​What Will Life Be Like For Women With Trump In Power?

This election might just mobilise, even radicalise, women

Like many women, I spent the day of 8 November in a blur of excited activity.

In the morning, I dressed my toddler in her Hillary Clinton onesie and myself in an HRC-inspired approximation of a pantsuit (as a longtime freelance writer, the best I could do was dark jeans and a navy blazer) and snapped a few sure-to-be-historic selfies; with perfect clarity, I could picture myself showing them to my little girl, perhaps sometime near the middle of Clinton's second term, and explaining that when I was her age, many people couldn't imagine that a woman might someday be president.

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At noon, I headed into the Clinton campaign's Manhattan field office to spend a few hours making phone calls.

I wasn't worried, exactly—I was far less concerned than I'd been when I performed the same service in 2008 and 2012 on behalf of Barack Obama—but I liked feeling like I was doing something more than just voting. I wanted to be part of the movement.

Afterwards, I headed home to watch the returns. I didn't buy champagne, but I thought about it.

And then, as I don't have to tell you, everything went straight to shit.

Voters react to Trump's election victory

Instead of a strong, accomplished, experienced woman, the first person my one year old will remember seeing in the Oval Office is an unrepentant bigot who was caught on tape, mere weeks before the election, bragging about sexually assaulting multiple women, and who was elected anyway.

Not by a majority of Americans—as it turns out, Hillary won the popular vote—but by enough of them in the right places to carry him to the White House.

He won because he had the support of 63% of white men…and, incredibly (to me, anyway) he had the support of 53% of white women.

So, what will Donald Trump do for—or more accurately, to—women, both those who voted for him and those who did not?

We can't be certain, but it's a pretty safe bet that he'll try to do to the women of America exactly what he's said he does to women everywhere. That is: He's going to grab us by the pussies. Like it or not, we're screwed.

Instead of a strong, accomplished, experienced woman, the first person my one year old will remember seeing in the Oval Office is an unrepentant bigot who was caught on tape, mere weeks before the election, bragging about sexually assaulting multiple women

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to appoint pro-life Supreme Court judges who'd overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that prohibits states from criminalizing abortion. (Of course, many states already have laws that limit access to abortion, but they are not currently allowed to proscribe it outright.)

He's also pledged to support permanent passage of the Hyde Amendment, a legislative rider that forces women on Medicaid—a government-funded health insurance program for low-income, disabled, and otherwise needy Americans—to pay out of pocket for their abortions.

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It's very likely that Trump will try to make it harder for women to get birth control, too, even if 'only' by signing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and defunding Planned Parenthood. Over the last few days, I've seen a proliferation of social media posts urging women to get IUDs now, 'while [they] still can'.

So far, Trump hasn't said much about LGBT rights, but what he has said hasn't stopped LGBT people from worrying about what the Republican-led congress might do once he takes office. He's expressed support for North Carolina's HB2 (that's the so-called "bathroom bill" that bans trans people from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity).

It's a pretty safe bet that Trump will try to do to the women of America exactly what he's said he does to women everywhere. That is: He's going to grab us by the pussies. Like it or not, we're screwed.

Some trans people are talking about rushing to get passports with their correct genders now, rather than waiting to see if he prevents them from doing so in the future; some gays and lesbians have begun wondering whether they should get married before the inauguration, for the same reason.

And of course, the millions of women who are also ethnic or religious minorities—women who did vote against Trump, in droves—have even more to fear.

He ran an openly racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic campaign, with a dash of anti-Semitism thrown in for good measure, and even if he doesn't actually force Muslims to register with the government, or begin mass deportations of Latinos, he's fostered a climate of intolerance (that's putting it nicely: at least one chapter of the Ku Klux Klan is planning a victory parade) that has made us fear for our safety.

Which leads me to the one slightly positive thing that Trump might do for women—aside from the proposed childcare tax deduction, which won't benefit poor families, and the six weeks paid maternity leave, which is opposed by the rest of his party.

It's early days, but it seems as though this election might just mobilize, maybe even radicalize, women who were previously inclined (read: privileged enough to be able) to sit on the sidelines.

Women are protesting, and signing up to volunteer.

Over the last few days, I've seen a proliferation of social media posts urging women to get IUDs now, 'while [they] still can'.

We're wondering if there's anything we can do about voter suppression, or the gerrymandering that's enabled Republicans to retain control of Congress even as their popularity slides, or if we can get rid of the Electoral College (the body of electors who really determine who gets elected president), which has ushered two popular vote losers to power in less than two decades.

True, we're doing it out of sheer terror—and because googling 'life expectancy 70-year-old man' is not a good look—but I have to hope there's a chance that, if we fight, by the time my daughter is a woman, men like Trump won't be able to do anything to her.

Lauren Waterman is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer whose work has been featured in Elle, T Magazine, Nylon, New York, Boston Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune

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