Clinton's loss was a huge blow to feminism in the US - precisely why they must strive harder for a more gender neutral society

Trump’s win, with the help of some women who voted for him, will further fortify the grounds of patriarchy in the US.

The US election 2016 resulted in an unexpected and remarkable defeat of Hillary Clinton. The election displayed that the entrenched patriarchal social order and the reinvigorated gendered political culture are the foremost prevailing factors in American society. Donald Trump’s win is reportedly the victory of the blatant misogyny and the phenomenal triumph of patriarchy, which are believed to be the root causes of the violation of women’s rights and all kinds of violence against women.

One thing is clear: that the prevalence of misogyny in the American society is at an extremely high level, compelling Americans to elect even an unqualified misogynist as their leader, over a woman. Trump could not match Hillary Clinton in her knowledge of American politics or her expertise on its geopolitical realities. Where Clinton was smooth and eloquent, Trump was wavering and prevaricating. He lacks qualities that are considered essential in a capable leader. These qualities are the knowledge of policy, articulation of complex concepts in an understandable manner, the ability to manage large organizations, ability to communicate clearly, ability to develop a vision for a better future, ability to make hard decisions, and an ability to negotiate with political adversaries to find common ground. These qualities are developed through a prolonged political career. Hillary Clinton, before having served as Secretary of State, was also a Senator from New York and thus combined the tradition of the holding of an appointive office with the holding of an elective office. Conversely, Trump has become the first person ever to have held neither, to be elected President.

After Clinton’s defeat, Americans, who once claimed to be firm upholders of human rights and gender equality, have been rendered unable to pretend that women in America are a homogeneous group with the same privileges and status as men. The fact is, that throughout US history men have been believed to be strong, superior and the protective gender, while women have been believed to be the fragile gender, who are expected to be nurturing caretakers of the husbands, their houses, and their children. Trump’s win, with the help of some women who voted for him, will further fortify the grounds of patriarchy in the US.

The Nate Silver charts show that if only women had voted for Clinton, she would have easily won. The fury of men against women is so powerful that they will unite around this inadequate narcissist. According to the American award-winning journalist, Suzanne Moore, every freedom that America’s women have fought for is now under attack after Trump’s win.

Going through the history of presidents of the United States of America, in the list of 45 presidents from George Washington – elected on April 30, 1789 – to Donald Trump – elected on November 8 2016 – I found that no single woman president has yet been elected by Americans. This gender discriminatory treatment in the US’s political culture is the one substantial question mark on the oldest modern democracy: why has it failed to elect a female president?

On the other hand, many countries, such as Turkey, Ireland, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Canada, France, and England have elected women as presidents and prime ministers. Despite the fact that the Pakistani society is the hub of human rights violations and gender disparity, we elected Benazir Bhutto as a prime minister twice. 

Under the United States Constitution, the president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States.  As chief of the executive branch and face of the federal government as a whole, the presidency is the highest political office in the United States by influence and recognition. Regrettably, no female has ascended to this highest political rank. It shows that in American politics, gender plays a vital role and its political culture is deeply gendered.  

Surprisingly, Hillary Clinton is not the first woman who contested for the office of the United States’ president, but is the last one in a long list of the female presidential candidates, beginning with Victoria Woodhull’s campaign for the presidency in 1872. The American society, showing resistance to female leadership, has not elected any one of them. This demonstrates that misogyny is extremely deeply ingrained in the society.

In January this year, a delegation of human rights experts consisting of three women who lead a United Nations working group on discrimination against women, with the objective to prepare a report on America’s overall treatment of women, visited Alabama, Texas and Oregon states to evaluate a wide range of U.S policies and attitudes as well as school, health and prison systems. The delegates, being shocked by the lack of gender equality in America, reported that the US was lagging far behind the international human rights standards in a number of areas including its 23 percent gender pay gap, maternity leave, affordable child care, and the treatment of female migrates in detention centres. Regarding the reproductive rights of women, they reported that women were headed into a cattle pen and prodded with electronic shock therapy in Alabama.

Misogyny, sexism, and harassment are Donald Trump’s notable characteristics. For decades, he has been infamous for his objectification of women and their dehumanization with sexist remarks. He has been calling women with discourteous words such as pig, dog, slob, and disgusting animal. Reportedly, fifteen women have been sexually assaulted by this person. One of them was just a 13 year old girl whom he had raped violently at an orgy. 

Americans dealing an unexpected and shocking defeat to Clinton showed that they believe in male supremacy.  Clinton’s remarkable defeat is a serious setback to feminism but it is the women who have to pick up the pieces and carry their struggle on to shatter the gender biased political culture of the US.

Shaikh Abdul Rasheed is a social activist and researcher. Follow him on Twitter