“I’m just curious,” one member of Pantsuit Nation, a closed Facebook Group of 1.7 million women posted on November 1. “What professions are you all in? I’ve loved reading everyone’s stories. (Stay at Home Parent counts!)”
Sixty-thousand comments later, the post continues to swell, updating second by second. (A second post was added for people who couldn’t find the first.) Three dancing dots constantly remind users, “Someone is typing a comment.”
The Wall of Professions demonstrates the simple power of a list, as anyone who’s stood in front of the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial in Washington, D.C. knows. The Pantsuit Nation inquiry unleashed a paean to female achievement:
Computer programmer, Library tech, Pilates instructor, Title insurance professional, Pharmacy technician, Senior energy researcher, Mom, Retired RN, Grandmother, University professor of mathematics, Department of health administrator, Epidemiologist, Aerospace and defense contractor, Lawyer for children in foster care, Naturalist guide in Alaska, IT program manager, Cancer researcher, Civil engineer, Radiologist, Nurse midwife, Front of house supervisor at a concert hall, Presbyterian minister, Wedding planner, TV ad sales executive, Superior court clerk, Equine veterinarian, Marine habitat restoration specialist.
Amidst all the professions, there is the drumbeat of “mom,” sometimes alone, sometimes appended to a job title such as “nuclear engineer & mom.”
Enthusiastic posting of occupations is perhaps not surprising from a group named after female professional attire. The group itself closed to new members due to the crush of women eager to join.
Most posts bubble with dancing dots indicating live typing. Women from millennials to grandmothers seem as if they might break Facebook itself. The page hangs and stalls mid-scroll. It takes 97 moderators keep up with it all.
A majority simply want support from like-minded women. One typed, “My parents are voting for Trump” and received 5,000 likes and 2,000 comments within a day. A Texas women described how hard was for her to be a Hillary voter in a deep red state, and was answered with 900 likes and 300 comments within a few hours. Women have posted the H-arrow logo inscribed on everything imaginable, from garage doors, to knitted hats, to hay bales and are cheered on in the thousands. One member painted an oil picture of HRC.
Disturbing stories clog the feed, often with apologies to the site’s proscription to “stay positive.” A Kentucky women divulged that her 11-year-old daughter had been body-checked during the school’s mock election because she wore a Hillary T-shirt. Boomer women admit Hillary has triggered all their damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t experiences of a lifetime. Women divulge their sexual assault memories surfaced by Trump.
But the Wall of Professions has generated more activity, by ten times, than any other post at Pantsuit Nation.
Which begs the question, as one poster asked, “If Hillary wins Wednesday, will she appear and add ‘President of the United States’ to the list?”