When Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win the presidential nomination from a major party, the historic moment got a rather lukewarm response. Many young women who had grown up taking gender equality as a given were unmoved. One twentysomething concluded that Clinton's nomination was "greeted with a collective millennial yawn". Was there really a need to celebrate gender milestones in what's often described as a post-feminist society?
The latest news from the presidential campaign would decimate any such assumptions about gender equality in the U.S. On Friday, a leaked video from 2005 surfaced where Donald Trump can be heard bragging about being able to kiss and grope women without their consent because of his celebrity status. At last night's second presidential debate, he brushed off his comments as "locker room talk."
That comparison is perhaps more apt than he realizes. In the U.S., high-profile cases involving male athletes are part of an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. After Trump's remarks, the hashtag #NotOkay started trending in the U.S. as women shared stories of being sexually assaulted.
With his campaign reeling, Trump's strategy included dredging up accusations against Clinton's husband, underscoring the sexist idea that a woman should be judged solely by the men she's related to. Trump, of course, has been making demeaning comments since he entered the race 16 months ago, insulting fellow Republican Carly Fiorina's face and implying debate moderator Megyn Kelly's tough questions were due to her menstrual cycle. Despite all that, enough Republicans voted for Trump to give him the nomination.
This campaign is reflecting that in the U.S., women can be judged by their appearance, that their professional accomplishments can be dismissed in a cavalier fashion, that the language used to refer to them can be sickeningly derogatory. And violent.
What strides in gender equality has the U.S. really made if this is what the pinnacle of its democratic process sounds like? As we're dragged through this nauseating spectacle until voting day on Nov. 8, it's clear that when it comes to the role of women in society, Americans need to rethink how far they've come.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- North Korea commemorates 71st anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party amid fears of more Pyongyang provocations.
- Eurozone finance ministers decide whether to release the next payment from Greece's third bailout package.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan and attend 23rd World Energy Congress.