Slowly, but surely the fog lifts. The shock, disgust, disbelief make way for sadness. Sadness makes way for anger. Anger makes way for action. And below all this these burning questions - “How can I get back to business now?” “Why does it even matter what I do?” “Why is it not an acceptable reaction to just curl up in bed and never, ever get out again?”
And the words come. Slowly, but surely. And I can’t, I won’t keep them back. Because I believe I’m not the only one struggling with this. Does our work still matter in the face of the next four years? In the face of the message 47% of the Americans who voted just sent us - us women?
Yes. Yes, it does. Now more than ever before.
I grew up in the firm belief that my gender didn’t matter. And I refused to accept that it could, even when I had to face lots of sexism when I started to work. And this is why this election result hurts so much - it shows me that not everyone thinks that. That there are still a hell lot of people out there to whom it matters that I am a woman - in a really, really bad way. Something I had taken for granted - that everyone thought, deep down, that gender shouldn’t matter - I can no longer believe to be true.
It’s no wonder this election result makes us want to curl up in our bed and not face the world. It feels like it’s breaking our heart. And for quite a lot of us, even non-Americans, that is actually what has happened. Our hearts got broken by the system. But let’s not forget: "It’s a privilege to be heartbroken by the system for the first time at age 30. So many people — those in the prison system, those with undocumented American relatives, those who are trans, who are queer, who are people of color, who are Muslim, who are trying to prosecute their abusers — have felt the crushing failure of the system over and over again.” (Lena Dunham).
So how, in spite of all that, does our work as women makers, as female business owners, still matter?
It matters because we are living proof. Living proof that they are wrong. That women are strong and supportive and capable of anything and everything in this whole wide world - even if they think we're not.
And it’s now more important than ever that we go out and show that. That we take our broken hearts and use them to fuel us, that we say “now more than ever”, that we take that scary leap of opening our business, that we hire our first female employee, that we do whatever we’ve always wanted to do. Because it is setting an example.
THIS is the real act of protest - proving them wrong. Showing them that despite everything the next four years are going to throw at us we can do this. We are going to build our businesses. We are going to be strong together. We are going to be successful.
We are the antidote against this poison of hate and sexism and not caring. We are the ones that show that it can be done. We are the role models, the glass ceiling breakers, the fighters that this world needs right now.
So buckle up because we are coming. We are coming and there’s nothing as scary and as impactful as the anger of a woman. And yes, we are going to be wearing pantsuits.