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A Loss for One is a Loss for All

Misogyny and double standards in our society need to be addressed.

Sophia Hughes, Features Editor

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My first exposure to politics was at five years old. In kindergarten, my teacher took a poll. As none would expect five-year-olds to have a vast knowledge of the subjectivity and the complicated policies associated with politics, this exercise was likely a way for my teacher to find out which parents were “red” and which were “blue.”

She asked the class which candidate, George W. Bush or John Kerry, we wanted to be our president. Of course, I hadn’t exactly formed a strong opinion on my political stance or even knew what the word “politics” meant, for that matter. Therefore, I naturally raised my hand for my parents’ selection, John Kerry. So did the entire class.

That night my very liberal home grew dark as President George W. Bush was reelected.

“My entire class voted for [Kerry]. I don’t get it,” I told my dad. His response is the same line I find myself repeating today.

“We live in a bubble.”

Going to a public school in West Los Angeles, I am sheltered. In my environment, diversity is championed. In my environment, racism and hate speech at my school foster a movement of love, equality and acceptance. In my environment, her choice is never a debate. In my environment, gay rights aren’t a question.

In my environment, a strong woman is valued rather than feared.

My mistake was believing that was the norm for the United States.

Instead, the snobby, West L.A. liberal stands in shock.

This election hurt. It hurt because it showed us what the rest of the country thinks of women — that no matter how qualified, smart or capable a woman is, she still isn’t as good as a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic man.

I tell myself it’s because people think she’s corrupt, that she’s untrustworthy. But that’s extremely naive. It’s naive to believe that politicians are perfect and don’t have lapses of judgment as Hillary Clinton did in using a private server, or that most politicians won’t do something incriminating in the interest of self-preservation, as Hillary is alleged to have done in deleting emails. Therefore, I regretfully come to this conclusion: The results of this election were sexist.

Clearly, if the American public would rather be led by someone who says, “Grab her by the pu**y” than the first female president of the United States, who also happens to be one of the nation’s brightest policymakers, is there any other explanation?

In my school, there is no obvious gender gap in academic classes the way there is in social situations. There is sexual harassment. There is the adoption of the word “b*tch” and “slut” to the teenage Oxford Dictionary. But boys will find themselves falling behind girls in academics from time to time or needing a lesson in organization from women — the gender gap has not made its way to academia. In fact, I didn’t realize that the wage gap existed until I was in seventh grade.

Hillary Clinton began as your typical determined female student with limitless potential but limited opportunities. She studied hard, attended a prestigious women’s college and consistently advocated for change. When she married and became the prospective First Lady, she was told to become the “trophy wife” rather than display her characteristic political fire; she doesn’t differ from other women on this point, either. In the aftermath of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, despite being labeled a political shark, she never abandoned her post. In the face of pervasive, gendered media scrutiny, she remained committed to her country.

Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, former Senator, former Secretary of State. Her position changed but the media’s myopic lens remained unrelenting. With Clinton one step away from the presidency, voters grew scared. They grew angry. They looked for something to criticize. The emails were a gift from God. Suddenly, the powerful female figure was worse than the bad wife with the shrill voice; she was a cold-blooded criminal.

I’m not suggesting that what happened with the emails was not wrong. It was. It makes sense that it raised doubts. But the extent to which it was taken and the faulty belief that it was comparable to Trump’s charges of rape or his sexist and racist remarks is absurd and a double standard.

As I drove to school on the Wednesday morning after the election, I couldn’t help feeling that the world I was looking at was different. Hillary’s loss felt too much like my own personal loss, a loss for women everywhere.

But I reminded myself that the world I was looking at was not different. In fact, it was more real than it had ever been. All the voices that had been silenced, that were full of hate, that were sexist and racist, were silenced no more. This sexism has always been there; it just took a woman to uncover it.

I refuse to end this article on a melancholy note because that is not how we as women should feel. This is not the end for us. Hillary Clinton shoved the sexists, and although this push was not strong enough, it provoked them. The only thing left is for the female community to deliver the final punch.

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The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School
A Loss for One is a Loss for All