On a miserably rainy November morning, a journalist battled the wind through downtown Manhattan to arrive at what was, until recently, a women’s prison in Chelsea. The inherent Chelsea-ness was impossible to ignore; soft electronic music pulsed above the hiss of expensive espresso machines and the journalist, wearing an unsubtle shade of red, found herself nervous in the crowd of chic wearers of black.
Back in July, when I saw that Lena Dunham was speaking at the Democratic National Convention, I can’t say this struck me as the best idea. A writer and performer known largely for the accusations of nepotism and privileged obliviousness she elicits from across the political spectrum was maybe not the wisest pick for a candidate trying to fend off accusations of the same. Why was Hillary Clinton going with a celebrity surrogate unlikely to resonate with swing voters, and likely to put off members of her own side? There had, by that point, been countless think-pieces on Lena Dunham’s privilege, mostly coming from the left, and mostly aimed at (and, I’d guess, penned by) millennials, the demographic Dunham was supposed to attract.
What should we make of Stephen Bannon, newly-appointed future-Trump-administration leader? One minute he’s protecting his daughters from the menace that is having to attend school with Jewish classmates, the next, why, it’s like he doesn’t care about the ladies at all!
It can seem almost quaint to think that once, when liberals feared the GOP, we concerned ourselves with things like reproductive rights, as versus OMG IMPENDING FASCISM. But the thing with Trump is, we don’t really know whether he’ll be as fascist as we fear (although I’m team I think he’ll be quite fascist). We know how frightened many are, including but hardly limited to American Jews.
After months of hearing about how patriarchy and misogyny were driving Trump’s popularity, it sure was odd to learn that millions of women voted for him anyway. I was among the startled, even though I guess no one should have been surprised – of course women who usually vote Republican won’t suddenly say, hmm, this Hillary Clinton seems delightful.