I used to think the word “Feminist” was a dirty word. I associated it with angry, loud, man-haters who just wanted to find things to yell about. I am ashamed to say that, but it’s true. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to recognize that this perception of feminists is a symptom of the sexism that is still very much alive and well in our world.
In many ways I grew up in a very liberal, forward thinking bubble. It was not difficult to find strong females to admire and emulate. I went to an all-girls school where we were taught we could grow up to do and be anything we wanted. The “popular” girls were simultaneously intelligent, athletic, philanthropic, gorgeous, and probably going to an ivy league college post-graduation. If that wasn’t enough, I was raised by the strongest woman I know. She had a dream as a kid of being on Broadway and she made that dream become a reality tenfold (I believe it’s 11 Broadway shows at this point) and she did it all while raising a child.
I’m not sure whether my hesitance to accept myself as a feminist was a result of not feeling obviously marginalized or whether I was rebelling against the strong females in my life. I often wonder whether I would have felt more of a need to fight for equality had I grown up in a more glaringly patriarchal community. However, as I grow and observe and learn, I see just how prominent the inequality still is.
On the day following the election, a friend of mine came into work after having spent the day with his mother. She had been crying all day and in an attempt to help him understand how she felt she said: “America voted and with their vote they said that the least qualified man in the country was still better equipped to be the President than the most qualified woman in the country”. Of course, now we know that Hillary won the popular vote by 2.9 million people (more than any losing president in US History), but I think this truly speaks volumes about the inequality which is still alive in our country.
I will never be the kind of person who is offended by a man holding a door open for me or offering me his seat on the subway. I will never yell at my boyfriend for trying to pay the bill for dinner. Those acts of generosity and chivalry don’t upset me. I also don’t expect them. The goal is for us to be equals. I will just as gladly pay the bill and hold the door open for my male counterpart. I won’t look down upon another woman for deciding to take her husband’s last name but I might question whether there was a discussion about this decision. Again, can we make moves toward equality?
Nearly half of this country (46.1% of the population) voted for Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States. Donald Trump was heard on video very clearly saying the following things:
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look…I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
The excuse that people make for this behavior is that it’s “locker room talk”. Ok, fair. I wouldn’t want to be quoted on things I might say to my girlfriends when I think no one is listening. But I also don’t want this man anywhere near me and I certainly don’t want him representing my country and the women who reside in it. THIS is inequality. It’s blatant misogyny. It’s disgusting. Sexism, just like racism and homophobia, is still very present in the world today and if nothing else we need to continue to be vigilant.
And with that, I leave you with this photo of a time when I had very big (or dare I say ‘yuge’) aspirations for my future: