VIEWPOINT: Election shows sexism alive and well in America
The following was originally posted on Facebook and is being reprinted here by permission of the author
This will be the first time that I have ever written an opinion piece on Facebook. After the results of the election, I was compelled to write. I felt that I could not sit back and say nothing.
I was devastated by the results. I was utterly shocked. It shook me. And I was desperately sad and surprised by the lump in my throat and the tears that were brimming on my eyelids all day after the results.
I bargained for a miracle when things weren’t looking good. I felt angry, angry, angry. As a therapist, I recognized that I was grieving. All the signs were there, but grieving from what?
Am I grieving for the future of our country? Am I grieving for the loss of Obama? Am I grieving for all the people who were so hopeful?
The more I reflect on it, I realize that I am actually grieving the loss of my “innocence.”
I realize now, and it seems so sadly obvious, that we still live in such an extremely sexist society. I think I forgot, or didn’t want to know, that sexism is still very alive and well.
I guess I didn’t want to admit this to myself or to my amazing, strong daughters. But it’s true and it’s everywhere. I have no doubt that Hillary would have won this election if she was a man.
As I continue to reflect, it has been right there in front of my face. Last week one of my clients told me that she had a discussion with her father about how awful she feels when she is “cat called” in the street. His response: “What were you wearing?”
Yesterday another client told me that a man on the bus took out his penis and started to masturbate while staring at her. She didn’t know what to do so she texted a friend who called the Bus Authority.
When the police arrived (the guy had already gotten off the bus) he asked her “Why didn't you call 911? We could have caught him.” I didn’t know that we are still blaming the victim!
When she posted her experience, she was shocked by how many women have had the same or similar experience.
I’m sure Hillary will be blamed for losing as well. But personally, I want to thank Hillary because against all odds, she never gave up and has provided hope for all of us that this was even possible.
After all, a woman’s right to vote took 50 years after a black man’s right to vote. Why did we think a female president could be possible after only eight years following a black man’s ability to do so?
We, as a society, are unfortunately not there yet.
One of my other clients texted me the other day, “I’m going to have a very hard time explaining the election to my daughter …. can we come in today?”
I hardly even know how to explain this to my own two daughters, but I have decided, as of today, to do something about the issue of sexism.
I will dedicate my next girls group to the topic of “girl power” and help them to understand that they are powerful and strong!
I will email my “understanding white privilege” committee group that sexism MUST be a topic to be addressed at every workshop we do moving forward.
I will talk to my daughters about their power as females and that they can become president one day if they choose.
I will talk with friends and strangers about why feminism is not a bad word.
And I will take whatever steps necessary from this day forward to actively and purposefully address this issue. I will start by posting this message on Facebook. And I will ask everyone who reads it….COMMENT back with what you will do to address sexism in your community.
Thank you for reading and for responding and…..Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has (Margaret Mead).
Sarah Glisky is a resident of Teaneck, N.J. She has a Masters of Science in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University and is the Co-Founder of STARR Incorporated/STARR Lab Corporation.
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