The rise of social media means the rise of bullying online, and no one feels the effects of these invisible haters more than women with opinions. So with election day right around the corner, the politically inclined, especially those with a public platform, have been enduring a lot. Take Desi Lydic, the comedian-turned-political-commentator for The Daily Show, a woman with strong thoughts about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and the state of America. While she's been educating viewers on Comedy Central's hit show with segments like "What The Actual Fact?" her hard work hasn't gone unnoticed by some critics.
"It's tricky to be part of a show that is very political," Lydic admits. "There will always be someone that disagrees with you, and now, in the age of social media, they will let it be known. It's very safe for [commenters] to spout off whatever they want even if it's hurtful or harassment."
Lydic has a good point: According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, women feel the effects of harassment more than their male peers. And harassment that is worse than name calling, like stalking and sexual harassment, is "disproportionately" targeted at young women. "Young women experience particularly severe forms of online harassment," the study found. Yet even given the startling statistics, Lydic doesn't let online trolls get in the way of her job or her happiness.
"I can handle the 'You're not funny' comments, and when they start attacking you personally... you can block the person and shut it down," she reasons. "It's more important for women to speak their minds, and have a point of view, and be opinionated, and start a conversation with other women and other people. If that means you get a few haters along the way, fine."
Because of her strong opinions and her won't-back-down attitude, Lydic is exactly the kind of woman we need on TV today. She's adamant about her political viewpoints and uses her platform to voice her thoughts, whether that's on or off the show. Not only is she hilarious, she's also courageous and whip-smart. And she sort of reminds me of another blonde who's, you know, running for president. We need women like Lydic to voice their opinions on a platform like television, especially while a woman is enduring haters on a global scale as she runs for president.
"Hillary really walks a tight rope brilliantly. She has to be firm, but not too firm 'cause people might think she's a b*tch. She has to defend herself in front of [Trump] but not in a harsh way. She has to be likable. She has to smile, but she can't smile too much because she might be seen as weak," Lydic says. "It's absurd when you consider the double standard. She's in an impossible situation and she's handling it beautifully with such grace and self-control and thoughtfulness."
Lydic believes that while all eyes are waiting to see if Clinton slips up, the "bar is set so low" for Trump.
"The fact that he has the level of support that he does in this country is surprising to me. I think he represents people's fears about immigration, people's secret racism, and their misogyny. He speaks to that part of some people who have felt a certain way for a long time and don't feel like they can say it because it's... well, wrong," she says.
While it's obvious which candidate Lydic is voting for, and while the The New York Times reports as of Monday that Clinton has an 84 percent chance of winning the presidency, Lydic is still on the edge of her seat.
"I'm just praying the right person wins and we'll be celebrating — and not hysterically crying and shaking in a corner," she jokes. "Also, I hope Hillary wins in a landslide. If it's too close it could be disastrous because then we have this whole conspiracy theory that things are rigged and she shouldn't have won."
For this reason (and for many reasons), Lydic stresses the need for American citizens to exercise their right to vote. "People have fought so hard, women in particular, for the right to vote, so it's important to do so," she says.
And yet Lydic admits that she would be lying if she wasn't "ready for the election to be over." Luckily, it almost is, and Lydic and her Daily Show colleagues will be offering an entire hour of election coverage on Tuesday evening to end the season. "We're buying a lot of booze to prepare for the night," she says.
The election might be coming to a screeching halt after Tuesday, but Lydic will continue to use her voice and platform to fight the good fight. "If it means other women are speaking out and having conversations with their friends and families, it's worth it," she says.
So even though online commenters might be targeting women — especially those with political opinions — Lydic won't let it bother her. She has bigger fish to fry, and this country has a female president to elect, dammit.
Images: Comedy Central (2); Alyssa Foote/Bustle (2); Giphy