After this divisive election, I want to take a moment to speak directly to young women in this country. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry we failed you. I’m sorry you have woken up to a reality where you believe not only can a woman not be president, but in place of a competent professional woman, we’ve selected a man who treats women badly and speaks about women in such a degrading manner. We as a country have sent you a terrible message, and I want to apologize for that.
You are beautiful.
Despite what you’ve heard, you are not defined by a number on a 1–10 scale. Beauty is not defined only as a Barbie doll with a certain breast size, five-inch pumps, and perfect hair — although that’s what you will be led to believe by the comments he has made and the choices he has made in his personal life. I assure you that is not the case.
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and colors. If the magazines you’re reading tell you any different, stop buying them. If the fashion brands you’re wearing tell you any different, stop buying them.
It is not OK for someone to grab you. Ever.
That hand that slips into the back of your cocktail dress at an event. That hand on your thigh at the bar. That boy who pulls your pants down in gym class as a joke. That boy who rips your shirt off in school as a joke. That guy on the street who puts his hand on your shoulder and tells you to smile. That guy on the train who pretends it’s just crowded. None of it is OK. And don’t let anyone tell you any different.
You are not defined by your relationship to a man.
It is disappointing that the only real woman presidential candidate our country could stomach was launched into the political sphere through her husband. For some reason, too many people in this country still feel “It’s OK, as long as he’ll be there with her calling the shots.” We need to redefine that. First lady cannot and should not be the only plausible path to the White House.
Be smart. Be a badass.
The questions should be: What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do? Not what you want to look like, what size you want to be, what bag you want to own, who you want to marry.
What do you want to do?
If you’re smarter than the boys, be smarter than them. Don’t dumb yourself down to not intimidate them. If you can kick their ass in sports, do it. Don’t worry about being feminine or girly or worry about whether a boy will like you. Do what you love. Be who you are. And don’t apologize.
Make it rain glass.
We’ve done it wrong. We’ve walked it off too many times. We’ve awkwardly giggled when dealing with harassment in the workplace because we’ve thought that anything else would leave us out of the conversation.
We’ve been timid. We’ve tiptoed. We’ve played the game. No more.
I said during the third debate there was a moment I felt it and could see in Hillary’s eyes 30 years of biting her tongue, of being held to a different level of scrutiny, of that constant anxiety of not getting too loud or too emotional lest you be branded a bitch, or aggressive. I saw that feeling of being a woman in a man’s world.
My favorite post this week was from a woman who said she was catcalled on her way to vote. Her response: “Grab your umbrellas, boys. It’s about to rain glass.”
Just because Hillary did not win does not mean we need to lose that feeling, that bravado, that fearlessness.
Do not back down now. Make it rain glass. Mothers, tell your daughters. Be an example. Make it rain, little girls. We are deflated but not defeated. Instead, it’s time to make it rain.
This piece first appeared on the author’s Medium page and is reprinted here with permission.