by Erin BagwellFounder of Feminist Wednesday Director of Dream, Girl
About a month ago, I received my official Hillary Rodham Clinton #ImWithHer t-shirt in the mail. When I broke open the packaging my heart started to race. An unexpectant excitement swelled over my body. Holding that t-shirt in my hands felt like I was holding a piece of history. This wasn’t just a political t-shirt – this was an heirloom – something I would proudly pass on to my grandchildren one day. I felt overcome with emotion at the outrageously ambitious possibility of the first female President. I clutched this piece of herstory in my hands and clung to it like a secret shared between Hillary and I.
Over the past few months I have seen my feminist friends one by one out themselves as Hillary supporters. This has been such a strange election. To witness someone so fierce, qualified, and deserving of the job be so hated by the press and the public has been strange. I have seen her supporters often stay silent, speaking quietly about her campaign. I too have felt a sort of public shame and internal guilt over my love for Hillary. I wonder if some of us fell silent because we knew what was at stake for this election and were equally exhausted by the subconscious bias she constantly faces as a woman. Or maybe we were just waiting for our moment. And my god, last night did we get it. Seeing Hillary take center stage and accept the nomination for president last night at the DNC in Philadelphia was nothing short of fucking historical. I sat in my powder blue #imwithher shirt and cried as she walked on the stage and looked out into the crowd. I just kept thinking... “thank you.” Thank you for taking on this burden, thank you for paving the way, thank you for making us one step closer to the most powerful position in the world. The patience, the endurance, the fight Hillary has is immeasurable, and watching her own her power and accept the presidential nomination last night was a truly glowing moment. I kept texting my mother frantically “WE DID IT!!!!” It felt like a win for all of us, for mothers, for daughters, for women, for the United States of America. I went to sleep feeling high and when I woke up this morning I was glued to my phone, scrolling through tweets and articles of what last night meant to all of us. I’m getting emotional now just being in this moment, in letting the power of what last night meant sink in. For the last two years I have spent a lot of time dissecting and understanding the importance of female role models. My own journey into documenting the lives of female entrepreneurs started when I met another young woman CEO who looked like me. I am a living, breathing example of what can happen when we shake up the norm of what is expected in society and allow those outside it to own that space. The entire manta of Dream, Girl is based on being able to identify with and see yourself in leadership positions – positions that are usually reserved for men. But once you see Joanne, Clara, Mariama, Annie and Komal do it – not only do it, but run successful businesses – the wheels begin to turn about what you are capable of. The floodgates of Hillary accepting the nomination released a sea of awe and anticipation across the world. I can only imagine all the young women that will run for office next year – who will see themselves in her journey, who will benefit from her endurance, and who will add their mark to the history books because of her. If a blonde girl from Illinois can do it, so can you.
Erin Bagwell is the founder of Feminist Wednesday and the director of Dream, Girl- a documentary film showcasing the stories of inspiring and ambitious female entrepreneurs. Dream, Girl is out now and screening in communities, living rooms, companies, and schools globally. To bring Dream, Girl to your community visit dreamgirlfilm.com/host