Online feminist communities have been major influences on me in my understanding of feminism, intersectionality, and the world in general, and I consider them extremely valuable. The areas of the internet I frequent often find a way of answering questions I am too afraid to ask out loud, and many I don’t even know to ask, and they continually expose me to new ideas and ways of thinking that I really think make me a better person overall.
With that said: writing introspectively and positively, even about something I care about, is pretty intolerable right now. I have dealt with grief, depression, mental illness, and yet I am unaccustomed to the kind of heartbreak that came with this election and its aftermath.
I realize how lucky that makes me in some respects.I have not had to handle real pain. It also makes me incredibly naïve. I had a lot of emotional weight riding on Hillary and on the assumed triumph of good over evil, but this loss is only one portion of the emotional pain. The pain is coming from the horror at this outright rejection of feminism, and multiculturalism, and of the most basic levels of humanity. More importantly, it’s painful that I really didn’t see this coming.
As time goes on, I’ll use this platform to talk about social issues and happenings as they related to gender, sexuality, poverty, and race – and I think there will be plenty to say as things progress.
Talking about the intersection of all of the issues, and horrors, and real life situations we’re dealing with is important in this new territory. For now, I’ll start the conversation with some thoughts on our brave new world.
A lot of people know and probably won’t soon forget the feeling upon waking up after Election Day. I felt like I had taken too many sleeping pills and had woken up anyway, against all odds, too heavy and despondent to enter the world but without the basic will to sleep. Later, when I decided to venture outside, it felt like a foreign place. I’ve heard so many versions of this from friends and strangers I’ve spoken to since. For all the division we keep hearing about, it seems like a lot of people are experiencing the exact same thing.
I’ll borrow the perfect analogue from Jenna Wortham on the Nov. 10th episode of the Still Processing podcast (highly recommended): walking around that day was like a scene from John Carpenter's They Live, when the characters put on sunglasses and suddenly see that half the “people” around them are actually alien monsters. The only difference is that, in our reality, there is no way to differentiate between the monsters and the decent folks.
It still feels like I’m wearing those glasses, walking around in a world that looks generally the same but is somehow, almost imperceptibly, off.
A lot of people are recognizing that strangeness, looking around and wondering who is safe. As a white, able-bodied woman living in Southern California, I am not in any real danger regardless of who is around me.
Sadly, people can’t tell if I’m a monster, either.