Hillary Clinton appeared at a retirement party of sorts on the Capitol today.
Headlines, not just on Breitbart, quipped about her emergence from the New York woods to be at this event. It’s not like the President-elect is assembling a cabinet of billionaires and children in Aleppo are starving as they are bombed and Nazis dressed as J.Crew catalogs are telling us it’s ok to be a white supremacist. None of that, nothing to worry about. So yes, let’s definitely make time in our morning show news coverage for ‘where has she been?’ and ‘where are her hiking boots?’
In the weeks since the election, weeks that have felt like an unending hellish eternity, the jokes about Hillary taking hikes have been abundant. Bros on podcasts made jokes about her having a breakdown. Pundits gave each other knowing looks while pondering with false concern on network news. SNL writers certainly felt very pleased with themselves when devising an entire sketch about her outdoor exploits. There were memes.
It’s almost like if you spend your entire career devoted to civil service and then that career comes to a screeching halt at a dead end of misogyny and misinformation, you can’t have a little privacy. You can’t seek solace in nature. You can’t find comfort, at least not without others making a joke at your expense.
It’s almost like if your entire adult life is spent battling against stereotypes and fighting against haters and countering conspiracy theories and being compared to your husband you don’t deserve some privacy when you are dealt the most crushing blow to your career imaginable. It’s almost like all that work and all your pain is just a laugh for everyone you thought you would be fit to serve.
It’s almost like when you run for President as the first major party female candidate and you’re about to break a barrier that your grandmother couldn’t have dreamed of being broken and millions of women who worked hard all their lives are rooting for you and you suddenly fall short, you still owe everyone something. You still have to make appearances, which they would certainly say you shouldn’t be making because DISTRACTION, but also, you can’t disappear to the woods. You still have to put on makeup, because how are they supposed to look at you when telling you what to do? You still have to make them feel better about themselves.
If you live and breathe America for 30 years, professionally, personally and psychologically devoting yourself to the idea and reality of the political process, and then wake up one day to find that people are not paying attention, why shouldn’t you take to the forest? If nearly 3 million more voters chose you over the racist, misogynist, thin-skinned, unexperienced bully you ran against after a lifetime of preparation but you lost anyway? Why wouldn’t you want to hear only the sounds of birds talking to each other and wind speaking to trees. If you had to smile through a serial adulterer and admitted sexual predator telling the world it was your fault your husband cheated on you and the American people, the white American WOMEN, chose him instead?
Go into the f&*ing woods.
The fact that Hillary Clinton’s whereabouts are even a topic of conversation among anyone but her family disturbs me but doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise the millions of women who voted for her, who hold up so much of the weight of their family, their community, their work, but who are still made to wonder if they are enough. It’s likely, I’ll admit, that it also doesn’t surprise millions of women who didn’t vote for her. Who looked past her and chose someone else, but who also lay awake at night wondering if they can ‘do it all’ while their husband sleeps soundly never having entertained any such concern.
I’ll meet you in the goddamn woods.
I cried when I wrote this.
Because this entire idea has run through my head for weeks, through the joke and the quips, reminding me that what we do is never enough. We can’t do enough to win, no matter how much we do. If we don’t win, we can lose in the right way.
For men who don’t see women as their equal, for women who do not believe women deserve what men have, for a society that laughs in the face of gender equality. Make a meme, some sketch comedy, do what you want. But I cried.
Just another feminist killjoy. We’re holding our next meeting. In the woods.