I scrolled through the news on my phone, with one eye still shut from sleep. This is how I begin my daily routine; alarm goes off, responsible fiancé kisses me on the forehead and jumps out of bed to feed the animals, and I lie quietly in denial for a few moments, hoping that the five minute snooze button on my phone will somehow cause me to feel as though I’ve slept an extra two hours.
This morning, like most mornings, was no different in the news department. The main headline on CBC seldom related to happenings in Canada, but rather to whatever shocking statement the president of the country just south of me had proudly spewed from his lips the day before. This morning’s news was just as upsetting as any other, with Trump openly mocking the #Metoo movement at a rally in Montana.
I rubbed my closed eye, managing to open both of them, and let out a sigh as I swung my feet out of bed.
I should have been shocked, given that a world leader had mocked a movement that supported women coming out against years of oppression and sexual assault, but what was most disturbing, was that this had become so everyday; so terrifyingly normal that there was little to say about it.
Since before the 2016 election, the world was well aware of the sexism that Trump so proudly displayed. When the “grab ’em by the pussy” video leaked, many people were sure that a man who displayed such a callous attitude towards respect for women would surely lose the election. The results of that fateful night would prove to be not only disturbing for women, but for anyone who Trump didn’t see as a loyal, white, bow-down-to-me-and-follow-me-blindly-American.
And perhaps this is the biggest problem. In my lifetime, I have never seen the world so divided. Trump supporters will seemingly defend their leader to the death, regardless of whatever sexist, racist statements he makes. As women, we are still fighting for equality; to dismantle the expectations thrust upon us from birth based on our gender, and to be seen for who we are as people and not what our genitals dictate we must be. Yet now, in 2018, looking at a picture of a woman at a Trump rally proudly wearing a shirt that states “Trump can grab my (arrow pointing to her genitals)”, I wonder how equality will ever come to fruition when so many women happily support a man who sees them as nothing more than mindless objects.
That is why, while scrolling through Netflix on a lazy afternoon, I am eternally grateful that I stumbled upon Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up special, “Nanette“. What starts off as comedy turns into something that can only be described as relentlessly empowering. Hannah is raw as she delivers the most honest and compelling monologue I have ever seen, and what began with chuckling out loud, finished with me standing on my feet, eagerly hoping that the delivery of her words wouldn’t come to an end. As she walked off stage to the sound of thunderous applause, I stood there, mystified, and I did the only logical thing I could think of; I watched it again.
Hannah gave me hope. Here was a women who laid everything on the table, some of it deeply personal; and where others may have hid meekly, here was Hannah, shouting from the rooftop. She delivered powerful examples of sexism that still very much exist today; examples that no one could argue were the result of simply “being too sensitive”.
In this world of seemingly voluntary submissiveness, we need people like Hannah. We need people like Hannah to remind us to get angry, to speak up, to not sit there and smile as a world leader excitedly shakes hands with murderous dictators and treats women as though they are nothing more than silent beings, existing only for his pleasure.
I don’t care if you identify as Democrat or Republican. I don’t care if you have one God, ten God’s, or no God’s at all. I don’t care if you live in the United States, Canada, or anywhere else in the world. I care that by blindly supporting the Republican Party, you are in turn, supporting the oppression of an entire sex; and if you don’t think the leader of the U.S.A. and his policies will have an effect on the entire world – then you haven’t done your due diligence.
Hannah, after watching Nanette, I experienced something that I haven’t felt in a long time, the hope that the world will continue forward in the fight for equality, and not plummet backwards in these trying times.
I am quite sure, Hannah, that given the strength and clarity you displayed during your Netflix special, that you do not need us.
But please know that we need you.
We need so many more people like you.