By Charlotte Hollingsworth
“It finally feels like us”
When my friend said that, I felt it click in my bones. That is exactly how it feels these days, walking around in a world where a large group of mostly men nominated a remarkably accomplished woman as their choice to run this country.
I literally watched history being made.
The nomination of Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee for the President of the United States is one of the best things that has happened in my lifetime. I am not going to talk about her policies, I’m not going to talk about her potential presidency. I’m only going to tell you what it feels like to be represented at the highest level of civic office.
Because in the end, that’s what matters the most.
Young girls growing up today will never think there’s any reason why she can’t be president. The people of the DNC, the people of this country, decided that a woman could do the job. 100 years ago we couldn’t vote. 40 years ago we couldn’t wear pants to school.
Now here we are. It’s all of us. Together as a collective “we”.
I have to say, it’s really hard to put all of this in to words. My friend and I talked for a long time the day after the nomination. About the feeling of safety and inclusion that we had. She made the point that something as simple as a constant barrage of dumb blonde jokes was over now. We have a presidential nominee, someone taken so seriously by so many people, who could be in charge of a room full of men. That nominee happens to be a blonde woman. Right, now, in the background, I have her DNC speech playing on YouTube. It’s getting me teared up. But I can’t seem to tell you exactly why.
I’ve never been much for patriotism. Nationality is a trick of birth. You have no control over it and so it seems so strange to take pride in it. Often enough, as someone on the wrong side of discrimination, there are more reasons to be upset with this country. Right now, however, while watching this huge crowd of people cheer on this woman that I have been watching my whole life, I am so proud to call myself an American.
I always hoped there would be a woman president in my life, but I never thought I would be this young when we got this close. A room full of men, answering to a woman. Imagine that. We, a country full of so much hate and sexism and violence, have chosen her. Can you imagine that? I have never seen this. I have never in my life felt… respected like this.
This half of the country, this female half, is finally part of the team. We’re here. We made it.
Hillary Clinton is about to fight the hardest fight we’ve seen from a woman. She’s about to stand up to the most media criticism, the most hatred and the most sexist bullshit. Just remember that she’s doing it for us. She’s doing it because she believes in herself. It’s about damn time women were rewarded for that. It’s so far past time.
Being a feminist is exhausting. Reading the news is devastating. Women are being beaten, raped, and ignored every second of every day. We hear so many completely unreasonable arguments as to how we somehow deserve it. How no man on this earth has ever been responsible for the systematic oppression of women in this and every other country. How it’s our fault. I get so tired arguing with people about how no woman has ever deserved to be raped. Arguing that representation in the media has unbounded effects on women’s views of themselves and each other. Fighting against my own ingrained sexism and learning to truly embrace the women around me.
It feels never ending. Until right now. This is a milestone.
This makes me feel like all this work has gone somewhere. That we’re doing it. Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee for President of the United States of America, and that means it’s working. All this fighting, all this effort, all the things we’ve been through as a gender- it’s working.
Listening to this woman speak about coming together as a country, I have never felt so involved and included. She’s worked so hard and we all worked for her. Not just her, but for the groundbreaking moment we are now experiencing and the floodgates we are opening for more women in leadership, more women in charge, and more respect for us. Us.
I can’t stop thinking about that word and how much more it means for me these days. I feel valid. I feel encouraged. I feel invigorated to keep up the fight for equality. I feel excited for the future, and my place in it. Our place in it.