Women essayists reflect on Trump, Clinton, and the prospects for feminism.
Mukhopadhyay (Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life, 2011), senior editorial director of Culture and Identities at Mic, and Harding (Women’s Resource Center/Cornell Univ.; Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture—and What We Can Do About It, 2015, etc.) gather a diverse collection of essayists to respond to the challenges faced by women in Trump’s America. The writers include Cheryl Strayed, who felt “numb shock” after Trump’s election; Nation columnist Katha Pollitt, who offers suggestions for activism for reproductive rights; and award-winning essayist Rebecca Solnit, who points to the “highly gendered term ‘hysteria'" used to attack Clinton. Many writers agree with Carina Chocano, who sees Clinton’s defeat as a result of gender bias: “there’s no more despised figure on earth than a woman who thinks she should be in charge.” The anthology is broadly representative. Sarah Michael Hollenbeck considers women with disabilities; Jill Filipovic points out the plight of women in Africa after Trump’s “gag rule” prohibited U.S. funding to any foreign organization that provides abortions or advocates for abortion rights; Melissa Arjona writes about Mexican women living in South Texas; Collier Meyerson and Zerlina Maxwell consider black feminism. Also represented are gay and trans women, such as Meredith Talusan, who asserts that “Clinton’s loss, despite the fact that she was exceedingly better qualified than Trump, mirrors the way trans women and femmes are marginalized in post-Trump feminism, despite our significantly greater experience of fighting oppression” compared to mainstream white women, who, several writers note, dominated the women’s march after Trump’s inauguration. Kera Bolonik, a gay mother raising an adopted black son, and the granddaughter of Jews persecuted by Nazis, sees parallels to fascism in the atmosphere of hate and fear unleashed by Trump and his supporters.
Strong, thoughtful, and angry voices ring out for resistance, empathy, and solidarity.