Are We Prepared for a Tidal Wave of New Misogyny?
by jenni contrisciani
In my college physics classes I learned that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hillary Clinton has all but won the Democratic nomination, barring a major development that makes her legally unable to be nominated, and people across the United States are starting to seriously think that a woman may soon be the Commander in Chief of the most powerful country in the world. It’s not the first of the firsts however; we are now just nearing the end of the administration of the first non-white President in our history. If we look at the national reaction to Barack Obama serving as commander in chief we can extrapolate that the reaction to Hillary Clinton may be just as forceful. During Barack Obama’s Presidency, the number of militia and patriot groups went from an average of 150 during the eight years of the Bush administration, to 1,360 in 2012, a 900 percent increase. (SPLCenter.com) The number of firearm purchases doubled. In terms of race relations, blacks are evenly split with 30% saying they have gotten worse, and the same percent saying they have gotten better, however only eight percent of whites felt race relations were better and forty-seven percent said they were worse. (Racismreview.com) The rise in militia and patriot groups, gun purchases, and an overall national feeling that race relations have degraded clearly shows a backlash against the first non-white American President. Given that Hillary Clinton is not only a woman, but a deeply unpopular politician who is polling as one of the most polarizing candidates in political history, and who is running against a demagogue who is backed by a white middle and lower class electorate that is currently suffering clear depression with loss of job and status, and it creates a perfect storm for a backlash. The rhetoric against President Obama was based on his policies, but clearly had a racial component, and the rabidity against his policy ideas often served as cover for hidden racism. The same will be used against Clinton. The language will be about her policy failures, but a large percentage will be based simply on the fact that she is a woman. I don’t particularly care for Clinton, nor do support her campaign so disclaimer right now that I am not a Hilary apologist. She certainly has made many mistakes, and is a fundamentally flawed candidate, but the resultant reaction will be against her gender as much as her poor choices, and the effects will not care for the reason, they will simply occur. She will serve as a manifestation that the definition of being “a man” and the privilege of being “a man” has shifted in America. Women now comprise the bulk of college students and men are increasingly being relegated to manual labor, with the corresponding drop in income and all the power dynamics that entails in home situations. If men react to a Hillary Clinton Presidency as forcefully as many whites reacted to President Obama then we are very possibly in for a tough four years. Hopefully American men will be able to find their inner Angels and not allow Hillary Clinton to release their bottled up reservoir of misogynistic feelings to freely spill forth. It’s not like it is a box of chocolates for women here already, dealing with wage gaps, sexual harassment, promotion discrimination at work, fearing to walk alone at night, domestic abuse, rape and all the other lovely things that come with being female. All these things are likely to increase and possibly spike during a Clinton Presidency. This is not an argument against a female president, but as women we need to be prepared for it. Hopefully the nation will not follow an equivalent trajectory of the reaction to President Obama. If it does, we’d all better start our self-defense training and be even more aware of our situation and our relationships than ever before. To the men of America, if Hillary Clinton is elected President, please check your actions and ask yourself, are your feelings truly justified, or are they a reaction to her? Remember we are your sisters, cousins, friends, and wives.