American Feminism may be alive and well, but her bottom is still aflame from the collective spanking we all received on the evening of November 8, 2016.
It seemed as though America had finally gotten over sexism, for the most part. Literature, film and television had all been celebrating strong, female protagonists (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Star Wars Episode 7, Supergirl, Madam Secretary...the list goes on and on.) Women were rising to prominence in business, politics and most other areas where we've been traditionally oppressed.
(Melissa Benoist as TV's Supergirl)
And no one better exemplified the rise of powerful, successful women than Hillary Clinton. Despite being torn down by so many at literally every stage of her professional life, she persevered and rose to the highest levels of public service with class and dignity. In 2016, when the DNC nominated her for President of the United States, she was the most qualified candidate to ever run for the office based on her decades of public service experience.
Then the 2016 Presidential campaign season came along, and we got to witness some good, old-fashioned American misogyny...
...where we saw women publicly degraded and demeaned in ways and to degrees I thought I'd never see in my lifetime. The idea of a female president must have been so abhorrent to so many, that everyone started to rally around Donald Trump - a man with no public service experience whatsoever, but plenty of testosterone-driven bravado.
I agree wholeheartedly that a vagina is no qualification for President, but neither should one be immediate grounds for disqualification.
We watched for weeks as Trump and his supporters continually put women down..so much so that many of us started to listen.
Election night came, and we watched with our teary eyes as an unqualified man, once again and in the most emphatic way, beat a highly-qualified woman. It was a big reality pill I'd yet to swallow as an American woman. Bigger still was the fact that over 40 percent of American women voted for him.
Was I wrong all this time? Is Feminism even real? Should we be embracing patriarchy rather than fighting it? After the humiliation and walloping we endured throughout this campaign season, I'm about ready to hang up my dreams and put on an apron too!
Whatever sociopolitical changes may result from this, Hillary's loss was at least as symbolically significant as it was real. It was a harsh reminder that gender equality hasn't really progressed that much...not nearly as much as mainstream media and popular entertainment would lead us to believe.
In the meanwhile, as we're cooling our collective backside and contemplating our place in this still-male-dominant society, Feminism presses onward, I suppose...
...although at this point, I'm starting to wonder if it was ever really real at all.