The Election Inspired 9 Women to fight back against misogyny in their lives

The Election Inspired These 9 Women to Fight Back Against Misogyny in Their Own Lives


Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

As gender issues have increasingly become central to this election — from Trump’s taped “locker-room talk” to the wave of sexual-harassment allegations that followed — it’s been easy to start feeling hopeless. The excitement of a woman approaching the White House is tempered by the vile misogyny of her opponent, who will eagerly gaslight, humiliate, and exploit women in order to stop her getting there.

But there’s something of a silver lining to the nastiness. Trump’s egregious behavior — in addition to laying bare GOP misogyny — is making it impossible to ignore the ongoing realities of sexism in this country. And many women are seizing this moment to make their voices heard. As the presidential campaign enters its final throes, I spoke to nine women about how this election has moved them to fight back against misogyny in their own lives, and how they plan to carry that mission forward beyond November 8.

Piper, 24, digital archivist

“Not only is this my first time voting for a Democrat, but up until a few months ago, I was a red-blooded, rural, Christian conservative from North Dakota. For the first time, hearing the sexism, hatred, and fear in Trump’s message opened my eyes to the insidious ways that I had been allowing sexism and the patriarchy to govern my life, but had always made excuses for it, justified it, and managed to ignore it because it was in less-offensive packaging. While his words are like barbed wire, the message is the same when coming out of the bills and legislation from more reasonable party members. Now I can’t look away. Thanks to Trump, I’m a newly awoken woman and am proselytizing everyone in my family, my hometown, my (former) church, everyone from my old life: It’s easy to denounce a dog who’s barking this loudly, but whether he’s howling or not barking at all, he (and the party at large) are the same dog.

Everyone else in my life, though, has really engaged in the conversation and, for the first time, we’re willing to discuss the ‘sacred’ GOP in a critical light. My formerly conservative boyfriend has come with me on this journey and now freely admits to being a feminist himself, though a few months ago, before this election cycle, I think through perpetuated misinformation, he would have considered it a dirty or shameful word.”

Lani, 45, professor

“My female colleagues and I have an informal network to help us navigate the sexual predators or rampant misogynists in our midst. We will warn each other about the bad behavior in various departments so we can navigate ourselves and our students away from those places. It seems like the typical strategy of the powerless, doesn’t it?

I recently I got an email from somebody in one of these known departments. The email had a job and asked me to send potential candidates their way. Instead of ignoring it or deleting it like I might normally do, I decided to write back. I let the sender know that their department was known for having an unchecked sexual predator in their midst. I let the sender know that under no circumstances would I advise a junior colleague to take a position in the department given the nonresponse of the administration to complaints that I know were lodged by some of my colleagues there.

I am quite clear that this shift in my response comes out of my frustration at how women are continually silenced and how this response, in turn, manages to protect toxic bad behavior. But I also know that we often feel powerless because our complaints are met with nonresponses by universities. I hope that withholding potential strong candidates can incentivize universities to do better. I think, like many women, I am fed up with our silence around chronic abusers. It was right after Sunday’s debate that I chose to respond in that way. The connection was quite clear.”

Ashley, 35, public-relations professional

“In my high-school years I was a pretty active member of the local riot-grrrl scene, but as I got older I sort of fell out of touch with my own feminism until this election. It’s brought me closer to the women in my life — my mom, my sister, and my friends of all forms of feminism — people of color, LGBT women, and my concerns lie in how we keep this going past November 8. Just because misogyny right now has a face and a name in Donald Trump, doesn’t mean it is done.

One of the ways I’m thinking about extending this beyond November is by becoming more engaged in political issues impacting women on a local and state level, especially looking at things like equal pay, health care, and parental leave. I’m also taking a more active role in my profession to mentor and support younger women to develop more confidence in sharing ideas and owning their seat at the table. I think the biggest change in behavior is looking at women’s issues beyond those that directly impact me. Being less selfish with my feminism and thinking about how political policy impacts women of all ages around the world. I feel closer to the women around me as we’ve shared our experiences with misogyny and learned a lot from some of their particular experiences as women of color and LGBT women. My mom and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on who we vote for, but as a nurse she’s felt a lot of sexism in the workplace, and that’s drawn us closer together.”

Maybe that this entire, convulsive moment of horribleness is also an opportunity to talk about it, as painful as it is.

Sonia, 30, writer

“After the [Access Hollywood] video came out, what I saw happening on Twitter was the cycle of making jokes about this phrase. But I was like: I actually think that’s very much a real thing, and not everyone realized that. And women who had experienced that maybe felt like they were floundering, because it’s really confusing when something that has happened to you, that made you feel like a victim and was traumatizing, hits the news cycle, because then you are facing it regularly. And then, when it becomes something that is funny, it minimizes what it really is.

