Letter to Misogynistic Men

Paola Nagovitch

Dear misogynistic men,

You call Hillary Clinton nasty. You call Carmen Yulín Cruz nasty. Why do men such as yourselves automatically resort to disdain and sexism? Why do you attack a woman’s competence when you disagree with her actions or beliefs?

With the 2016 election cycle behind us, I mistakenly believed that President Donald Trump’s public outbursts of blatant sexism were over. However, I had to endure yet another display of utmost disrespect from the president of the United States. Using his favorite weapon, Twitter, Trump attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz by criticizing her ability to lead the Puerto Rican people in times of despair. He also went on to denounce the Puerto Rican people for their failure to establish a community effort to recover from Hurricane Maria. Trump’s tantrum arose from Cruz’s audacity to make Trump face his worst nightmare: facts. Trump misleadingly assured the American public that, despite the tremendous and turbulent ocean complicating the disbursement of aid, the disaster relief efforts were successful. Cruz dared to complicate his boastful narrative by highlighting that Puerto Rican communities were, in fact, still awaiting aid from the U.S. Her frustration and desperation to alleviate her community resulted in a proclamation against Elaine Duke, the acting head of Homeland Security, who referred to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico as a good story. Cruz asserted that Puerto Rico’s story is one of devastation, death and sorrow.

Considering Trump’s misogynist thinking, Cruz’s display of raw emotion reinforced his perceptions of gender normativity. Because she is a woman, Trump diminished Cruz to her inability to control her public displays of anger and sadness. Her emotional plea for help was used to justify the characterization of normative femininity as nasty. Although this stereotypical concept of femininity is socially constructed and forced upon women, men like Trump use it as a way to degrade them. This, in turn, fetters women to the boundaries of femininity. However, Cruz, like Hillary Clinton and many women did during the 2016 election, embraced her new label. She carried her nastiness with pride, refusing to waver in her determination to help the Puerto Rican people. Despite partisan differences, leaders like Cruz and Clinton serve to remind women that the destruction of gender normativity is a continuous struggle. Women must uphold their relentless pursuit of the eradication of gender-normative laws.

As women, we must always remember that there is pride in absorbing insults from misogynist men and reconstructing them into tools to combat sexism. Dare to be nasty.

Sincerely,

Another Nasty Woman

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Paola Nagovitch at [email protected]

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