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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thanks For The Mansplainin'

Dear Sir,

I happened upon this comment you posted on a Facebook thread: "if you consider yourself as a 'college educated white woman' and are not going to vote for Donald Trump only because of his offensive words 11 years ago then you are not considering things from an 'educated' view, you are considering things from emotional view."*

Really? Gosh, thanks for mansplainin' that to this college-educated white woman and all the other women who may not have realized their crazy lady hormones could be affecting the way they vote. What would we do without single white guys like you pointing out when we're not being so smart?

Let's pretend for a minute that there's a college-educated white woman who's not aware of Drumpf's racist comments that consistently imply people of color all live in slums and ghettos, his refusal to pay people money earned for work he hired them to do, his threat to not only create a national database of Muslims, but also to deport them. Let's pretend she doesn't know about charges of fraud brought against Trump University, his claims of being a philanthropist despite any credible proof to back up his boast, and his refusal to release his tax returns. Let's pretend this woman also doesn't know about his many appearances on the Howard Stern show making lewd comments about women and sex, the rape charges his first wife brought against him that were only dropped as part of her divorce settlement, or the civil case making its way through the courts by a woman claiming Drumpf raped her when she was thirteen. Let's even pretend she has no idea about the women who keep coming forward with further allegations of groping and assault that you so blithely brush off as suspect.**

In fact, let's pretend none of those things exist at all (a lot of Drumpf supporters are already doing this, so it shouldn't be too hard), and your college-educated white woman decides not to vote for Drumpf based solely on the words he used eleven years ago. I'll tell you why that's still okay.

As a college-educated white woman who has a loving husband, lives in one of the safest cities in the entire United States, and is fortunate enough not to be one among every four women who's been sexually assaulted, let me give you some insight to the thoughts that go through my head every day.

If I plan to go for a run alone, will I be okay if it's not light out? Is it safe to wear my headphones on while I run today, or is this trail so secluded that someone could attack me from behind, and I wouldn't hear him coming? Did I nod and make eye contact with that guy who just passed me, so he knows I could identify him if I had to?

If I walk to my car alone in the dark, here's what I have to do: Make sure I'm not on my phone, carry my keys in a defensive position and keep my car locked until I'm next to it, and then only unlock the driver's side. When I'm alone, I have to always be aware of my surroundings, who's in them, and what kind of vibe I'm getting from any man who's nearby. I'm 5'3". The chances of my being able to ward off an attacker are pretty slim, so I have to trust my instincts and take preemptive actions to stay safe.

These are things I do as a college-educated white woman who's been catcalled, touched inappropriately, and had lewd things said to her, but never been sexually assaulted. These are things every woman--no matter her race or education level--does in some way or another. I can't imagine what other thoughts about protecting myself would go through my head every day if I had been the victim of a sexual assault.

As the mother of three daughters, I have to walk a fine line between keeping them safe and not teaching them to be afraid. I never want them to fear men or think people are inherently evil. They have a father who shows nothing but respect for women, so they don't always realize there are men who think nothing of talking of women as objects, rating their worth on a scale of one to ten based on what they look like and/or the size of their breasts. Men who feel their sex gives them the right to "explain" why a woman is wrong if she doesn't support the same candidate as them. Men who feel entitled to interrupt and speak over women, and worst of all, men who feel entitled to put their hands on women whenever they want.

I have to teach my daughters all the same things I've had to learn to protect myself. I have to ask myself if they will be okay walking a block to a friend's house after dark, and whether they will be safe once they get there if I don't know the friend's father or brothers. I have to ask myself that question even if I do know them. I have to ask myself that question if that father or brother is related to me. I have to ask myself that question because one out of every four girls is sexually assaulted before she's eighteen.

So you want to tell me and my fellow college-educated white sisters that a vote based on words Drumpf used eleven years ago is based on emotion rather than actual understanding of the issue? Let me give you a little education.

Saying "I want to grab (fill in the blank with any body part belonging to a woman a man might be tempted to touch)" is locker room talk. It's crude and beneath any man, especially one running for President, but not criminal.

Saying "I grabbed (fill in the blank with any body part belonging to a woman a man might be tempted to touch)"*** is admission of a crime. It's assault.

You still want to label a decision to not vote for a man because of his words as an emotional one? Fine. You know what emotion is driving that vote?


Love for myself. Love for my daughters. Love for my friends and family members who have been assaulted by strangers, relatives, friends, boyfriends, acquaintances, and husbands. Love for those I don't know who have been victimized. Love for the thousands who will be.

And as long as we're making conjectures about what's driving the opposite sex to vote the way they're voting in the face of what we think is irrefutable evidence they shouldn't, I'll posit this. If you're voting for Drumpf because you've listened to right-winged radio talk show hosts yell about and name call Hillary Clinton for the past thirty years, then I'd say your vote is emotionally driven also. The difference is, the emotion driving your decision is fear.

In a choice between love and fear, I think I'll go ahead and let love be the emotion that guides me.

A White, College and Issue-Educated Woman Who Had No Intention of Voting For HRC Until Drumpf Became the Republican Candidate

* Spelling and grammatical errors in this quote are all original to the quote. Any others you find throughout this post are all my fault.

** Talk to a female you know who's been groped or sexually assaulted (it won't take you long to find one), and ask her if she told anyone right away and why not. Then try to imagine being sexually assaulted yourself, and be honest about how willing you would be to relive that experience by telling someone else about it or trying to bring charges against the person who did it.

***We know the words he used. They don't need to be repeated here