Some feminists think they have it: misogyny. Linda Stasi in the New York Daily News writes: “I firmly believe that this was never a contest of right versus left. It was always a contest of male versus female. This was not a triumph for Trump so much as a vote against women.”
Hogwash. One particular woman lost the contest for the presidency of the United States, not womankind. We can and should parse the results of this election – devastating as it was for all people of goodwill. But there are mountain ranges of factors that outweigh sexism.
Trump is a cad and a lewd, not terribly shrewd, and a show-off who measures personal value by wealth and sexual conquest. His brazen boorishness was evident long before his egregious comments with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush were unearthed.
Reality TV, The Apprentice included, is in the business of making superficial, spotlight-seeking fools famous. Now Americans will have one in the Oval Office.
So with a candidate so obviously flawed, how on earth could he win?
Because Hillary Clinton is equally flawed.
She holds double standards, condemning Trump’s sexual misdemeanours but purposefully sullying Monica Lewinsky’s reputation during the sexual scandals of her husband Bill Clinton. The sisterhood did not defend a 22-year-old intern at the hands of a boss more than twice her age, who happened also to be the American president.
When Clinton used an email server in her home for classified information, it was cast as a careless error – for others with less power, it would most certainly be a serious scandal.
She took millions from foreign dictators and her charitable foundation remains under investigation.
Ultimately, Clinton is not the upright foil to Trump’s demon.
And what are we to make of the policy differences between the two?
Let’s start with that most divisive of issues – abortion. For far too long, feminists have denied there is such a thing as an anti-abortion woman or even an anti-abortion feminist. (We exist, by the way, and if you prick us, we will bleed.) In this election, Clinton waded into full-on abortion advocacy.
The evidence for this rests in the depths of Planned Parenthood’s mourning after her loss with a letter to supporters: “Let’s get all these words out of the way: Devastated. Angry. Heartbroken. Outraged. Shocked. Sad. Disgusted. Ashamed. Discouraged. Exhausted. Shattered.” They paid millions into Clinton’s campaign with the hope of reward but are left with a president who has promised to be anti-abortion.
Not every feminist is pro-choice. Until the feminist tent is truly inclusive, many women will have a hard time supporting women like Clinton.
There were other policy issues, such as Obamacare. This was something I experienced, living in Washington, D.C., while Obamacare was being enacted. Democrats and Republicans alike complained. Rates were rising. Coverage was not. Many were assured they could keep their old plan under Obamacare. They could not. Clinton’s policy was to “fix” this failing policy – even as rates rise by the double digits. Trump said he’d dump Obamacare. Neither position had much to do with the candidate’s sex.
Fundamentally, feminism is a floundering concept. It clutches a victim mentality, pitting women against men in a zero-sum Marxist struggle.
The first wave of feminists coalesced around the right to vote. The second around sexual freedoms. Things went downhill from there – there will never be total consensus about sexual freedom being a marker of women’s success. Anti-porn feminists clash with those who are “sex positive,” even where pornography is demonstrably objectifying, violent and degrading.
Ultimately, there is sexism in declaring misogyny as the reason for Clinton’s loss. If Clinton lost because she is a woman, could it not be said that her many prior wins were because she is a woman? Where biology is the cause of failure, must it not also be the cause of success? I’d say no to both.
We didn’t need Clinton to tell little girls never to doubt they are valuable and deserving of every chance to pursue their dreams. Clinton’s dream of the presidency is over. The dreams of little girls everywhere remain intact, regardless of who occupies the White House.
Andrea Mrozek is the program director for Cardus Family.