Via: Elephant Journal, By Kimberly Valzania
You don’t have to like her—I sure don’t.
But she is, in every sense, every woman.
Every woman who ever had to compromise. Every woman who was ever humiliated. Every woman who has ever lost, or been knocked down. Every woman who has showed human weakness only to be told that she clearly doesn’t have the strength for the job.
Every woman who has ever had to dust herself off, and get back up again. Every woman who has ever had to defend her own body against inquiry and injury. Every woman who has ever dared to enter the spotlight.
She is every mother. Every wife. Every sister. Every daughter. Every grandmother.
She is every imperfect, perfect, heroine, villain, and savior. Every single one.
And she has made mistakes—plenty of them. She is flawed, just like everyone else.
She is every woman who has ever cared about her appearance. Every woman who has ever carefully chosen clothing and makeup to present her best possible self. Because she’s afraid of what they might say if she looks a certain way. She must present herself a certain way so that she may be seen a certain way.
She is every woman who has had a million choices, and zero choices, and some choices, and only one choice and then half a choice on a good day.
She is every woman who, gasping for light and air, ever had to stand in the dark, cold, stale shadow of a man.
She is every woman who isn’t paid the same money as a man even though she is doing the same job backwards, without sleep, in high heels and with a big bow in her highlighted, blow-dried hair.
She is every woman who has ever had decisions made for her. She is every woman who has ever been judged. She is every woman who has ever had to compete against boys, or men, or husbands.
You call her a liar. You call her a crook. You try to knock her down a peg. You try to make something stick.
How dare she hold her ground, and for so long?
Who does she think she is? How dare she escape the pins you are trying to prick her with?
She is just one woman, yes, but she remains standing because she is every woman, too.
She knows the lyrics to every song there is to sing about cheating, lying husbands. She sings instead about living her life with forgiveness instead of anger and resentment. She sings instead about families, and workers, and equality, and common sense and rights and laws that make life safer for all people.
How remarkable, when you think about it, that it was her husband who literally charmed the pants off the country. Her weak husband who lied and lied and lied some more. Yet we thumbed our noses at her for remaining with him. We lost respect for her and turned away from her instead of pointing our finger at him for committing such foulness. He committed the crimes, yet she is the one who is still undoubtedly punished.
Like it or not, she is every woman who has ever been betrayed. She is every woman who has ever tilted her chin up instead of dropping her head.
She is every woman who has ever spoken at a podium with a baby on one hip and a man on the other—one crying and one asking what’s for dinner while apologizing for being late.
She is every nasty woman who has ever been the only woman in the room.
And here is the challenge: if you’re a woman, and you hate her, can you ask yourself why?
Maybe, politics aside, you find fault in every last thing she does and says because you yourself have, at some point or another, committed the same offenses in some way? Maybe you can’t respect her because you don’t respect yourself.
Maybe you can’t like her until you learn to like and forgive yourself. Maybe, in the same way that you berate yourself with negative self talk over your own decisions and actions and words, you are berating her and holding her to double standards. Standards you hold for her and yourself, but not for others—not for men.
You let others slide, but her, and you? That is simply not allowed.
Could it be that you do not think she is enough, because you do not think you are enough?
Maybe you need to look at partisan motives and feelings and judgments and mean political tactics and ask yourself why.
Because she is every woman who has ever been loved or hated. Adored or despised.
Perhaps she makes you uncomfortable because she dares to look at life with hope and opportunity, instead of quiet, oppressed sighs?
She is every woman who has ever had to fight. And make no mistake she is fighting for her own rights when she is fighting for yours.
She is every woman who has ever uttered the words, “I’m sorry.”
But, just to be clear, she is the candidate who isn’t spewing hate. She is the candidate who isn’t grabbing anyone’s p*ssy.
Her family doesn’t murder elephants, or leopards or crocodiles or lions or zebras just for fun. They do not pose for photos with severed heads. She is not the candidate boasting about sexual assault, or goading hate crimes. She is not rating people on their physical appearance. She is not the candidate preying upon anger and exploiting ignorance.
And she has no plans to build any sort of wall. Because walls don’t work.
She pays her taxes.
Just like every woman in the history of humankind, she works even when she is sick. She works amid the name calling and power-tripping.
She works amid the slander and the investigations that yield no indictments. She works amid the rumors.
And her shoes slip off sometimes.
You don’t have to like her. But you must, at the very least, recognize her.
Because she is every woman you have ever met, and like it or not, she lives inside you.
If you don’t see just a little bit of yourself in her, then what is it that you see?
And answer me this: why is she being stoned to death, while he gets off free?
Author: Kimberly Valzania
Editor: Nicole Cameron
This article was originally published by Elephant Journal