As the clock hit midnight on Nov. 9, I saw a nation unfold into unbridled panic at the thought of Donald Trump being the next U.S. president. I witnessed this on Twitter. As the minutes passed, I saw more and more tweets with suicide/support hotline phone numbers re-tweeted or posted.
I saw tweets along the lines of ‘we shouldn’t be this scared of someone we elected’. People were worried about what this meant for them as a gay or trans person, a woman, a disabled/mentally ill person, or as a black, Asian or Hispanic person. Their worries weren’t unfounded considering Donald Trump ran on a racist, sexist and homophobic platform. Hell, the Ku Klux Klan, one of the most infamous hate groups in the U.S, endorsed the man. I went to sleep sad and frustrated at the state of our nation.
When I woke up the next morning, things hadn’t gotten any better. I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before due to an apartment key mix up and disbelief and sadness about the election results.
I went to my day job at a coffee shop and one of the first things I heard was one of my coworkers, an older white man, speaking to an older white customer saying that “their man” had won. This same coworker is the same one I dread working with. Any time I’m on shift with him, he refuses to let me do anything related to the job, even if we’re the only two up there. He’s the only one I have this problem with.
This is Donald Trump’s America. It’s not so much that I have a problem with Donald Trump as I do with the fact that now people like my coworker feel more emboldened than ever to showcase whatever their specific –ist views are. We’re already seeing it with the increase in violence across the country.
As local Philadelphia newspaper Philly Mag reported, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, which was when Jewish businesses and buildings in Nazi Germany were destroyed or vandalized, an abandoned fur store in South Philadelphia was found with swastikas and the words “seig heil 2016” on it. Yahoo News picked up the story the next day in a compilation of violent acts that have occurred since the election.
I’m a woman in the arts, specifically music, which comes with its own set of difficulties.
I could write an entire article on how infuriating it is that the general public seems to think women in music can only be managers, groupies or girlfriends. I could write another article on how much I’ve come to hate the word “groupie” because for some reason a lot of people think music journalist = groupie. That’s a thought process I’ve never been able to understand and have always been quick to correct.
I could write yet another article about how many times I tell someone my favorite band and they assume that I only like them because I think the members are cute. It’s like no one thinks women have a brain or can be just as hard working and passionate about music as a man. When Donald Trump won, I felt that this only reinforced that idea.
I could write another article about how when some interviewees see my short stature, baby face that apparently reads “resting nice face”, and polite, girl-next-door disposition, they don’t take me seriously… at least until I ask my first question. And even then, for some reason, if it’s a male band member or artist, they think it’s okay and/or professional to flirt with me while answering said questions.
I get jealous of one of my best guy friends because he can easily establish these friendships with musicians he thinks are cool or fun to hang out with or nice to talk to just because he’s a guy and they don’t assume anything about his intentions.
I feel like I can’t talk to a guy, let alone a musician, without them thinking I’m hitting on them. Sometimes women just want to be friends with people who share similar interests and are cool to talk to. I didn’t know that automatically meant I want to have sex with you or date you. Never mind asking said person for their number to stay in touch. I usually stick to asking for a Facebook because there seem to be fewer implications that come along with that.
Trump’s election and the platform he ran on are only going to make it harder for those of us who work in male-dominated fields. I’m tired of being looked at like I’m a body whose only purpose is to have sex with men. I’m tired of assumptions. I’m tired of catcalls and the mile-long stares creeps give. I’m tired of having to lie about having a boyfriend because the only way a stranger who happens to be a guy will leave me alone is if he thinks I “belong” to someone else.
I’m tired of having to get angry before a man will listen to me and/or take me seriously. I'm tired of having to worry I'll be ripped off or talked down to every time I walk into a mechanic or car dealership. I'm tired of having to work twice as hard as a man would for the same job. I’m tired of the “we don’t want a girl because it would ‘cause too many problems” excuse. I’m tired of the attitude that if you don’t drink or immediately want to jump into bed with someone, you must be no fun or a tease or a prude.
This attitude of “why you mad lol” is another infuriating thing. I pose these questions to those people: as a woman, how could I not be mad? As someone who struggles with mental illness? As someone who grew up in a multicultural city? As a supporter of gay rights?
I don’t think it’s asking a lot to put more thought into how you approach the world and see if there’s a bigger picture at work.