBC played on in the background, but I stopped listening.
Over the past few hours, as the election results have trailed in state by state, I’ve experienced some very unique stages of grieving. I cried, I stress-ate and I debated with my brother over text. I reminisced about simpler republican days when we all joked Ted Cruz was the Zodiac Killer, or way back when Mitt Romney’s “binders of women” remark was the worst problem we had. I sent a seething snapchat of a BBC anchor delivering the election results with an evil smirk. I cried some more. Now I’m writing to help myself and women feeling the same as me to make sense of it all.
Here I am, a sad American girl in London, watching Donald Trump’s electoral college votes rise towards 270, while Hillary Clinton’s remain stagnant. I was feeling tired and helpless, like to my vote, which was printed and carefully filled out and mailed to my hometown in New Hampshire for £6.95, I did not count. But then I realized that, though my vote may not have been effective, my voice will always be.
So many women stood up during this election cycle and will no doubt stand up far after campaign signs are plucked from lawns. These women wore “Nasty Woman” t-shirts and let’s just say grabbed back. They tweeted, they canvassed, they called, they discussed with their friends and family and they supported and defended the institutions that a Trump presidency will try to threaten. We have been strong and brave throughout this election, and though racism, bigotry and misogyny seem to reign supreme right now, they do not. Our voices are not silenced, especially because we have reason now more than ever to speak up.
Right now I am scared, my friends are scared and my mom is scared. We are scared of the rights women will have under President Trump, of the dialogue about female bodies and equal pay and of so many threats a Trump presidency promises to bring.
For those who are scared along with me, fear not. We can’t let a Trump presidency destroy what generations have worked so hard to establish. We are fierce, we are strong, we are unapologetic and we will not let an ignorant man lead us to believe otherwise. We elected the first female presidential nominee of a major party, and, it was an air-tight race. Let us not allow the results of this presidential election to erase the progress we’ve made over this election cycle.
As my flatmates went to sleep at a reasonable hour, I was trying to seek solace in the fact that I am not alone as a woman. I turn to Twitter and my feed immediately consoles me. Brie Larson retweeted information about ending rape on college campuses, Emmy Rossum quoted Michelle Obama and Mae Whitman claimed she is more inspired than ever to stand up.
Today, these are not celebrities. They are simply American women, just like us, who are primed for the fight. They, just like us, are filled with so much love, intelligence and determination that we must not put to waste. Although #ImWithHer will fade, let us not forget that we are all still with each other. We must lift each other up, create dialogues, listen to one another, respect one another and love one another. The road ahead will be tough, but, just as the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” theme song states, females are strong as hell.
Although it is imperative we remain strong, it is okay to feel sad. I watched as, at the prompting of John Podesta, as Hillary supporters at the Javits Center head home for the night. As they shuffle toward the door, the camera focuses on a single woman remaining seated, tears in her eyes as she stares at the empty stage, one we all assumed would see a historical victory speech from a would-be President Hillary Clinton.
It is not the result that I hoped for, or, that I discussed with so many of my friends and a surprising amount of British and Irish strangers. But it is one we must accept and begin to deal with. America does not need to be made great again.
It is there, this greatness, but it is sullied by confusion, fear, intimidation and deep-set prejudice. We cannot give in to this. And we will not, I will not. I will keep writing, keep talking, keep voting and keep controlling my body, my choices and my voice no matter who sits behind the desk at the Oval Office.
Just as we stood with her, let us now stand with each other. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we push back and fight for what we want and what we deserve: freedom, respect, equality and the inalienable right to be nasty women.