Editor’s note: When we received the letter below, we were reminded of one of our core missions here at The Indy: to help amplify the voices of people who often go unheard. Kids have no right to vote on who occupies the White House, yet are most affected both by the example set by the president and the policies he promotes. Addie Bean, an 11-year-old in Denver, put pen to paper on inauguration night and finished after marching on Saturday. Her letter inspired our new project, which we’re calling “Dear Mr. President.” From time to time, we’ll be publishing kids’ letters to Donald Trump. We invite letters from writers 18 or younger. Please tell us your name, age, city and anything else we should know about you, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Dear Mr. President” in the subject line. And please keep submissions under 500 words. “Dear Mr. President” is to be a platform for kids and young people to express a range of views. The opinions expressed are those of the letter writers and not The Colorado Independent.
Dear Donald Trump,
There is a glass wall that divides men and women. It can be seen through wages, the government, and everyday scenarios. It is strong and everlasting and very part of everyday life. It is ridiculous.
Donald Trump, women in your eyes are defined in terms of childbirth, appearance, weight, and most importantly, their husbands. A woman without a man is like a solar system without a sun. Nothing to hold her together, nothing to steady her, and nothing to rotate around.
To you, Donald Trump, women are like flat objects, toys, dolls, too emotional and too indecisive, incapable of being anything other than a woman. A woman is a gas station, used to fill a tank and then left empty. Something to walk on and touch and mold. A woman is weak and fat and never good enough.
“Why do you starve yourself?” “Because you said I was fat.”
“Why do you cut yourself?” “Because you said I wasn’t worthy.”
“Why are you acting like someone you’re not?” “Because you said you can’t stand the person I am.”
These are the things men say to us, and these are the things you say to us, and these are the reasons we are broken.
You step up and say it’s okay to rape a women, and it’s okay to treat them like slaves, and all the cruel, vain, hurtful things you say to them are okay because there’s nothing they will do about it. People look up and listen to you, Donald Trump. We listen to the things men tell us because we want to be good enough. But it’s beyond that. It’s beyond the numbers on scales and the dye burning hair and the words we can’t say. It’s because little girls are taught to wear pink and play with dolls and play family, and husband and wife. It’s because you’ve taught us we can only be happy as trophy wives with a man by our sides.
But can’t you see? Happiness is beyond picture perfect fantasies and lies and kisses and slaps and whispers. It’s beyond picket fences and mowed lawns and clean houses. Happiness is something that we find within ourselves and something we carry inside, not something we go looking for, but something we unleash.
Women unleash fires that burn so bright they ignite whole cities. Women are so full they overflow, so strong they burst, so loud they crack skies. Women are a force of grit, and fire and light. And so much more.
We will not back down.
So, Donald Trump, when you are sexist, and racist and immature and childish, remember this: We are strong. We can endure and retaliate and triumph. We can make a difference. We are uniting and backlashing and screaming.
Good luck trying to stamp out my fire. And, most importantly, good luck trying to stop the change that’s coming. Because no matter how many fits and tantrums you throw and no matter how much money you spend, you are not going to stop us from shattering the world, and the walls you build in it. Your attempts are only like oil to my fire, allowing it to spread and take form and burn.
Addie Bean, 11, Denver