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Nation under siege of Otherization and Gender

While past presidential elections have focused on issues like economy, LGBT, community, national security, Health, lowering the deficit, or position on wars, this one has been about insults and ugly revelations. It has been one after another horrific revelation of racism, sexual assault, immigration, elitism, anti Semitism, authoritarianism and “promiscuous xenophobia” to use a Cornel West term. All of these backward notions we so willingly heap on “Third Worlds’ are found right here in USA in 2016, coming from a potential president. Trump is fast Otherizing, unhinging and unfiltering culture.  He is talking about belonging quite a lot: who should be included in our nation, and who shouldn’t. The birther effect is now jumping on Muslims, Mexicans etc.

The more this ‘not belonging” comes up in Trump talks the more it becomes clear that it is a conversation overdue – he’s been campaigning and spewing such hate for almost a year now. Perhaps we should give it a platform, like we’ve had to do with black lives matter.  We must take stock of divisive ideologies that exclude some more in the lines of like some of Trump’s supporters who are wisely jumping over the fence in the direction of progress to the Hillary camp. Yet some remain tone deaf and aren’t budging form Trump’s exclusionary ideology.  Joel Stein quips that there’s got to be a reason for this  and cites non-college-educated White men as the reason; they are losing power, have no faith in government, corporations or media and view others  as dismantling white European culture [Time October 31, 3016]. This election has mobilized and empowered not only these white supremacists, but misogynists, too.

Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes were sat on for 11 years while he had thousands of employees for decades but none thought it needful to protect half his workforce. It was more important to ensure the success of Apprentice than to protect women. And voting Trump condones the way some men [even women] talk to and about women: the message is that it’s okay to touch women the way he does.  But Trump isn’t the first to think of women demeaningly or see them only as sexual objects for his grabbing. This talk and behavior are as old as time, and women have been coming forward for years, but haven’t been believed.  Despite Anita Hill’s watershed moment in 1991 for sexual harassment awareness which increased reports of sexual harassment from 3,349 to 5,607 one year after [Time October 31, 2016: 34]. Despite other noteworthy women including Paula Jones against Bill Clinton in 1994 which was dropped; Beth Ann Faragher in 1998 which went to the supreme court that held employers liable if they create a hostile environment for women in the workplace; Anucha Browne Sanders against Isaiah Thomas / NY Knicks in 2007; Gretchen Carlson against Roger Ailes / Fox News in 2016, and Nancy O’Dell against Trump in 2016.

And despite America’s amazing inroads into equality for women, America is not ready for a woman. The timely FBI ‘male’ leaks about Hillary and other poisonous rhetoric against a woman running for president proves it.  In this era of intense profiling and racism, we’ve had a black president for two terms, and despite the ‘non-belonging’ birther controversy started by Trump, and Otherizing Obama that still didn’t stop him from winning favor with the Americans. But Hillary hasn’t even won the presidency yet, but the threat of disrespectful, women-fearing, women-hating men looms so large that she has already been threatened with being killed off, called vulgar names by Texan agric commissioner and all sorts of violence via Trump’s preferred means of communication: social media.

America is not okay with having a woman president in 2016!  In an age where sexual harassment has gone from a whisper to a roar – campuses, military, social media platforms – America isn’t ready to seat a woman in the Whitehouse. An India our USA is not! A Pakistan our USA is not! A Liberia or Bangladesh or Brazil our USA is not! And it’s not just about groping! There’s absolutely no room for behavior that disrespects and tries to silence women, and we cannot let Trump continue to believe that he can price his way out of xenophobia, racism or sexism!

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4 Comments

  1. Rhett says:

    I suppose that I am more optimistic than you on the issue of American women in authority. You say that our country is not ready for a woman president; I disagree, and I think tomorrow’s results will vindicate me. The election will be the only way to test that hypothesis. I remember many people wondering in 2008 whether our country was “ready” for a black president as well. And we elected him by a landslide…twice.

    I would also point out that there are millions of people who will not vote for Mrs. Clinton for legitimate reasons that have nothing to do with her sex. She lies, mixes public service and lucrative business, is very cozy with the hedge fund/investment bank industry, etc. Therefore, even if she loses, it is entirely plausible that these will be the reasons, not her sex. It is worth noting that some of the most politically conservative parts of the country have women in executive office: a woman is the governor of Oklahoma; an Indian-American woman is governor of ultraconservative South Carolina, a Mexican-American woman is governor of New Mexico: all women, all Republicans in conservative states. My point is that, even if Clinton should fail in her bid to become the first woman to occupy the Oval Office, it ought not be viewed as a rejection of “woman” but perhaps as “this particular woman.”

    I do agree with you that this campaign has unleashed some very ugly sexist rhetoric and caricatures aimed at Mrs. Clinton. These are reprehensible, but so far, they seem to be largely coming from people who would have never voted for any Democrat in the first place. Non-Republican and undecided voters have not been swayed by this propaganda. If anything, such vile misogyny has made them less likely to support Trump, not Clinton.

    But this ugly sexism was inevitable in any society, anywhere in the world. We saw it in the UK when Thatcher took power, in Brazil with Roussef, etc. Any kind of social progress–for women, minorities, etc.–has ALWAYS been met with resistance and fierce backlash by those who benefit from the current power structure (i.e. Men). Do not despair: the cries of hateful are, if anything, a sign that irrevocable progress is underway.

    I hope Mrs. Clinton will be elected President tomorrow. I believe she will be.

    • I know you’re optimistic and I think she’ll win, too. Nalini tells me they mock voted in her class today in sociology class and half the class voted trump! I hope that was a joke but there are lots of men who are misogynist and making comments on twitter and FB and other platforms (I don’t have) who are making comments on body parts that are too vulgar to put in my blog. I won’t have such degrading language soil my hands otherwise I’d put some tweets etc but no! this vulnerability on women’s body has got to stop! It needs to come to the fore otherwise it’ll fester …like racism, long after we’ve reached postfeminism.

      • Rhett says:

        I agree that sexism and misogyny must be called out and those who post the unprintable things you mentioned should be made to pay a major social price for it. But people, especially, on social media often exist in their own bubbles, surrounded by people who agree with them and egg them on. Social media has allowed people to winnow their choice of friends and family members based on political preference, exacerbating our hyper-partisan divide in this country.
        One of the most disturbing things I saw on television this election was a montage of “Women for Trump” (?!) saying things like “a woman should not be president” and stating frankly that they do not care if Trump molested women (one woman even said she would welcome getting groped by Trump as he was so handsome). I don’t know where that kind of self-loathing comes from…culture? personal issues? Or is it just Trump’s cult of personality (which I also find completely inexplicable). Point: as upsetting as it is, women can be misogynists, too.

  2. That’s exactly why I put ‘Women’ in parentheses in the blog. Women too have that male gaze of looking at women. we belong to that group of thinking people who can reason but sadly there are those – Educated and travelled – who shuts out anything from the outside, especially things that run counter to their way of thinking. Frightful isn’t it? Imagine they’re putting ANTHONY weiner on the same drugs as rehab people! Why? Social media addiction. So yes, social media permits all sorts of crazies to unleash their craziness…but where adults so can’t be banned. After I responded to you I thought about my blog and wanted to say that it really has Less to do with election Amd more to do with the anti women sentiment I’ve been seeing as Election Day draws nigh. I wanted to use the image yesterday as daylight saving time changed yesterday. and since the image was a subset of the election and the election, trump, well everything got conflated.
    Just as racists came out with trump, so too misogynists. Women included!

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