She Will Not Be Trumped
As she sips on her coffee while she’s getting ready for work, she flips through the newspaper which highlights yet another instance in which Trump openly and unabashedly degrades women. “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” she reads. Lo and behold, Trump has made top news again. This time it’s a crude conversation caught on tape in 2005 in which the presidential candidate boasts about how easily he is able to seduce women. She closes the paper in disgust and rushes out the door to catch the bus.
She gets a text from her mom while she waits at the bus stop. Her mom had recently been promoted to Senior Manager, making her the authority on important matters at the company. While there were countless reasons for her to be proud of her mom, the promotion was second to a more crowning achievement: that being a successful leader in business never prevented her from being a great mom too. The text message was a reminder that her mom was getting off work early so she could pick her up from the train and they could get dinner together. Just as she was about to respond with a million heart emoji’s, her phone buzzes with an alert from a news source highlighting another quote from the story she had glanced at earlier: “I moved on her,” she reads, “and I failed. I’ll admit it.” The bus pulls up. She sends the text message and steps onto the platform.
She arrives at her job — a reputable tech company — and scrolls through emails before beginning to work. Her friends are working different jobs in different cities in different industries. They are working in Chicago, New York, LA, and in countries abroad. They are writers, they are lawyers, they are producers, they are consultants. They are studying, they are working, they are living their lives. Despite the distance and their crazy schedules, they make time to send emails to each other on a daily basis, whether that’s an update on their busy lives, an interesting revelation, or a dumb cat gif. She smiles at a meme when she notices the unread daily news update in her inbox whose headline reads: “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.” She closes her laptop and heads to a meeting.
Midday, she walks past the main conference room to get a cup of coffee. Three women are heading a meeting. The CEO and two department heads. Three women who run a tech company. Three women who have on a daily basis been a symbol of empowerment and a reminder of what it means to be a woman in business. Three women who have maintained an impeccable sense of humanity despite their status and achievements. The CEO who casually chatted with her while they were getting coffee in the kitchen. The VP of one department who took her out for lunch. The VP of another department who privately pulled her aside to commend her on a difficult task she completed. But she can’t silence his voice in her head and how he can “just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
After work, she decides to visit her grandmother. The grandmother who has fiercely protected her family despite the challenges presented to her. The grandmother that after breaking her hand in an accident, refused to go to the hospital because it would have meant wasting time and money that could have been spent on her family. The grandmother who simultaneously worked as a cleaning lady downtown and as the first president of the church she and countless other founding members consecrated upon immigrating to the United States. The grandmother who now embraces her granddaughter and her budding achievements over tea and freshly baked cookies.
Sitting on the train on her way to dinner with her mom, she thinks about the shift toward equality. It is a slow and imperfect process, but great strides are being made for women. Every day spent with her friends, her family, and her co-workers, she knows what equality feels like.
“Grab them by the pussy.” She feels that equality coming to a screeching halt.
Then she considers what she has learned by example of other women in her life. Her mother and grandmother who both taught her that being a mother and being a leader are not mutually exclusive, but rather reinforce the other; her friends who are proof that their is no limit to what they can accomplish individually and together; her co-workers who have proven that equality in the workplace shouldn’t be an anomaly, it should be the norm.
Above all, she has learned that it isn’t power that makes these women great. It is their humanity. The more accomplished they have become, the more devoted they have become to one another. How easily they could have been subject to the delusions of power, but instead have embraced an even stronger sense of community. Their accomplishments make them good. But their support for one another makes them great.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
No they won’t, she says to herself.
She will not be trumped.