As Susan Sarandon so frankly put it, "I don't vote with my vagina." I do not instantly support someone in anything they say or do just because they happen to be the same gender as me. The simple fact that somebody is female and so am I does not make me automatically trust them and look past their flaws. For example, had I the opportunity, I would never cast a vote for Theresa May and I do not see her appointment as Prime Minister as a victory for women. I also didn't support Hillary Clinton because she is a woman; I supported her because she was the lesser of two evils.
Waking up to the news that Trump had been victorious filled me, at first, with shock and left me feeling disheartened and deflated. A nation has shown more faith in a reckless business tycoon with no experience of the military or politics, than in a woman with decades of political experience (albeit controversial). It's not the gender of Hillary Clinton which makes this such a defeat to women - it's everything Trump's rise to power represents. If a woman with the same lack of experience as Trump announced she was to run for President, would she have made it half as far, or would she have been laughed out of the running? This election was too complex to be boiled down to a battle of the sexes and to blame Hillarys loss purely on her being a woman, but the result promotes a terrifying message: if you're a rich, white male who shouts loud enough, then you're powerful and you can get away with anything. To put it in Trump's own words: "when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
Every woman will have encountered a Trump at some point in her life. Whether it's the drunken leering of the boyfriend of an extended family member, the flash guy in the office whose ego doesn't allow him to consider that maybe everyone isn't dying to sleep with him, or the man at the bar who decides that, if a girl refuses a drink from him, she must be a lesbian or a slut. Every single one of us will have, in some way, at some point, been intimidated and belittled by a big, loud, arrogant man who doesn't want to listen; a man who believes he is more powerful than you and therefore has automatically earned the right to look at you in certain way, to speak to you in a certain way, to touch you when you do not want to be touched. Trump's political success sends a message that this behaviour is okay, that it's funny and that being sexist and derogatory towards women can just be pushed aside and will not hold you back. A person can be accused of several accounts of sexual assault and harassment and still find themselves the President of the most powerful country in the world. We have to ask ourselves the broader question - in what world should any man (or woman) be able to declare themselves President of the United States before they can declare themselves cleared of all sexual assault/harassment charges?
It's a blow to anyone who has ever suffered abuse and to anyone who has ever been brave enough to speak out against it. How can women trust a person to represent and fight for their rights to work, education, politics and so on, when they have seen videos of that person partaking in chauvinistic locker-room talk, exclaiming that being 'a star' means anything goes - even "grabbing (women) by the pussy"? This is not intended to be a rant about Donald Trump, god knows there's enough of those circulating the press at the moment. America is a democracy and he won the vote,arguably due to a revolt against the political establishment; the very thing which Hillary Clinton represents. I am aware that Trump still won the vote of a significant number of women, but with polls suggesting that 57% of white, college-educated men voted for Trump, this is a painful sting for the women and men who are still fighting for gender equality and fighting against abuse. This isn't to ignore or underplay what Trump's win represents for issues such as race, LGBT and other communities, but as a middle-class white female, I'm writing about the issue which I can most directly to relate to. If only approximately 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police in America, with only 13 of these being referred to a prosecutor and only 7 leading to felony conviction, how can this improve now? People ask why women don't report sexual assault, why they are so hesitant in coming forward, here is why: we're living in a world where a man can have a dozen of these cases against him and still be elected President of the United States.