Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's Not All Sunsets and Sea Glass: Post-Debate Thoughts




I'm trying to remember if I smiled the night my assaulter held his hands around my neck, pinning me  against the front seat of my car for close to an hour. I cajoled, to be sure. "I'm married," I told this acquaintance who followed me out of the party, ostensively walking me to my car. "You don't want to do this," I said. I talked non-stop except for the moments when his grip on my neck grew tighter. But I don't think I smiled.
I didn't want Hilary to smile during the debate. Every time she smiled I thought about how women are expected to look pleasant and pretty in the public eye. I thought about how women smile to defuse aggression. I am an unabashed Hilary supporter. I don't want a wall. I don't want Muslims to be barred from the U.S. I don't want to scrap the Affordable Care Act and start over. I don't want women to continue to crawl along without an Equal Rights Amendment. But I don't want Hilary to smile.
Trump behaved like a stalker during the debate. Standing behind her. Threatening to throw her in jail. Pacing around her with his hands in his pockets. And I hated the final moment when they approached one another for that final handshake. He put his hand behind her, appearing to touch her  in the small of her back. I interpreted that as a show of aggression.
And while never having been a conspiracy theorist of any kind, I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump campaign itself released the trash-talking bus video. The message: Watch out. I'm an aggressor. I will dominate you.
Our society is fucked up when it comes to gender equality. Women have have the vote for more than hundred years. Yet we are the last to the party, among all the developed countries in the world, for maternal leave and health care policies that protect women and children, We are expected to do it all and that's impossible.
"I want you to come home with me," my assaulter said over and over again. I had a half-dozen reasons why that couldn't/shouldn't happen. I kept repeating them. When he finally got off me and stood up, I yanked my car door shut and drove home. I was drenched in sweat by then. That 's the way I felt by the end of tonight's debate.
I want Hilary to stop smiling. We don't have to please anyone. We just have to stand up.

5 comments:

Tara Crowley said...

Powerful post. Sad awful story. We have so far yet to go.

Ms. Moon said...

How many of us smiled through an assault, pretending that no, this wasn't really happening, because if we admitted it was happening, it might get worse and then worse...
Smiling around the razor blade of danger.
Trying to convey the reality that we are good girls- good girls! You don't harm good girls!
Oh god. It's all so fucked up.
I hate that man so much. I hate him for all of us.

Mary Lou Connolly said...

Chilling.

S Kay Murphy said...

I've been thinking about writing a blog post on the times men have made unwanted sexual advances that stepped over the line from flirtation to assault. I think you've just given me the courage to go ahead and do that. Thank you.

37paddington said...

Hillary's smiles freaks my daughter out. She says it reaches determinedly to her eyes and then sits there frozen. I know what her smile means. She is stepping among the land mines to the golden door. Once she is president, she will no longer need to smile and humor imbeciles like the groper and violator of women. Still, I can understand why you wish she wouldn't smile. And I'm so sorry that happened to you.