On November 9th, we woke up to the news that Donald Trump had been elected the 45th President of the United States of America, leaving Hillary Clinton fans devastated in defeat. There are several reasons why this outcome has perplexed and affected such a large range of people. However, I truly believe that gender had the ultimate role to play in this result. We need to stop pretending that this was not a factor, because whether it’s acceptable or not, women are not equal to men when it comes to how people perceive a leader. The conclusion of this monumental election helps prove this very fact.
We are not to blame the world. Many countries have elected female leaders, and my country, Ireland, is included in that. However, there are only about 20 female world leaders in power at any one time, in comparison to hundreds of men. Due to the historical suppression of women, half of the human population, people tend to believe that only men can hold positions of immense power.
I find it incredibly disheartening that those who decided to vote for Trump, a misogynistic, racist, and all-round aggressive man, did so because they believe it was a better choice than electing a woman. They decided to elect a man who founded his campaign on denigrating immigrants, those who had travelled to America in search of opportunity (the same as Melania, his wife), to vote for a man who continuously denied sexual assault claims and used intimidation and aggression to scare his opposing candidate, who just happened to be a female.
The reality is if Trump had faced an election year in which the democratic candidate was a male – I think there is high likelihood that he would have been laughed out of the race. It is ironic in a way that such a misogynistic man had to run against a woman. And I find it unbelievably sad that he was chosen instead of her. He raised hysteric hatred against Clinton. If he had lost to a woman, it would have been the most incredible thing in this century to have happened. But he didn’t. And we must acknowledge that this is the unfair and unjust world we live in. A world which thinks the most powerful person and leader in the world couldn’t possibly be a woman.
We thought the world was changing, renovating the way it saw the places women stood. Eight years ago, America elected its first African-American president. Where has this liberalism gone? If the opposition against Clinton was a traditional candidate there are of course many reasons why she might not be elected into office. The fact she stood against a man like Trump and people still chose him instead is absolutely disgusting and insulting. When given the choice between a baffling sexist buffoon, and a woman, I do not see why in any way the American people chose the former.
I’m not trying to make this outcome all about gender. I am well aware there are many other factors at play here. However, I do believe gender has played a massive role in this election. The American people took a hundred steps forward when electing Obama, but now have taken a thousand steps back. Every female friend I know has been in some way emotionally affected by this news. It makes us realise how much our professional lives will be a struggle. Constantly trying to prove that we are enough. We can be great. And we too can be fantastic leaders, if only we were given the chance.
Clinton is a resilient, dedicated and intelligent woman. She is not alone in this defeat. But rather she stands with the millions of women, across the globe, who are determined to become equal to their male counterparts. We walk together and unite in the wake of the tragic news of Trump’s win. It is 2016, I am 19 years old, and I live in a modern world which still actively chooses to suppress women. Which continues to berate and belittle us. A world which tells, and tries to show us, that men are more powerful than women, and more viable options to hold power. Every woman around the world who is told she is not good enough, never will be and is not capable of leading a country, has just seen an insane example of this.
For females all over the world, this was a day of disbelief. A day of shock. But, most of all, a day of complete and utter sadness. As we were all reminded of our one flaw, the thing we have the inability to change, the very thing we seem to be: an unequal female in a political world of men.
Trump ran, in my opinion, to see how far he could get. How, in anyone’s version of reality, could he possibly be the best person to run the United States of America? How could anyone so erratic and idiotic hold the most powerful position in the Western world?
The rest of the world is eyeing America in complete disbelief. How could this have happened? How could something so important have come to this conclusion? The mistake lies in the way it came to be that America had to choose between these two candidates in the first place. Regardless of this question, Clinton was always going to be the better of two evils in the situation America found themselves in.
Trump won this election like a true business man. He poured money into his campaign, intimidated and berated his opposing candidate, passed the blame to deflect it from himself and evaded very relevant questions about his mysterious taxes, and sexual remarks about his power and women. His callous nature, in a way which some see as truthful humour, has cost Clinton the election of her life. Assuming Trump succeeds in implementing his racist, conservative, supremacist policies, this world is set to become a dark place for the next four years.
America didn’t just vote for a man, they voted for one who relishes in his hatred and objectification of women, and I find it disgusting. It proves how strange, tragic and cruel this world can be. November 9th was a sad day for the world, but a heartbreaking one for women.
We can only hope that Trump is all talk. That he won’t actually have the nerve to implement his outlandish and outrageous policies. That the next four years will just be a blooper in America’s history. And when it comes to the 2020 election, a female candidate will win. Not because she is a woman, but because she is the best.