Millions and millions of women across the country will be casting a vote (or already have) for Hillary Clinton because they are enthusiastic for her. For many of us, our vote will also be decidedly cast against Donald Trump — and every man whose mistreatment of us he represents.
It is a natural consequence of an election primarily between two candidates to explore whether voters are more disposed to vote for one candidate or against the other. There has been lots of polling on that subject this cycle.
But what those binary numbers do not reveal is that many women supporting Hillary Clinton are voting enthusiastically for her, and just as enthusiastically against her opponent, Donald Trump.
Many of us may be doing it loudly, and many of us may be doing it quietly, but, in the privacy of a voting booth, our votes are not weighted by how loudly we have broadcast our intentions. Each vote matters equally.
Each vote is an opportunity to vote for Clinton, the first female, feminist presidential candidate, who has spent her career advocating for women’s equality; who said that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”
Each vote is also an opportunity to vote against Trump, an unrepentant misogynist who has admitted groping women; who represents a toxic masculinity against which every woman must struggle in her life.
Yes, it is a vote against his policies, his fearmongering, his bigotry, his incompetence, his unfitness for the office. It can also be — and will be, for millions of women — a vote against a man who has become an avatar for every man who has unleashed prejudice and/or harm against us.
The strangers who groped us on the subway. The bosses who passed us over for promotion. The salesmen who answered our questions by speaking to our husbands. The coworkers who leered at us. The teachers who would not listen to us. The men who shouted at us from passing cars. The boyfriends who raped us.
Every man who has endeavored in big and small ways to deny us equality and esteem, whose retrograde views on women’s ability and worth are embedded in and amplified by Trump’s every sneering comment and gross behavior toward women.
When I cast my vote on Tuesday, I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton, because she is the most qualified candidate. I will also be casting a vote for women’s equality; for my own equal rights, autonomy, agency, and right of consent. For my own value.
And I will be casting a vote against Donald Trump, because he is manifestly unfit to hold office. I will also be casting a vote against gender bias; against every word and deed directed at me by men who wanted to convey that I am less-than.
It will be a vote for a candidate in whom I believe, a vote for myself and my place in the world, a vote against any man who would tell either of us — or any woman — that the measure of our humanity is less than their own.
I’m with her, and I’m categorically not with him.