Newly Discovered Feminist

Fountain, Salisbury Cathedral. By Nancee Tomlinson

I never considered myself a feminist. defines feminism as “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.”

Growing up, I heard “you can be anything you want to be.” And so, I believed it: Sandra Day O’Connor’s elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court, Elizabeth Dole sat on Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet, and Sally Ride fly to space.

As a college student, I served as a legislative intern in the Georgia General Assembly, also functioning as chattel market filled with female interns. Working in this environment subjected me to a supervising Senator older than my grandmother who angled to touch me at any opportunity. Another high profile committee chair evaluated my suitableness as chattel by running his hand over my ass. No dignity, no privacy. Females functioned as a subordinate class present as decoration to satisfy the prurient indulgences of self-important pettifog generals. I ignored and politely refused advances, but I understood the game and made no complaint.

As the discussion between the Trump and the Clinton campaigns progresses, my reflections return to the highly educated, demeaning meat market of the 1990’s legislature. Governor Pence speaks of Donald Trump’s “broad shoulders” to distract the teeming masses from Trump’s misogyny. The code words though reemphasize the gender distinction. Men bear broad shoulders to carry the load; women of value to these men function to gestate babies, serve at men’s pleasure, and enhance the beauty of any room she enters. Otherwise, she carries no value.

Combining this coded language with the recent revelations of and not-so-recent behavior of Mr. Trump regarding his treatment of women, abuse of women, and complete disregard for women’s contributions to society leaves the U.S. with a candidate wholly unqualified to serve as President of a country which boasts equality of all people, not just old, white, conservative men.

I may not choose Sen. Clinton. I certainly won’t choose Mr. Trump. But I do owe Mr. Trump gratitude. Thank you, Donald, for helping me see that being a woman, standing up for other women by using my words and my voice, makes me a feminist. Standing up to say, women serve in Congress, sit on the Supreme Court, run businesses that thrive instead of resulting in bankruptcy (like yours), raise children, contribute to society in more ways than you could possibly fathom.

I am skeptical of Senator Clinton. Her history makes me leery of her qualifications as well. My new found feminism extends to the ability to question Sen. Clinton’s credentials. My only prayer is that voters evaluate all the options, not simply the two bloviating options in the mainstream media.

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