Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, I’ve been transfixed by the US presidential election. To their credit, it looks like the United States is going do what the UK didn’t manage, namely, avoid giving in to ultra-right white racist nationalism. But, man, what a slog it’s been, and one of the most discouraging parts of the whole endeavour has been the realization of exactly how much of the antipathy toward Hillary Clinton is driven by conscious and unconscious sexism. Many people I know say that they don’t like her because they don’t like her policies, but there’s hardly any difference between her and Obama, and they’re usually pretty willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, because they like him.
And of course she gets dinged because she’s “robotic,” or “not a natural campaigner.” But you can be sure that if she really let loose on the campaign trail, the same folks would start going on about how hysterical she sounds. (Also, you know what’s a more-positive adjective than robotic that describes exactly what’s going on for Clinton? Prepared. Does the world really need a Commander-in-Chief who’s all about indulging his improv skills?) That Hillary Clinton has managed to get this close to the presidency is a bit of a minor miracle, and a testament to her skill and, yes, temperament.
Anyway, after Donald Trump gifted us with “Such a NASTY woman” at the end of the third debate (though I prefer the more versatile “You’re the puppet!), most people’s minds immediately went to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty,” which makes sense. But my first musical thought was something more recent, Childbirth’s Nasty Grrl. For me, both this song and Clinton are the happy endgame of one of the more positive happenings in the 90s, the Riot Grrl movement. The next four years are doubtlessly going to be full of nasty, sexist, misogynistic attacks on Clinton and women in general, but I’m hopeful that the Clinton presidency will, in some small way, be the first Riot Grrl presidency, and that our kids (and the voting public) will increasingly see being a Nasty Grrl and a NASTY woman (in the Janet Jackson and Childbirth, not Trumpian, sense of the word) as the compliment it is. (Suicide Squeeze Records)