When I told my dad I wanted to be a white water raft guide, he quipped back, “What!? But you’re a girl!”
Fathers, husbands, boyfriends, brothers, bosses, and friends out there- you may not remember these kinds of comments and jokes you make to the women in your lives, but we remember them. Boy do we! Even though we know you love us and we know it’s not meant to hurt us intentionally, we take them very much to heart and they stay with us, sometimes for the rest of our lives. I love my dad to pieces and he’s said a lot of really nice things to me (mostly since he’s gotten old and sick), but the things I remember most, unfortunately, are the offhand remarks that belittled me as a woman, my ambitions, and my opinions. Or the ones that slut-shamed women or made fun of our bodies and/or weight. I eventually forgave him, and I wish I’d done it sooner. But it took me decades to get over the things he used to say to me. DECADES. And I missed all that time with this man I find hysterical.
Believe it or not, your daughters care more than you will ever know about what you think of us, and all women in general, though we’ll never admit it out loud. And we pay attention to everything you do. Even more than we do our mothers. We listen, we observe, we watch, we feel. Hell, I can practically read my dad’s mind and mood by the way he’s sitting in his chair. You are under our microscope, for reasons we don’t understand, just because you’re our dad. So of course we notice how you talk about Hilary and how you vote. So imagine the kind of stories I have been hearing in these secret Women For Hilary FB groups, where it’s one after another about how heartbroken they are over their dads and husbands and brothers and boyfriends voting for Trump. They cannot make peace with it, though they’re trying to at least accept it.
This has been a double bind for women since women’s rights started. How do we reconcile loving and even living with the men who love us when they also support laws and politicians that keep us from being our very best? Well, we do what we have to and just keep pushing ahead, hoping all the while that you’ll join us one day. We keep insisting that we can become president.That we can do jobs you say we can’t. That we deserve the right to control our bodies and our futures. And when you say no, we don’t take that for an answer. We’re human, just like you, so it’s not in us to just give up. Humans are survivors. And we have that fire inside of us that wants to fight back when someone tells us we can’t do something we know we can. You told us we were too stupid to vote for hundreds of years. So we fought for SEVENTY until you said, okay, go ahead I guess.
So you better fucking believe I became a raft guide. For six years. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was that one conversation with my dad that sold me on the idea. Because i needed to believe I could for my own sake since my dad didn’t believe I could.
I’m saying all of this as my last and final plea to the men out there who don’t even like Trump but are voting for him anyways because of abortion or taxes or the need to have a hundred guns in your man cave. Do what you will, but just know this– the women in your life are paying attention. And they will remember this (assuming they aren’t for Trump too. If that’s the case, you’re all good!). As much as they may pretend it doesn’t bother them that the men they love would vote for a pussy-grabbing misogynist who brags about sexual assault and wants to take away our reproductive rights, it does. And it’s killing us. Because that vote makes a statement- that you care more about your one issue or the fact you “just don’t like that Hilary” than you do about how much this election will impact us personally.
My dad isn’t voting this year because he doesn’t even know the election is happening. But if he did, it would be for Hilary. And now he’s proud of me for being so adventurous and independent. Jealous even, he admits. Politically he’ become super liberal the last ten years or so and I’m so proud of him. But I’m one of the few women I know with anti-Trump dads and that makes me sad. I know some men will vote for Trump no matter what any of us say. Do what you want. But just remember when you do, the women are watching you. And some of us will probably trust you a little bit less after tomorrow if you vote for that man. And yet, because we can’t help ourselves, a lot of us will keep biting our tongues and loving you to pieces.