Caitlin McBride: I cried when I woke up this morning
I cried when I woke up this morning.
When I went to sleep last night, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had taken a narrow lead in the polls and a senior aide to former reality star Donald Trump told CNN they would “need a miracle” to win.
It’s time to play the lotto, because that miracle has come to fruition.
The people have spoken and the leader of the free world is a man who has such a tarnished history with women that documenting all of his transgressions would far exceed my allotted word count for this piece.
It was the ugliest election in modern history and one which everyone, namely American voters, are relieved is finally over.
I’m not a political pundit, but I lived in the US until I was 12 and as election day was ending and the polls began to close, the reality of this entire campaign began to sink in.
I came to the bitter realisation that even if Trump wasn’t victorious, millions of men and women still voted for a man who openly bragged about degrading and insulting women on countless occasions.
A man who bragged about forcibly grabbing women “by the p***y” because of the infallibility fame afforded him.
And that was just he said when he didn’t know he was being recorded. The comments he felt confident saying while addressing the world?
“I think putting a woman to work is a very dangerous thing” (as per a 1994 interview with ABC News); “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees” (as per a 2013 appearance on the Celebrity Apprentice) and of course, “You have to treat them like s***” (as per a 1992 interview with New York Magazine).
Previously, he’s had well documented fights with female celebrities – namely Rosie O’Donnell (who he calls a “total loser” at every opportunity); Cher (also a “total loser” and a woman of “average talent who is out of touch with reality”) and model Chrissy Teigen (a “trashy gutter mouth woman”).
Not to mention his reflex response with any woman that has ever disagreed with him.
Pigs and slobs the lot of them.
Trump was elected based on a myriad policies including immigration reform, a vote for the anti-establishment and the overwhelming feeling that the American people wanted change.
But what message are we sending to little girls everywhere that so many negative, humiliating and degrading comments can be ignored for the sake of change?
Every woman has a story about an instance, no matter how big or small, when they realised they would be treated differently.
Of course none of us were running for the highest office in the land, most of us are still working our normal jobs in our normal lives, but there is an undeniable culture of misogyny spreading faster than we can count.
When I look back on my own childhood, the signs were there that I would be fighting an uphill battle.
When I was a child, I attended a Catholic primary school in New York and I used to refer to God as “she” simply because “Why not?”
The forward-thinking nuns liked it.
Being a woman was not something to overcome, but something to embrace. I’ve been a card-carrying member of the sisterhood all my life.
When I was 17, studying at a secondary school in Ireland, we were all brought in for one-on-ones and assessed the results of our aptitude tests with our guidance counsellor.
Construction Studies came up as my best option, but guidance counsellor insisted we wouldn’t “waste time on that” and instead chose Fine Arts, my second option. A much more suitable option for a lady such as myself – in the year 2004.
Fast forward to 2016, I see friends looked over for promotions because of their gender and those who aren’t taken seriously or even considered for leadership roles. Even when I started my first job, a former colleague told me that I was hired because the boss "likes pretty girls".
Whether it’s drunks on a night out or overzealous men sober during the day; I have been grabbed every which way, whistled, harassed, stalked and assaulted, all in the name of being a woman.
I have never related more to an image in the news than that of the groups of Clinton supporters outwardly weeping as the results came in.
Because, like them, I not only saw the potential for a momentous win – the first female President of the United States – but the crushing reality of the world caving in. A world which had looked so hopeful just hours before.
Imagine if literally any woman bragged about grabbing men “by the d**ks”? We’d be called whores. Maybe sluts depending on the mood.
We wouldn’t be deemed suitable candidates for presidency or frankly, anything, simply because we’d be painted as sex-crazed maniacs.
The notion of further advancement in our careers would be immediately stalled. We’d be so obsessed with d**ks, we couldn’t think straight, let alone get the job done.
And how can we expected to get the job done with all this breastfeeding and birthing we insist on?
Donald Trump famously stormed out of a meeting in 2011 with a Florida lawyer who said she had to take a break to pump breast milk.
His policies reflect a similar disdain. His businesses have a sketchy history when it comes to female employees. After Ivanka Trump took to the stage in September touting an eight-week paid maternity leave plan, she told Fox News that this was the policy of the Trump Organisation.
The Huffington Post uncovered that employees at Trump hotels across the US do not receive paid leave, but the 12-week unpaid leave the law requires. Nor does G-III, the business that operates her clothing line, according to the New York Post.
Similarly, a former employee of Ivanka’s business Marissa Velez Kraxberger hit headlines when she alleged that she had to fight “long and hard” to get eight weeks paid maternity leave. A woman, who, ironically, was involved in creating Ivanka's #WomenWhoWork campaign.
In the US, women are paid 78 cents on the dollar to their male colleagues. In Ireland, women make a sixth less than their male counterparts and effectively work seven weeks for free annually. Trump’s plan to combat the gender pay gap? “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.”
His comments in March that women who have abortions “should be punished” and the rhetoric he has spewed about Roe v Wade will undoubtedly have knock-on effects around the world.
If America, a country which is supposed to be leading the charge, is even talking about stepping back on this historic ruling at such a high level, the Repeal the 8th movement has just been given another hurdle to overcome.
The story of the billionaire businessman cum reality tv star cum social media maverick cum Presidential nominee was supposed to be a funny story we told our grandchildren about.
Now, it looks like we’d be lucky if our grandchildren were even presented with another female candidate.