So I posted this thing on my Twitter that was like: I’m sure that a lot of women are remembering the time this happened to them, and if this has happened to you, share it. It seemed important to share what that story was. So I started doing that, and I was surprised at how many responses I got. It was pretty crazy how many women responded from all kinds of ages, like, I was walking on the street, or in a boardroom, or in a concert. It was really intense — responses kept coming in. So many women were saying: This is this thing that sounds like a joke, and this is the reality that we live in. And I wasn’t quite prepared for the reality that we live in, that so many women could say something that was so upsetting. It was both me trying to make a point and me realizing a point. It was pretty emotional hearing all of this. It sort of has felt like this is the only thing I can do.

What’s cool is I’ve seen women with much bigger follower counts do the same thing. It sort of seems like there’s this massive catharsis happening where a lot of women who wouldn’t have felt comfortable to speak up even a couple of years ago are realizing that they don’t have to be afraid of what will happen, and maybe that this entire convulsive moment of horribleness is also an opportunity to talk about it, as painful as it is.”

Jen*, 26, freelance producer

“I think even in my adulthood, even until very recently, and kind of even now, I have this weird thing in my head of, Oh, sex is a compromise. Which it can be. But I think I have never really stood firm in my ability to say no to things. We have this idea that women have the right to say no, but I’ve always thought of that as, ‘I have the right to say no to a stranger.’ I never really thought about that as, ‘Oh, I have the right to say no to someone I like and care about, because I still have autonomy.’ And I think my view is kind of shifting about what I’m willing to take or not take.

I had some very interesting conversations when the Donald Trump stuff came out, partially because I tweeted a story about experiencing a sexual assault. Guys started tweeting at me saying, Oh my god, this is so terrible, I can’t believe women go through this, what can we do to help? And then I thought through the guys in my life who generally think of themselves as respectful towards women, and who I generally think of as respectful towards women, but when I got into bed with them it was like: No, you pushed me way too far, over and over again. I think one of the things we can do is help the ‘good guys’ to see their blind spots. So, I called some of those guys who had made me uncomfortable and actually had some amazing conversations. Because there are things like that that I remember so unbelievably vividly, because I was so uncomfortable at the time, that they hardly remember at all.

There was one situation that made me immensely uncomfortable. So I wanted to talk to the guy about it. I tried to talk to him about it that morning, but he wouldn’t hear it, and then when I eventually did bring it up, he kept shutting me down. And that night rang in my head over and over because it was so uncomfortable for me. So we hadn’t talked in a while and I emailed him, and I was just like, Hey, it’s been a while, but do you think we could have a conversation? And I don’t know if it’s because time went by or what, but we talked, and we had the conversation, and I tried to tell him in very calm terms, like, I’m not here to attack you, I just need you to know this is how I felt, and I just want you to be aware of it for the future. And he was amazingly responsive. Of course, one conversation doesn’t solve anything, but I’m kind of happy that he kind of gets it.”

Emily, 28, journalist

“In general, I’ve noticed that I’ve really been relishing the moments when I’m surrounded exclusively by women. I’ve also realized how lucky I am to have those moments automatically as a part of my day since I work on an all-female team in the fashion industry. I feel like that’s a luxury and a built-in support group not many women get to experience in their lives.

This past Friday, I was egged by a man while having a conversation with friends in a courtyard about creating safe spaces for women … After our initial shock, the experience weirdly bonded us together and allowed us to have a deeper conversation and open up about previous experiences of violence or alienation we’ve had in our lives.”

Colleen, PhD student and researcher

“While a graduate student at Duke, I was sexually assaulted. Due to a combination of denial, exhaustion, and fear of professional judgment, I didn’t follow up on my police report. I later found out that this man had sexually assaulted other graduate students in the area and had a history of sexual solicitation and abuse of children. Knowing this, I decided I could no longer stay silent, and I agreed to provide testimony in child-custody and physical-assault charges against him at the time. He then threatened me and told me that his partner was a prominent staff member at Duke, and that they had accessed my records, that they knew things about me, and that they would make me be silent.

This election cycle has shown me that no matter how high-achieving, every woman is susceptible to sexual harassment and violence. This has inspired me to share my own stories of assault and harassment more broadly, because it is important that more women and men know that sexual assault doesn’t happen to just one type of woman and that victims shouldn’t be embarrassed because of what they have been through. [Becoming involved in grad-student unionization efforts on campus] is for me an effort to ensure that there are external bodies which monitor and prevent what happened to me from ever happening to another women or child, and in so doing, return the university to its place as a source of light, knowledge, and right in society.”

Ainsley, 28, software designer

“Watching the unbelievable double standards of this election, I’ve been motivated to redraw the division of domestic labor in my own relationship and talk my female friends through the same.

I feel like there has been a noticeable shift in the women that I talk to everyday in my life. What I noticed happening is, overall, there has been general lower tolerance for this kind of stuff, whether it’s situations in the workplace, or out in public on the street, or the sort of normalized things that play out in our hetero relationships. I was having these conversations with some of my women friends in a Slack group, sharing complaints, those of us who live with our boyfriends, about how much we do, and how it’s so difficult to get them to meet us halfway. I realized I had to lay out all the things that I did without asking or that were going unnoticed. There were so many things I took on by default.

