Irish women on Trump’s win: ‘America will be great, but for who? Not for women’
What message does the election of Donald Trump send to women?
A group of women react as results come in at a Hillary Clinton election night event in New York. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Margaret Martin, director of Women’s Aid
What does the election of Donald Trump as US President say about women? I’m still in shock and find it hard to articulate how I feel, which is probably mostly fear and a total absence of hope.
I’ve struggled to find anything to like about Trump, with his grandiose sense of importance and entitlement, his mania for the big show, the big building and all the trappings of wealth, including glamorous women on his arm and his fixation on power and control. I am totally repulsed by his “locker room” comments about women and his boasts of groping women… even writing this my skin begins to crawl.
What does this say to abusive men when the president has such a total lack of respect for women? I’m fearful that so very many hard-fought gains by the women’s movement in general and the violence against women movement in particular, are now at risk. His callous lack of, respect for women is part of a wider disrespect for human rights at so many different levels.
How do you feel about it? I feel totally dismayed at the success of a campaign built on hatred and contempt which led to his election the White House. So many Americans seem to have been lulled into a promise of it will all be OK. America will be great, but for who? Not for women.
Moninne Griffith, executive director of BeLonG To
What does the election of Donald Trump as US President say about women? It worries me about what it means for all the wins for women’s equality in the US. Will they be rolled back on? It also worries me about the message it sends to girls and women not just in the US, but anywhere in the world that looks to the US as a rational, free and progressive society. And what kind of a role model is he for young men and boys when he shows so little respect for women? A polar opposite to Barack and Michelle Obama with their warmth, humour and how they represented an inclusive American dream. How do you feel about it? This morning as I woke to the news, I cried for all my friends and family living in the US. I texted colleagues, who I have worked with over the years to win marriage equality for LGBT people. I am heartbroken for them and for all the great people I know in the US and living here who work tirelessly to make their country and the world a better, fairer more equal place.
I don’t yet really have the words to describe the heartache. However, I want to believe that this is not the apocalypse. Most people are good and Americans are famous for dusting themselves off and starting again. We need to think, to listen and learn, so we can understand why this happened and explore whether it could happen here too.
We can’t give up hope, we must go on.
Dr Mary McAuliffe, assistant professor in gender studies, UCD
What does the election of Donald Trump as US president say about women? A Donald Trump presidency will be a real-time dystopic nightmare for migrants, for Muslims, for LGBT people, for Latinos, for African Americans, but most especially, for women. Throughout his campaign he and his followers vilified Hillary Clinton using the most misogynist and sexist language – “Trump that bitch’, “nasty woman”, she was a shrill, a bitch, a whore, a bimbo, a witch, an ugly, vicious, angry bull-dyke. He implied that because she had not been able to control her husband, when he had affairs, she was incapable of leading the country, and most especially incapable of being in charge of the military.
Towards the end of the campaign as the sexism ratcheted up, she was accused of being a devil worshipper, a killer, a leader of the “Clinton Crime Family”. His followers openly called for her to jailed, to be attacked, to be hung, while Trump himself implied that she should be “taken out”, assassinated.
He has called women he didn’t like, fat, ugly, he initiated a week-long feud with a former Miss Universe, tweeting, incorrectly, that she has made a sex tape. He called Megyn Kelly, a journalist with Fox News, a bimbo and insinuating that she was menstruating and hormonal because she challenged him in a debate.
He spoke of his non-consensual sexual aggression towards women, which he could get away with because “when you’re a star, they let you do it”.
Trump’s sexism and misogyny also extends to his proposed policies and those of his vice-president elect, Mike Pence. Pence, a long time anti-choice activist, and Trump, now have the opportunity through control of all branches of government to effect a roll back of Roe vs Wade, the 1973 law which guaranteed reproductive rights to women. Pence has promised that “we’ll see Roe vs Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs”.
Trump has normalised public sexual abuse, while his personal mistreatment of women makes him the president of rape culture within the United States. A Trump presidency will resemble nothing more than an out of control, ugly, brutish, nasty, sexist, abusing frat house.
How do you feel about it? Despondent, despairing, grief-stricken, angry and shamed. We believed that we could have it all, that rape, sexual abuse gender violence, sexual and reproductive inequalities, male privilege, were all gone or soon to be eradicated – with just a bit more activism. Now we know, our “free” western societies still have a deep-seated hated of women.
Feminists are waking and we are angry and we are nasty, and we mean business – be afraid, be very afraid!
Jennifer DeWan, campaigns and communications manager of Nasc Ireland
What does the election of Donald Trump as US president say about women? It says quite clearly that the majority of Americans would rather vote for any man, regardless of how ill-qualified, racist, sexist and misogynistic he is, than vote for a woman. The campaign had very little to do with qualifications or issues and everything to do with people not being able to imagine a Mrs President instead of a Mr President. This new “great” America on the horizon wants to roll back the clock to an age before civil rights. That doesn’t suggest a promising future for women and minorities.
How do you feel about it? My heart is broken. The country of my birth has broken. I’m actually quite scared for my family and my friends at home. And I’m scared for all of us for what may come in the next four years. It is the first time in my life that I feel ashamed to be American. It feels like a personal blow to me as a woman. It crystallises for me how little things have improved for women and minorities, despite all of the positive changes in the last several decades.
Annie Hoey, president of Union of Students in Ireland
What does the election of Donald Trump as US President say about women? I think it shows that there is an underlying sexism that we always knew was there, but that we pretended not to notice. And I don’t mean the sexism that people allege about those who did not vote for Hillary Clinton. I mean the sexism that comes with the fact that Donald Trump openly and proudly espoused, and that did not hinder his election.
The fact that an openly sexist misogynistic man has been elected into the most powerful position in the world, despite all the assault allegations and accusations of demeaning behaviour towards women, clearly indicates that the issue of the treatment of women is not considered an issue.
When a man who espouses hatred and entices violence is elected, it is important to look at what that reflects about society. I want to think that as a society we have evolved beyond sexism, racism and elitism, but the election of Donald Trump actually shows that underneath it all there still runs a current of intolerance and hatred.
How do you feel about it? I feel terribly sad. I feel sad for Americans who felt that someone who clearly lied, cheated his way through the system, espoused hatred and violence, was the right man to lead such a powerful nation.
I feel sad that the voices of women and minorities will be silenced. I feel sad that as a woman there is a body of people in the US who share the belief that women, that I am a lesser being because of my gender.
What I really am frightened of is that this election will embolden people in Ireland and the rest of the world to voice and act on these inner feelings of superiority over women and other minorities.
I am not an American so I do not know what will make America great again. But I somehow doubt inciting hatred and fear is what will bring about the catalyst of change people so desperately want.
Frances Byrne, chairwoman of the National Women’s Council of Ireland
What does the election of Donald Trump as US President say about women? The fact that an underqualified man would be seen as preferable to a very qualified woman is awful. And very insulting to women.
Donald Trump is undoubtedly sexist and racist. I am upset for all women in America. Trump’s views on women are not good and not just. He has insulted all women, not just the women of America. And within the US, for Latino women, for African Americans, for Muslim women, the result of the election is an insult. The human rights consequences will be real and this is going to have repercussions for all women and all minority groups
How do you feel about it? It is a massive snub to the women of the US, to human rights and to those seeking equality everywhere. We need to react to this. We all need to react. People, men and women, need to stand up against what Trump stands for. The personal has never been more political.