I have blogged on this site about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and my support of her for president of the United States, in several FAR posts this past year: here, here and here. So—this is my last post regarding her campaign before the election November 8th.
We all, by this point, have seen or heard about Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, being videotaped while he said that grabbing “pussy” is OK and women “let” him do it—because he’s a star. We’ve heard him call Hillary “a nasty woman” during the 3rd Presidential debate. We’ve heard him interrupt her, patronize her and other women, and also unleash a floodgate of sexism and racism in the process. Remember according to polls, 40% of the populace, despite all of the above is still voting for him. Why? Because they are voting in support of sexism and racism STAYING IN PLACE. Most of them are not voting for Trump because they feel he is the more qualified candidate to be president. They are voting to keep in place a race and sex status quo that has kept women and people of color out of the power structure since the founding of the United States. That status quo is crumbling. However, as it crumbles, rocks are being overturned and – stuff is crawling out.
Want proof of that?
Here’s an example: I was at a recent Dixie Chicks concert in Los Angeles at the famed Forum. After the phenomenal first act (by Elle King) my wife and I were waiting in a crowded packed line for drinks before the main act, the Dixie Chicks, who have in the past been critical of President Bush, and paid a severe price for it, and are also critical of the Trump campaign.
Being the talkative person that I am, I turned to the man behind us in line and enthused, “Wow! That first act was amazing!”
He smiled indulgently, “Yeah, but I bet you’re coming here for the Chicks, right?”
Of course, this was too good of a line to pass on so I said, “Well, I’ve been coming for the chicks for about two decades.”
He laughed. “Well…it will be Ok as long as they don’t get political.”
Knowing the history of the Dixie Chicks, I said, “Well of course they are going to get political—I mean that’s their whole gig…especially after what happened last night with the release of the Trump video…you saw that, right?” I was referring to the video of Trump saying “grabbing pussy” was OK that was captured by mistake on Access Hollywood, that by the next night had gone viral.
The man, at a Los Angles Dixie Chicks all women line up of a concert rolled his eyes, “Aww…come on? That? Really? What’s wrong with a little pussy grab?”
I could feel my wife behind me, knowing her look was saying that this guy had picked the wrong woman to say this to. I was a nasty woman way before #nastywoman became a hash tag. I looked at him and automatically said, “What’s wrong with it? Well, it’s sexual assault. It’s illegal. It’s a crime.”
He switched gears, “So –you’re supporting Clinton?”
Because I made a commitment to talk to Trump voters (see my previous FAR posts) I made an attempt to talk with him about Hillary being a great president. He brought up Benghazi; I said nothing had been proven (and besides we were talking about Trump and his sexual assault admission). We were nearing the front of the line and I closed our conversation saying I hoped Hillary would win, yes I had supported her for a long time—and I believed she would reach across the aisle and would make all America proud.
As we walked away from him, however, I heard him lean forward and before he even ordered his fast food, he said to the trapped sales girl, gesturing to me, “See that woman over there? She thinks a little pussy grab is bad. I mean, what’s so bad about it? Do you think it’s bad?”
I’m ashamed to say I didn’t stick around. The place was packed. I felt bad for whatever part I played in unleashing this monster from his cave…but in that moment I knew that something had been unleashed and I think it is the fear that some men have that they, with a Clinton presidency, will not be able to get away with what they have gotten away with before—namely, sexual assault.
There is an upside to his admission and it is a big one. After all, since Trump brought this subject into the news media focus in such a public way there has been a 33% surge in reporting about sexual assault. That is great news for sexual assault survivors, more of them are talking about it (more of us, I will say, since I am a survivor of sexual assault and sexual harassment), not feeling alone, not feeling they (us) are the only one…and hopefully getting support from their community and maybe for the first time having others recognize that yes, it is bad. “Pussy grab” etc. is bad—and no, we didn’t “let” men do it.
Trump “got away” with it (as much as he thinks he did—which in fact come to find out—he didn’t) because in most cases, he was their employer, the women he assaulted—not because he was a star.
Andrea Dworkin, the feminist theorist, wrote that women were afraid of feminism because it was “an agony” to face the brutal consequences of misogyny and patriarchy. However, with the release of the Access video and the subsequent nationwide conversation around sexual assault and the condemnation of it—at least this much of feminism and acceptance of the reality of sexual assault is being faced.
Many faced it with enough courage to speak their truth. And in some cases, enough courage, community and relief that they were able to grab their power and fight back immediately—often with biting humor–planning revolution. #november8pussygrabsback is a great example that hit twitter and facebook with feminist fury immediately.
When the Dixie Chicks were castigated for speaking out about the Bush administration they were told to “Shut up and sing!” by country crowds who did not want to hear political messages, especially from women– and they were told it with the cancelling of concerts and enough gigs to make them go away for a while. But they came back, and they came back with their hit “Not Ready to Play Nice.”
So- I’m going to just end this blog with the words from that song. We’re not ready, and I don’t think women will ever be ready, after this election, to “shut up and sing” or shut up and type, or teach, or wait tables, or cook, or lecture or whatever it is patriarchy has wanted us to shut up about and at the same time serve the system. We are going to speak and keep speaking until the system changes. It is our time. #Nov8PussyGrabsBack.
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
Marie Cartier. Dr. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall(Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher.