Feminism … Sexism … All the Isms

One cannot live one’s life based on what somebody else’s image of you might be. – Hillary

Isms, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in ‘Beatles’, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus, I’d still have to bum rides off of people. – Ferris

I know you could care less who I’m supporting in the primary. I would never pretend I have sway over your opinion simply because you read my blog. After all, this is one of my favorite memes:
facebook+politics

However, I find myself having interesting conversations about why I am so passionate about Hillary. The thing is: She’s important. The fact a woman could possibly win the Democratic nomination, and please, Sweet Baby Jesus, become President … just, wow.

Some context would probably be helpful.

The man I dated in college was a Republican. More than that, he was a Right-Wing, Christian Conservative Republican. It was a rough two years. But that’s another blog post.

Three days after we broke up, I sat in a booth with my friends at our favorite bar and proclaimed, “I will NEVER date another Republican.” And, seriously, as if on cue, my future husband walked through the door.

For the next 20 years, political discussion were off the table. I am the former VP of the Young Democrats at Hall High School (class of 89!). I’m the the girl who sported a “Put Hillary in the White House” bumper sticker during the Clinton/Bush campaign. I’m the grown up who still tears up when she hears the words, “I still believe in a place called Hope.” But my liberal heart seemed no match for his conservative mind, and so we quit trying to share our beliefs. And I resigned myself to the fact that we’d always cancel out each other’s vote.

Bygones.

Now, I’m dating a man who is addicted to CNN. He records all of the debates on DVR. We text back and forth about how Trump terrifies us. We jokingly make plans to pick up stakes and move to Canada if he wins. He sends articles to me comparing Bernie and Hillary.

And I like Bernie. He’s fine. But having a strong, smart woman “this close” to being a Presidential nominee is too big a deal for me to ignore.

My first job post-college was as a teacher-counselor at a treatment facility for at-risk youth. I joined a team of five staff members responsible for “parenting” a house of 10 adolescent boys who were victims of sexual abuse. I was the only female staff member.

One day, we took the kids swimming. I wore a conservative one-piece bathing suit. Instead of getting in the pool with the boys, I supervised from a lounge chair in the sun.

That night, after the kids were in bed, our Director called a staff meeting. He scolded me in front of my male counterparts for “tempting the boys.” He quoted a popular rap song, saying “Ms. Cobb, when you laid back on that chair all we could think was … what’s the lyric? ‘Wanna put it in so deep, so deep put her ass to sleep’.” He laughed hysterically. My coworkers laughed and gave each other high fives.

I was 22. I was embarrassed. I was scared. I’d like to say I resigned on the spot. I didn’t. Instead, I learned quickly my male coworkers saw me as different, lesser – a “threat” to the young men we were supposed to be protecting and nurturing.

A few years later, another boss told me, “I have to hire women for your position, because I can’t pay men enough to raise a family.”

I once asked a male coworker if he had a preference on how I handled an issue. He looked me up and down, grinned slyly, and said, “Whatever blows your skirt up.”

Yet another male boss was so condescending to female employees in meetings some of other the men in the room would visibly wince.

I was raised in a generation of women who were told we could be anything, do anything, achieve anything. We were encouraged to “have it all.” We all tried. So many of us have been successful. But it’s been in spite of our gender, and it’s come with a whole lot of sexist bullshit.

I am encouraged by Hillary, who has endured an onslaught of insults in her lifetime – more than I can even imagine. She is a bad ass. She stands up to the status quo. She stares down the Old Boys. She’s smart, fearless and unapologetic. She’s been labeled a bitch, a cold fish, a lesbian. A man is never questioned for being a bad ass. Instead, we say, with awe, “Damn, he’s got balls!”

I respect those who question her agenda. I know she’s polarizing. I know there are some who believe she’s just a cog in the political wheel. I get she’s not necessarily advancing a feminist agenda. But I believe she has the mind and spirit to lead this country. And it’s time a woman got a shot at it.

Plus, my daughter is watching. Millions of girls are watching. They need to know the American dream applies to them, too. That they can be anything, do anything, achieve anything … even POTUS.

That’s why #imwithher.

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