Our On the Rag podcast team have an emergency meeting to discuss what happened to the world of women this week, how to cope and what to do next.
The morning after the US Presidential election, a friend of mine was walking alone through the Auckland suburb of Kingsland, New Zealand when a group of schoolboys yelled “grab her by the pussy” at her. I’ve been a little breathless since. It feels like everything has changed forever, the progress dial has gone back below zero.
Yes to the “well actually” merchants of the world, the Trump effect won’t hit us as hard as those who are now tiptoeing across the US soil that has now turned into explosive eggshells for anyone who isn’t a straight white man. But it still hurts a lot. It hurts a lot to see minorities in America suffering immediately as a direct result, but it also hurts to see how far the stream of misogynistic and racist vitriol has been spewed.
The sad truth is that Trump is here already, he’s always been here. Trump is ponytailgate, tittygate and crotchgate. He’s gravel throwing, he’s commercial radio banter, he’s yelling from his car at you on SnapChat. The call is coming from inside the house, Trump has just turned up the volume of the ringer to the point where nobody can think straight anymore.
A man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women is going to be in charge of the free world, so what in the flaming fuck are we supposed to do about it? Joined by my two heavenly On the Rag podcast angels Michele A’Court and Leonie Hayden, we sat down today to try and figure out what women, even those in little old New Zealand, can start doing right now:
As well as us trying to articulate what to do next to feel normal again, we’ve also assembled the greatest chunks of internet inspiration to make you laugh, feel strong and find ways kick back against a sentient satsuma who wants to build his wall, bung a glass ceiling above and then sit on top of it, smugly eating his KFC with a knife and fucking fork. We hope it helps in any small way.
Undoing the Trump Effect: How New Zealanders can take action, by Mava Enoka
The Wireless have assembled this incredible directory of ways that you can start making a difference right now in New Zealand, from baking cakes to volunteering at a soup kitchen to answering the phone at the Women’s Refuge. Send it to all your friends, pick one to embark on this weekend, and start doing good on the daily #bebetterthanTrump
A letter to America from Leslie Knope, regarding Donald Trump, by THE Leslie Knope
I work hard and I form ideas and I meet and talk to other people who feel like me, and we sit down and drink hot chocolate (I have plenty) and we plan. We plan like mofos. We figure out how to fight back, and do good in this infuriating world that constantly wants to bend toward the bad. And we will be kind to each other, and supportive of each other’s ideas, and we will do literally anything but accept this as our fate.
And let me say something to the young girls who are reading this. Hi, girls. On behalf of the grown-ups of America who care about you and your futures, I am awfully sorry about how miserably we screwed this up. We elected a giant farting T. rex who does not like you, or care about you, or think about you, unless he is scanning your bodies with his creepy T. rex eyes or trying to physically grab you like a toy his daddy got him (or would have, if his daddy had loved him). (Sorry, that was a low blow.) (Actually, not sorry, I’m pissed, and I’m on a roll, so zip it, superego!)
Our president-elect is everything you should abhor and fear in a male role model. He has spent his life telling you, and girls and women like you, that your lives are valueless except as sexual objects. He has demeaned you, and belittled you, and put you in a little box to be looked at and not heard. It is your job, and the job of girls and women like you, to bust out.
You are going to run this country, and this world, very soon.
My Plan For Making Peace With President-Elect Trump, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
A week before Election Day, I saw an Instagram picture of a friend’s daughter who happened to share a birthday, that day, October 26, with Hillary Clinton. The Instagram caption read, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME AND HILLARY. I clicked “like,” and I thought of the girls who had been radicalized by this election—literal seven year olds who will grow up knowing what to ask for, who will know what they’re worth in a way that Hillary’s generation and even mine have had to guess at, who will not wait for election returns to find out if they’ve become an acceptable part of society. They won’t stand by and write think pieces about unfairness. They won’t eat half the shit we’ve had to.
We need to ask why and how. We need to keep challenging those we know who support Trump “How can you support such an evil man?”, and when they respond with the classic “best of two evils” bullshit, we have to keep asking “so let’s compare these two evils”, because from all I have read and observed Trump’s evils outweigh Clinton’s 100 to 1.
And when the furore dies down we must all continue to keep doing the things we do to make the world a better place. And keep doing them better.
Trump Has Been Elected, Now the Real Fight Begins, by Kat Patrick
So now is the time to expand beyond the small Internet lives we’ve constructed. To have difficult conversations. To get offline, and into the ‘alternate reality’ we spend so much time skirting, when there can be only one reality. Confront our parents, our educators and those myriad systems that, as it has turned out, might feel quietly safer with a Trump figurehead. It’s time to defend the minorities for whom the world has suddenly become so unsafe. The time to show kindness, to work out ignorance, to go forward, to not retreat. To run, not walk. The biggest shocks can have the biggest, best consequences; there’s still hope – the capacity for goodness has not vanished, only our tendency to enact it.
Also take time to grieve – it is necessary – and then get ready.
Finish Your Ugly Crying, Here’s What Comes Next, by Ann Friedman
You’ll know that you are taking meaningful action when you start feeling uncomfortable. When you are nervous and a little scared. When you’re working with people who don’t look like you, or who have had very different experiences in this world. When you don’t have a tangible, immediate goal like ‘winning an election.’
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