Melina Mara/The Washington Post

The 2020 Presidential Debate — a dog whistle to Proud Feminists

This post should be a longer piece on feminism, its inner wars, with comparative observations from Gaza, the DRC and France. A synthesis and a call to action I’ve been mulling over for months now. Writing is hard. It’s painstaking for me. As a single mom of three young kids trying to start my own business in the midst of a pandemic, I don’t often find the mental space to methodically build an argument, provide scientific sources and transform it in flowing prose. Then last night’s first presidential debate happens, and the moment compels.

Feminism belongs on LinkedIn just like it belongs in the workplace, at home, on the street, and on the floor of the Cleveland Clinic during last night’s sad spectacle. And it is maybe because it involved three white male septuagenarians that feminism was very much front and center last night.

For it is only when being “the man” won’t involve brute force and blind combativeness anymore that we’ll be able to aspire for adult debates and actual political discourse. If you want to tackle the system that produces toxic models for both men and women, and allow for the gross behavior on display last night, then you’re a feminist, and you’re fighting sexism. Welcome, good to have you with us.

It’s not a coincidence the main dog whistle last night was to a group called “Proud Boys”. Also not a coincidence that white males consistently remain the most Trump-loyal demographic. While it’s essential to keep talking about systemic racism and how to be an ally, I believe Trump’s real leverage is toxic masculinity.

So, this morning and everyday, I declare myself a Proud Feminist. No qualifier. No ifs and buts. I stand for men who use their words and acknowledge their emotions. I stand for women who persist and those who simply can’t yet. This post is not so much a dog whistle as it is a cri du coeur, as we say in French. I hope you can join me in comfortably, unequivocally calling yourself a Proud Feminist today.


Fanny Hattery headshot

Fanny Hattery is a female leadership consultant living in France with her three Franco-American kids. To support women’s ambitions head over to Toutes Ambitieuses.