Thoughts on the US election

As a 20-year-old woman, I am shocked and saddened by the result of the US election. Not just because the experienced, intelligent and credible candidate lost, but because of everything this loss symbolises.

After the initial shock and a flood of Facebook memes, a sadness came over me that only a woman could know — because underneath the novelty of the Trump phenomenon is entrenched sexism that every woman can relate to.

I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of why the American people thought that Trump was their only option, but I feel sorry that they fell victim to his fear campaign, believing he was the candidate they’d been searching for.

But more than that, I feel sorry for the women that felt their voices were so unheard that they decided to accept his offensive and hateful language and settle for less, once again.

They decided to be silenced by a man who claims he can use a woman’s body at his will, call her ugly, fat or a ‘fine piece of ass’. A man who said he would probably date his daughter, if she wasn’t his daughter.

It seems that despite the hundreds of offensive comments during his campaign, he was not held to account and was ultimately rewarded for it.

Too often this issue is swept under the rug because we fail to call things how they are. As women, we have learnt and are still willing to be held against double standards.

As Michelle Obama so eloquently said, ‘We’re trying to keep our heads above water. Just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us’.

But it does bother us. We are not physical objects of attraction that can be honked or whistled at. Too often than not, we feel uncomfortable or unsafe because a man objectifies our body, as if our appearance is the beginning and end of everything we are.

This represents only a fraction of the issues that women face around the globe- the basic right to education, the gender pay gap, domestic violence and sexual assault.

So instead of laughing off this election result, I am choosing to take it seriously and see it for what it is. It starts with deciding what we are willing to accept and whether we respect ourselves enough to call out inequality when we see it.

I hope in the coming years I will tell young girls that they needn’t worry about adversity and sexism and actually mean it.