A week before the election, I emailed my co-workers. "Where are you watching the results?" I asked. "Because I don't want to be alone!" After all, at that point, this was an election that was all but guaranteed to lead to the first woman president. Hillary Clinton, flaws and all, was poised to become the 45th President of the United States, shattering a glass ceiling that, up to this point, had felt more like rubber for women who had dared to try to push their way through.
But, early Wednesday morning, we learned that the ceiling is still in tact, still bouncing women back no matter how hard they try. For so many women across the country, Hillary Clinton's loss felt sadly familiar. Her loss was a loss of women's voices — for many, it signified a message from our fellow Americans that a majority are not only not with her, but they're also not with you, women who have faced adversity, sexual assault, unequal pay, body shaming, and so much more on a daily basis. With Donald Trump's election to president, your calls to action felt ignored, and all the progress women have made in decades past felt in jeopardy. Your courage felt denied. Your pleas to be heard felt silenced.
I can assure you now, this is not the case.
Hours after the election of a man who admitted to groping women without their consent, I am reminded of the countless rape victims who bravely shared their stories with Bustle, helping other women realize they are not alone. Hours after the election of a vice president who advocated for conversion therapy, I am reminded of the countless LGBTQ voices who have celebrated strides in progress alongside us, helping other LGBTQ individuals realize they are not alone. And hours after this election of a man who delegitimized mental illness, I am reminded of the countless women who honestly chronicled their very real experiences of anxiety and depression, helping other women realize that, yes, they are not alone.
The internet can be a dangerous place for women, but, during my three years reading hundreds of contributions on Bustle, I've watched it become a place where women across the country can connect over one another's courage, drive, and compassion. Though in the next four years, our country might change, I am proud to say that Bustle will not. We will continue to listen, continue to encourage you to take up space, and continue to be a safe place for women writers and their allies to openly discuss their passions, their fears, and their victories with you, our readers. Our friends. Our family. Our feminists. So now, more than ever, even as you're feeling silenced, I can only encourage you to speak up louder. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings with the Bustle community on social, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here.
On election night, I faced the results surrounded by women who inspire me to keep reaching for that ceiling. I wasn't alone. And, as long as we're here, you won't be either.