“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve gone back and forth a bit over whether or not to use this blog as a space to talk about my political views and opinions. I obviously want this to feel like an inclusive place for all, and I truly welcome anyone with beliefs different from mine who wishes to engage in open minded and kindhearted discussions and debate. But, I’ve spent too much of my life afraid to speak my mind for fear of rocking the boat and I can’t do that anymore— life is too short, and I’ve come too far.
I spent the months and weeks leading up to the election absolutely gobsmacked at the ridiculous double standards Hillary was being held to, while my awe and admiration grew with each passing day at the amazing fortitude, perseverance, tenacity, and grace she displayed in the face of unprecedented attacks and scrutiny. Meanwhile her opponent’s messages of divisiveness and hatred were normalized by the mass media in a new iteration of “boys will be boys.”
I was heartbroken and devastated on a level I cannot begin to express when I realized that it would not be Hillary. That the candidate who won every debate and was hands down more qualified somehow didn’t win. What’s worse was the number of white women who voted against her. I struggled to understand how so many women could have voted for Trump or HATED Hillary. I can understand why Hillary was maybe not your favorite person, but I struggled to understand the utter vitriol and disdain. Or perhaps there’s a side of me that does understand. I spent a number of years in LA trying to play the game, the one in which women actively and voluntarily objectify themselves, who police the “unfeminine” looks or behavior of other women in order to succeed in a man’s world. Even college educated women like me.
In Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, her main premise is that the most insidious aspect of patriarchal culture is the way that women are trained to actively participate in their own objectification because they are rewarded for it— rewarded with male attention and support. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always been ideologically feminist, and yet I too have hugely struggled with this aspect of femininity.
So here we are. I know there are a lot of people who voted for Trump who I would genuinely like, who aren’t fundamentally bigoted or misogynistic, and yet they decided that those behaviors in their candidate weren’t a deal breaker. And his victory is a tacit validation of every horrible thing he said, and it’s made me very afraid. He is an unpredictable and categorically unprepared president who ran on a hate filled campaign, and now he gets to decide the direction our country goes in and how the rest of the world perceives us. I’m scared of what irreparable damage his administration might cause to the country, the world, and the planet. I’m afraid this might be the beginning of a very scary time to be alive.
I know there are many of you who are scared like I am, but we cannot live our lives out of fear. Our worst fears may yet come to pass, but this blog is fundamentally about the wonderful and magical things that can arise out of uncertainty, and so I hold out the hope that the best of humanity will rise out of these events and the world will ultimately be better for it, and I believe we’re already seeing signs of this. I have been deeply encouraged and comforted by the amazing show of strength, and the willingness to fight for the rights of all to chose love and inclusion displayed all around this country and the world this past week. And I want to thank Hillary for being such an incredible example of grace and perseverance and setting an example for the rest of us to follow. As many women didn’t vote for Hillary, there are just as many if not more who will fight harder because of her, including me.
Carina Covella is a writer and currently working on her forthcoming memoir, Love Dogs, detailing her six month transformational journey from Hollywood through India. Carina graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University cum laude with a degree in Art History. She also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music through the university exchange programs. Until recently she lived in Mill Valley, California with her wonderful Welsh boyfriend Anthony in a house nestled in the trees, but now they’re off on a two year adventure around the world. When she’s not writing or traveling she loves to cook for her friends and family.