Leandra Medine: What’d you guys think of Hilz’ speech!
Patty Carnevale: I couldn’t stop emotionally texting my mom and telling people that I couldn’t stop texting my mom. Exhibit A:
By the way Harling, thanks for the beautiful socks!
Harling Ross: OMG!!! Two historic moments in one.
Leandra: What were you telling your mom?
Patty: I thanked her for a lot of things. For making me feel smart and loved. For giving me books as treats.
Leandra: When I see a woman standing up there, by simple virtue of our matching genders, I feel a sense of ownership and compassion. Like I GET her better than someone else does. I imagine what it would be like if she were my actual mother. And then I think: that I feel this way at all is telling of something, right? I know lots of people who are not super into Hilz and one of their arguments against her candidacy is that she seems fiercely dishonest. But when you listen to her speak and feel like, “Oh that’s cool. I know you. I get you.” …You cant make that up being a faker.
Patty: One thing I learned from working at Upworthy and from some amazing mentors (male and female) is that emotions are valid data points. And that’s what guides a lot of questions and experiments and gathering of knowledge and all of that. The gut and the heart. I’ve cried three out of four nights of this convention which is super unusual for me and that’s really powerful! And I think I was texting my mom furiously because of how long it’s taken, right? And what generations and generations of women have done to push us all forward and pass the baton.
And holy wow, that Hamilton quote she used: “‘Though we may not live to see the glory, let us gladly join the fight.’ Let our legacy be about ‘planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.’”
My god YES. Humanity.
Jasmin Aujla: I watched it this morning and was tearing up from the moment she walked on stage. When she was speaking, what I kept thinking is: This is a woman who has really been through it all. She’s given her all and has been put down and ridiculed along the way but she never let that stop her. She never let it shade her goals and, after everything, here she is, finally having her moment. And it made me think of my own mum, who always put everyone else first — who will do the thankless work of making sure everyone else is okay first — and how grateful I was for her. It was so empowering to watch and I kept thinking about how proud Chelsea must have felt at that moment.
Leandra: It almost feels demeaning — maybe because I use the word too loosely — to say it’s “powerful.” But for me, as a leader who identifies as both fiercely emotional and driven by emotion, there is something somewhat relieving and encouraging about a female candidate who, like Jasmin says, has been knocked down so many times and has been made to feel like the most diminutive version of herself, but still walks through the storm without considering the storm and comes out on the other side dry. Like, I can do that too. I just have to want to. We can all be anything we want to be and the law of the universe is such that if you want something badly enough, you get it. Point blank. You persevere and you get it. The trick is knowing what you want and considering your humanity, all of that emotional stuff. But we can persevere.
Harling: When I was watching the speech, I felt resentful of the notion that it’s somehow not legitimate to feel supportive of Hillary because she’s a woman. So many women are accused of that as if it’s a bad thing— as if wanting a woman to be in the White House is girlish idealism. But I personally think it’s okay to feel excited specifically about Hillary’s gender. It’s okay to feel like “finally!!!” Regardless (yes! regardless!) of her political views or faults. And maybe it’s naive of me, but I don’t think it’s fair for women to be robbed of that excitement or made to feel less intelligent because of it.
Patty: I agree Harling. This is from my friend Matt and I really appreciated it:
Krista Anna Lewis: I was also thinking this morning about the competence of Hillary and Trump and how this particular race is such a perfect microcosm of male privilege: Hill is almost overqualified to run this country while Trump has done nothing within the government before. That just tapped into my emotions even more. Because in addition to the recognition that someone like me (a female) is doing something important that I’ve never really been able to identify with before (being POTUS), it also adds a sadness. An acknowledgement that if I want something then, yes, I may be able to get it, but I may have to work way harder than my male counterparts.
But then I got dressed and came here and felt a little better about it.
Patty: I remember I was studying abroad in London during the 2008 election and a professor (he’s British) said, “Honestly, I don’t believe Americans will not be racist in the voting booth.” And I was just like, “You’re wrong. The assumptions you are making about the US voting population, so wrong. And the only way to show you is to vote, all of us.” I want this election to be a lights out shut out.
Leandra: This process is liberating because it allows us to come out from under the trees for a minute and look at the forest and realize that change IS in motion, and that it happens slow but that we’re better today than we were yesterday. It allows us to consider why we sort of have ourselves to thank for using our platforms, both professional and personal, for good and not evil. Of recognizing the power in voice and the power of not allowing our respective megaphones to emit braindead rhetoric. (If no one has read the The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders, I highly recommend it) — because using our networks and the voices we cultivate, that reach way more people than they’d ever be capable of reaching without social media, we’re becoming a better species! Really!
Verena von Pfetten: So late to this convo and chiming in. But I SOBBED through all of last night. And then lost it when my mom texted me. My mom who is super German and super old school and definitely has NOT been a Hillary fan. Like, I have memories of her during Bill’s presidency just really deriding Hillary. And during the first Obama election, same thing. And then last night she texted me:
“Wow. Hillary is a super amazing woman. You are my daughter I am sooo proud of you.”
And to me that meant so much.
Elizabeth Tamkin: Verena, same with my mom regarding not being a Hillary fan. But the feeling of family and trust and community really does it for a lot of people (and is something Man Repeller does daily — presents itself as a community) and why her campaign is emotional and heartfelt.
Verena: Yeah. My mom is not someone who necessarily “gets” feminism. Like, yes, equal rights, etc, but she’s also sort of old school, like, “What’s the big fuss? Women and men are different.” But the idea that seeing Hillary up on that stage moved her to reflect on her own daughter…I think that’s really powerful. It’s a really fucking great feeling.
I feel so fortunate to be alive to witness it. In honor of Hilz’ Hamilton quote, here is mine: “How lucky we are to be alive right now.”
I also would have given a limb to be in the convention center last night.
Leandra: It’s fun and mysterious and exciting to be a woman in America right now, huh?