Today I find myself in a deep, unshakeable, post-debate depression.
It's no longer comical and outrageous that Donald Trump, the notorious business mogul and reality TV star, is a presidential candidate. It's actually wildly terrifying.
Last night, I was at a total loss for words as I watched his lips recklessly spew his hateful rhetoric, in which he undermined the validity of American heroes; made sweeping, damaging generalizations about Latino Americans and immigrants; chalked up his potential loss to our political system being "rigged"; threatened not to accept a losing vote; dismissed people who have worked incredibly hard to keep our country safe and told endless, fear-based lies to the American people.
And a "nasty woman" like myself keeping her mouth shut is rare form.
But what cut the deepest to me, on the most personal level, throughout this whole election season is Trump's unabashed sexism and disrespect toward women. And I can't help but think about what it must be like for the women in Donald Trump's life, who, by pledging their allegiance to him, are blindly supporting a sexist, bigoted platform.
In a way, I find it hard to be angry with Donald Trump's two daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany. It's clear Trump's incessant, dangerous sexism has been completely normalized to the women close to him.
How can your perception of what it means to be a woman in this world not be tainted, when your first male role model — the man who is arguably one of the most influential people in a woman's life — happens to be a person who bases a woman's entire value on the way she looks?
I can't imagine how it must feel to be Ivanka and to hear your own father thinks it's OK for another man to publicly refer to you as a "piece of ass." The men in my life wouldn't stand for that, and if they did, my self-esteem and sense of worth would be jaded, too.
And Melania is in a classic emotionally abusive relationship. When you're with someone for so long, who cheats on you, harasses reporters and aggressively hits on married women, how can you even know the magnitude of your self-worth or the power of your own voice?
Trump is waging a war against women. And the saddest part is, by doing so, he's waging a war against his own two daughters and his wife.
By blindly supporting Donald Trump, the women in his life are supporting a war against themselves — against womenkind.
Here are nine specific examples of attacks against their own gender that the Trump women are blindly supporting:
1. They reduce a woman to a "piece of ass."
Not only did Donald Trump tell Howard Stern it was OK to call his own daughter a piece of ass, but he also told Esquire, “You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
2. They normalize sexual harassment.
Almost a dozen women have reported that Trump has forced himself on them, either by kissing them without consent, groping their bodies or even going as far as touching their genitals without consent.
He has been caught saying his star-power gives him the right to “grab 'em by the pussy" because, according to Donald Trump, "you can do anything" to a woman if you're famous enough.
Kissing a woman without her consent or groping another person's body is sexual harassment. Even saying lewd, uncomfortable words to women is indeed sexual harassment.
But Donald Trump says nah. It's just "locker room talk," didn't you know? It's normal for men to speak this way about women.
By supporting Donald Trump, his daughters and his wife are indirectly saying sexual harassment is such normal-boy behavior, it shouldn't stand in the way of you being the leader of the free world.
3. They normalize rape.
Donald Trump didn't blame the men in the military who raped women. He blamed the United States Armed Services for not separating men and women.
This is saying it's normal for men not to be able to control their impulses around women. This normalizes the impulse to rape, which is an insult to men everywhere.
4. They disregard a fellow woman's word.
When I was a kid, a babysitter of mine taught me a golden rule that I've never, ever forgotten — a rule I've learned is so universally followed among women.
It's the staple that binds "girl code" together, and I'm shocked any woman would dare break it: If a woman tells you she's been sexually assaulted, harassed or raped, you should always, always, always believe her.
I know from personal experience how frightening it is to speak up about being a victim of sexual assault, mainly because men who sexually assault women are terrifying people.
We aren't dealing with the good, rational men here; we're dealing with sexual predators who abuse their positions of power. Predators don't exactly create safe environments where women can fearlessly speak up.
Trump has dismissed every single woman's claim against him and doesn't show an ounce of remorse for the women he has triggered with his language.
By standing with him, as a woman, you're disregarding the word of another woman, who has the amazing courage to speak out against a frightening bully. By standing for Trump, you're standing against women.
You're saying that a woman's word is somehow less valid than a man who has a long history of demeaning and humiliating women, minorities, foreigners, immigrants, people of color, our government and prisoners of war.
5. They perpetuate the idea that women are not intelligent enough to make their own health care decisions.
During last night's debate, Donald Trump claimed he is "pro-life" and would be appointing "pro-life" judges.
So by supporting Donald Trump, the women in Trump's life are standing by the idea that the government has a rightful place in controlling women's health care decisions.
Standing by Donald Trump is dismissing an entire generation of women, who boldly fought for us to have our fundamental, human, health care rights.
They're saying if their fellow woman gets held down and raped, she should be forced to have that child. They're saying if a woman's life is in danger, to the point where she could lose her life giving birth, she should be forced to have that child. They're saying women who have made pivotal medical decisions with an educated medical team decided that abortion was the right choice for them should be "punished."
Overall, they're saying that a male reality TV star, with no medical education whatsoever, is suited to make a woman's medical decisions.
6. They ignore science.
Donald Trump's fear-based, but not fact-based, words last night completely disregarded medical science:
7. They perpetuate the idea that women who are deemed unattractive by the "Trump standard" don't get sexually harassed.
“Take a look. You look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so.”
By blindly standing by Trump, you're supporting the idea that only women whom Trump finds beautiful are victims of his sexual harassment and assault.
8. They believe a woman's entire value is based on the way she looks.
Donald Trump has called Rosie O'Donnell a slob because of her "fat, ugly face."
He's also said former Republican opponent Carly Fiorina shouldn't run because (he thinks) she's unattractive:
He undermines the accomplishments of women if they don't fit into his definition of beauty. Standing with Trump is supporting this damaging, cruel behavior that will have detrimental effects on the self-esteem of young women everywhere.
9. They believe a woman who speaks her mind is a "NASTY WOMAN."
Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" during the heated final presidential debate. Basically, a female politician who dares to question him is a nasty woman.
The women in Trump's life are blindly supporting the notion that "nasty women" are women who speak up.
So while Ivanka, Melania and Tiffany support their father and his "nasty woman" comments, in their own ironic way, they're supporting us outspoken, smart, proud, feminist, "nasty" women everywhere.