I don’t admit this often but I’m afraid.
Today, I am very, VERY afraid.
I fear for myself and for my family. I fear for my husband who works “in the city” — in New York City, a city which was the target of the largest terrorist attack of my lifetime. Which, in my opinion, remains a target for an even larger terrorist attack (potentially in my lifetime). I fear for my friends: my queer friends and straight friends. My African American friends and Hispanic friends. My Asian friends and my white friends. And I fear for my Christian friends and Muslim friends. For my Jewish friends and agnostic friends.
I fear for all Americans.
I fear for all people.
I fear for the world.
But what I worry about most is my daughter. Selfish, I know, but that’s what we “mothers” do: we worry about our children. We worry about the quality of their lives today AND tomorrow. And today she is good. Today, there is food in her stomach, there are clothes on her back, there is a roof over her head, and she holds toys in her hands. Toys which are also strewn across our dining room table, and all over our living room floor. Our kitchen floor. And her bedroom floor. But it is tomorrow that scares me.
It is tomorrow which worries me every day, and keeps me awake each and every night, because I do not know what sort of world is she going to grow up in.
I do not know what her will life look like for her.
Of course, if she takes after her mama, she will be assertive and outspoken. She will be thick-skinned, strong-willed, and fiercely independent but she will also be called a b**ch. Her successes may be attributed to the man in her life, or she may be accused of sleeping her way to the top or using her body to “better herself,” and she may be called a c*nt because she has a voice and an opinion, like Eve Ensler, Katie Couric, Elizabeth Warren, and former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I know what you are thinking: I’m exaggerating. I mean, this doesn’t happen, at least not today.
Not in MY America.
But it does.
In our “pussy-grabbing,” “boys will be boys” culture it does.
In fact, when the 2016 Presidential campaign began, it became clear to me how minimized women still are thanks to what I can only refer to as sexist rhetoric and ignorant ass comments.
You see, President-elect (and as of this afternoon, President) Donald Trump once questioned Hillary’s sexual prowess, or implied lack thereof, and her leadership ability: “if Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
Carly Fiorina made a similar remark, “unlike the other woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband.”
Ted Cruz implied she should be spanked, not only demeaning her but adding violence to the mix: “you know, I’ll tell you, in my house, if my daughter Catherine, the 5-year-old, says something she knows to be false, she gets a spanking.”
And Trump, well Trump added the following gem: “look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
How am I supposed to raise my daughter in this world?
How am I supposed to empower my daughter in this America? This America where a woman’s worth is still defined in the bedroom. Where a woman is still demeaned by her colleagues and peers. Where a woman is still underpaid. Where a woman’s personal decisions are being controlled by the government. Where a grown-ass woman is being compared to a five-year-old child.
And the truth is I don’t know. Sure, I am doing everything in my power to “raise my daughter right” but I do not know if that will be enough. Not in this world.
And before you jump down my throat about my political beliefs, please know that I do not care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, a member of the Green party or an Independent. What I do care about is my family, and all families.
What I do care about is my daughter, and all daughters, and our political beliefs do not negate the fact that the way in which we, as a society, are speaking about women is wrong. It does not negate the fact that the way our politicians (and our incoming President) speaks about women is wrong. It is damaging not only to one person or one party or even one sex: it is damaging to us as a culture and as a country.
So today, while I am afraid, I am also empowered. I am emboldened, and my b**ch strength has been renewed because I love my daughter. Because I respect MY daughter. And because I value women’s rights.
Scratch that: I value HUMAN rights.
A version of this post originally appeared on Sunshine Spoils Milk.