My biggest concern throughout this election process has been the messages behind it. I personally wasn’t keen on either candidate, and anticipated a difficult four years ahead regardless of the election results. My primary concern was the messages being sent by the voters.
We’ve been living in an era of progress – of empowered women – of men of strong character. And I believe that’s what most people want. Now suddenly the world is not so certain what we want.
I know there were many dynamics to this election. It’s not like Hilary was perfect either. I don’t believe the majority of Trump supporters voted for him because of the racism, sexism, bigotry and bullying. I don’t believe that’s what his voters were supporting, and I don’t begrudge anyone for their choices. That’s beside the point now. My primary concern is what it has always been – the message.
Intentional or not, the election of Trump sent a message to Americans and to the rest of the world. The message that this stuff is okay. That this stuff is encouraged and supported. That this will get you places. There are entire generations growing up today that have awoken to a world where that is the message they’ve received. What are they to make of that? Parents have a more difficult job than ever to encourage their children to grow up to be respectful, tolerant and wise individuals.
So let me speak to the writers out there.
Writers, we’ve entered a time when it is more important than ever to write the kind of characters that you want your children to grow up to be, to give them heroes to look up to, examples to follow. We need more Aragorns today. We need more Katniss Everdeens. The upcoming generations will need more examples of men being strong men and women being strong women. Strong in character, not just physically or charismatically. They will need to see what it looks like for men to treat women respectfully. For women to be attractive without it being about their bodies.
Parents, write your female characters with the kind of strength and dignity that you want your daughters to have. Write the kind of male characters that you would actually be comfortable with your daughter dating (difficult as that might be). Write the kind of heroes you want your sons looking up to. They need to be shown that this is the ideal, that bigotry is what’s out of place, that sexual assault is wrong.
I’ve heard too many stories of women being assaulted and doing nothing about it because they thought it was normal. An entire generation has just been sent that message, and it needs to be countered. We need stories of women fighting back, speaking up, making a change, fighting for others.
Forget about the election. Forget about politics. Hating and blaming is pointless and not what I’m here to do. I know it was complicated and I won’t pretend to understand all the dynamics of it. All that stuff is behind us now. What we’re faced with now is a message. We need a response. We need examples to give to our kids – to our teens who are right now in the process of deciding what kind of person they want to be. We need heroes now more than ever. Writers, we have work to do.