In Trump’s America We Wear “GRAB HER BY THE PUSSY” Wristbands

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Someone is selling “GRAB HER BY THE PUSSY” wristbands on Shopify. Someone thought it would be a good idea, a funny idea, to put Donald Trump’s words about sexual assault on a wristband. Someone thought it might even be profitable. That person is a man named Kyle and he has two small children with his wife. That person has nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram. He has 5,408,163 page likes on Facebook. I don’t know why I’m surprised by this when the man who said the quote is now the President Elect of the United States. I don’t know why I’m surprised that this quote is turning into an edgy rallying cry by actual humans who actually exist. I don’t know what to say. I haven’t known what to say all week.

On Tuesday night I stood fifty feet from the podium where I expected Hillary Clinton to make her acceptance speech. I stood in the Javits Center for seven hours as the returns came in and we slowly realized we had lost. Florida, too close to call, and then Ohio, and then Michigan, and then Wisconsin. People in the hall were devastated, sinking down to sit cross-legged on the carpet, the room silent enough to hear a pin drop, to hear a heart sink. My friend and I wondered if we should go home but know we couldn’t. We were frozen. If Hillary conceded, we wanted to be there. We wanted her to see us there, with her until the end. Around 2:30am John Podesta told us all to go home and we cheered, I don’t know why. When I was finally alone on the L Train, I sobbed.

The next day I had a lot of hard conversations with my colleagues about my privilege, my ignorance. I am white and my whiteness means I didn’t see the reality of racism in this country, how motivating it is, how it drove millions to the polls to vote for a man whose victory the KKK is now celebrating openly. The men in my life don’t understand the devastation of this, though. They really don’t. I think of my mentor crying and I think of my daughter and how I will tell her about that night someday. I keep my H pin on my coat. I am livid and scared, crushed and disappointed. Older adults tell me different things: that they lived through Reagan, that we’ll be fine, that this is my first electoral disappointment but this country will carry on, we survived a Civil War once. Someone else tells me there has never been anything like this, Trump is unpredictable, we’re at a pivotal moment for climate change—his hands shake as he thinks of his kids. No one knows the right thing to say. Everyone tells each other they’re saying the wrong thing.

Several friends tell me that Trump supporters are not racists or sexists or homophobes and that saying they are is divisive and will backfire. I nod politely, I try to listen and I try to believe them but I keep thinking of the white teenage boys driving around my father’s town in their pickup truck, a gigantic TRUMP flag waving from the back of the bed. Hispanic parents guided their little kids away from the truck, ignoring their cries that they would lose the Eevee they were chasing in PokemonGo. I remember my Jewish best friend’s fists clenching at his sides as he saw the truck, and I remember coming out to my parents as bisexual only a few weeks ago. I think about how all of my best friends from college have been raped and sometimes I swipe right on Tinder wondering when my turn will come. I think about laughing uncomfortably at my ex-boyfriend’s racist jokes and how he got away with dealing thousands of dollars of drugs and how he called me a whore when the time came that I fell out of his control. A coworker tells me he worried for my safety when Trump was declared the winner because I’ve been such a public advocate for the Hillary campaign. Safety doesn’t make sense anymore. Walking home from the Javits Center is the last time I will feel safe in a very long time, and who I am I to be scared when so many have it worse?

The “GRAB HER BY THE PUSSY” wristbands come in four different colors: green, pink, orange and yellow. They are $3.99.

The first female candidate for President won the popular vote and still lost. People are already talking about how she was a terrible candidate but I still can’t believe she won’t be my President. I have a bunch of Hillary campaign patches that I didn’t get the chance to put on my jacket and now I don’t know what to do with them—I’m not ashamed to have supported her but I worry about the attention they could attract from men who wear wristbands and late night smiles like daggers. I don’t know how to trust the citizens of Trump’s America.

Rumor has it that the confetti cannons at the Javits Center were filled with fake glass to celebrate a ceiling shattered. I get emotional every time I imagine what that would have looked like, and how Hillary must have said to Podesta that she just couldn’t go out there, she couldn’t concede, not tonight. This kind of disappointment doesn’t come naturally, mixed as it is with fear. But glass doesn’t need to be shattered. It can also be burned.

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5 thoughts on “In Trump’s America We Wear “GRAB HER BY THE PUSSY” Wristbands

  1. Ella: Thanks for your good work. The reactionary backlash started in earnest. Lots of social suffering ahead of us. Action items: reform the electoral college, make the Dem party a progressive party, it’s been too corrupted by power and Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street corporate / Wall Street criminals. HRC is very much part of the problem.

  2. There is something scary about electing someone so openly biased in so many ways. It gives courage and momentum to people who feel similarly. Racists, misogynists, haters of all sorts. Most (I hope) much worst than the man elected. I am afraid for the future of this country.

  3. My heart aches for you and all the people who are suffering right now. I am British and white, so perhaps I shouldn’t be fearful – I am one of those born lucky – but I have a bi-racial nephew living in New York, and several extended family members who are Muslims from Pakistan, living in the USA, and I fear for their safety and peace of mind. I also worry about the wider world, with such a man as the leader of the most powerful nation, and fear for the world future. Some of my FB friends say, don’t worry, everything will be alright, but at 66 I have seen a lot of evil in this world, and I’m afraid I don’t have their confidence. Thank you for writing this piece, Ella. I really, really hope that our fears are unfounded.

  4. This is stunning. I look back on myself as a younger boy and many of my peers with whom I was friends, teammates, classmates. I continue to wonder how can we possibly teach our boys to respect women, to value consent, to listen, when we have elected a man who openly brags about rape. I know this is not a question for you, Ella, but instead a question for me. For all white men. But it’s a terrifying question, and I felt that this was a good place to write it. Thank you for writing.

  5. …I’m at a loss for words after reading your post. I’m an independent politically speaking, given the quarter century of dysfunctional government from the two parties. This isn’t about me though, it’s about that hole in your heart from having your expectations smashed by this event. Tragically, the winner of the presidential race is a Pig of a human being, which only adds to your pain. My only advice to you would be to focus on how you can make the world better. Your attitude and behavior is your dashboard for viewing your future…😔

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