I had intended for this to be graduation week on the blog. Margaux graduated pre-school the other day. Balthazar finished second grade yesterday. Our house is ripe with change and I wanted to write about graduation and change. Because change is hard but change is good, at least that’s what I keep telling my kids. But, then Brock Tuner happened. And then, Hillary Clinton happened. The highs and lows of being a woman, all in one week.
Maybe for the real first time in my lifetime, I’m not sure what to make of the world in which we live. So I couldn’t write about lovely family moments, or how hard change is for me. Because as I watched my dynamic little girl step forward into “real school” and leave the safe, cozy world of pre-school, I couldn’t help but wonder what world she was stepping in to.
On Monday, the world caught on to the paltry six-month jail sentence of Stanford rapist Brock Turner who raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He has shown no remorse and only apologized for abusing alcohol. He didn’t seem to mind abusing a woman.
His father lamented to the judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, that “20 minutes of action” shouldn’t ruin 20 years of his child’s life. The judge seemed to concur and gave Turner a six-month jail sentence. The judge felt a longer sentence would “severely impact” Turner’s life and future.
Isn’t that the point of a jail sentence?
Victims of sexual assault will tell you that their sentence lasts much longer than six months. Read the brave woman’s letter to her attacker and you’ll see that she has lived with much worse than a six-month jail sentence. And her sentence will undoubtedly never end. She’ll have nightmares and trauma for the rest of her life. But yeah, what Turner abused was alcohol.
The unconscious woman behind the dumpster? Meh. But hey, sorry I drank too much.
What a terrible time for women. What a terrible time for girls.
And then last night, Hillary Clinton became the first female Presidential nominee from a major political party. Whatever your political beliefs, it’s impossible to deny this is a stunning moment in history. It’s not just stunning for women. It’s stunning for everyone. Maybe after enough Hillaries run and/or win, they will no longer be referred to as female candidates. They’ll just be candidates.
In my lifetime, we will potentially have our first female President. My daughter got to go with her dad to the polling station yesterday and see a woman’s name on the ballot. A qualified woman, I should say. No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton, there’s no denying she’s qualified to be President.
What a wonderful time for women. What a wonderful time for girls.
When Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for President, I thought it was a joke and we were all in on it. I thought it was understood that someone who speaks with so much ignorance and hate didn’t represent this country. He didn’t represent us, I thought. I naively thought there was an us. I thought there was a certain standard, no matter which political party you’re aligned, a certain standard we all shared.
I listened as intelligent people said things like, “I just don’t like Hillary’s voice.” Or, “She’s just not very likeable.” I couldn’t help but wonder why she had to be likeable. Isn’t it enough to be smart and qualified? Does she also have to speak like the host of a chat show to be President? Why doesn’t Trump have to be likeable? He’s not even intelligent, nor qualified.
My daughter just took a tiny step into the real world. She’s only five, but she’s at the beginning of her journey out into a bigger world. I don’t know how to explain this world to her. I don’t know how to tell her that she can do anything she wants in the world, but I can’t guarantee she’ll be safe doing it.
I suppose I’ll simply tell her it’s the best and worst time for women. It’s the best and worst time for girls. And then I’ll do everything in my power to keep her safe and remind her that anytime someone tells her she’s not likeable she can politely respond by saying, “I don’t need to be likeable. I just need to be intelligent and qualified. Just like the President.”
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