Watching the election play out and seeing how much work women have to do to be considered the equal of men made me angry, and I started reading more about feminism and realizing that the progress that we’ve made hasn’t gotten us out of traditionally female responsibilities. So, like when women went back to work, it didn’t mean we weren’t still expected to keep our places looking clean. These dynamics are still playing out.”

Vinca, 26, grad student

“I’m planning to volunteer on Election Day. I have volunteered before, in 2008, working on the Obama campaign a little bit. I phone banked and handed out ballots. But Trump is so scary. And as a woman, I don’t know if I would feel safe in a country run by him, and I don’t know if my friends, who are other things that are not white men, would feel safe in a country run by him. I live in Toronto, and I’m only [back home in Chicago] for six days, and I was not planning on using one of them volunteering — but yeah. He’s just so scary.”

*Name has been changed.




Women finding miscogyny continues to be an ugly truth in America.

Women finding misogyny continues to be an ugly truth in America.


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Those of us of a certain age are familiar with what these women are describing. Misogyny has been just as real in American History as Slavery is. It is part of the reason I became a feminist. We need to be a country of equality:  equality between races, religions, genders, and economic status. That is what the Founding Fathers were trying for in our beautiful and elegant Constitution. A real American should never think of another American as less than they are. We are all the same. We all require food, water, sleep. We all have feelings and need to be loved.


Man, woman; black, brown, white, yellow; Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Buddist, or Atheist; Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian;  we are all the same.


It’s about time we started treating each other that way.

13 women

Here Are 13 of the World’s Most Influential Women You Don’t Know Yet





You already know about the Power Women: the celebrities and moguls, the world leaders and dignitaries, the stars who can dominate a news cycle with a single tweet. Lots of these women—like Nicki Minaj, Caitlyn Jenner,Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel—are on this year’s TIME 100. But influence and fame are not the same thing, and this year’s list also includes women whose impact far exceeds their fame. You may not know who they are (yet). Here’s why you should.

  • Jaha Dukureh

    jaha dukureh
    Neilson Barnard—Getty Images
    The Gambian activist is a leader in the fight to end female genital mutilation, a practice that affects more than 200 million girls worldwide. Dukureh herself was cut in Gambia when she was just about a week old. At 15, she was sent to the United States to marry a much older and unknown man. When she got married, she learned that she had been subjected to the most extreme form of genital mutilation: her clitoris and labia had been removed, and her vagina had been stitched shut with only a small hole for urination and menstruation. Now remarried and the mother of three, she’s leading a movement to end female genital mutilation worldwide, and raising awareness about the the practice in the United States: after petition got more than 220,000 signers, the Obama administration announced it would commission a report to study the problem.


  • Jaha Dukureh

    jaha dukureh
    Neilson Barnard—Getty Images
    The Gambian activist is a leader in the fight to end female genital mutilation, a practice that affects more than 200 million girls worldwide. Dukureh herself was cut in Gambia when she was just about a week old. At 15, she was sent to the United States to marry a much older and unknown man. When she got married, she learned that she had been subjected to the most extreme form of genital mutilation: her clitoris and labia had been removed, and her vagina had been stitched shut with only a small hole for urination and menstruation. Now remarried and the mother of three, she’s leading a movement to end female genital mutilation worldwide, and raising awareness about the the practice in the United States: after petition got more than 220,000 signers, the Obama administration announced it would commission a report to study the problem.
  • Dr. Laura Esserman and Dr. Shelley Hwang

    Dr. Shelley Hwang and Dr. Laura Esserman
    Jim Wilson—The New York Times/Redux; Evan Kafka for TIME
    These oncologists are pioneering an approach to breast cancer that is more personalized and far less invasive than the current standard treatment options. They’re on the front lines of a medical movement that now questions whether difficult repeated surgeries and radiation for early-stage breast cancer, known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), should be the standard of care or whether active surveillance and certain drugs may be sufficient to contain these pre-tumors in some women. Since 20-25% of breast cancers diagnosed through screening are DCIS, Dr. Esserman and Dr. Hwang’s research could affect how breast cancer is treated for thousands of women, and could help prevent needless mastectomies.
    • Christiana Figueres

      Christiana Figueres
      Frederic Stucin
      The Costa Rican diplomat was appointed the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010. She’s orchestrated successful international climate conferences, including the landmark Paris meeting in 2015. The Paris Agreement, which requires nearly 200 countriesto commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and invest in addressing climate change, has been widely hailed as the most ambitious climate agreement in history.

      Guo Pei

      guo pei
      Miguel Medina—AFP/Getty Images
      One of China’s most daring and prolific fashion designers is taking the international fashion scene by storm. Known for fantastical designs inspired by the Chinese Imperial Court, Pei designed Rihanna’s famous fur-lined yellow gown with the enormous train from the 2015 Met Gala. Despite her massive following in China, Pei had not shown her work in a major fashion show until January, when she debuted at Paris Fashion Week.

      Mona Hanna-Attisha

      Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
      Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images
      The Flint pediatrician was one of the first to connect the dots between the elevated lead levels in Flint water and health problems in children. As the complaints of Flint parents fell on deaf ears, Dr. Hanna-Attisha was one of the main whistleblowers alerting the public to the Flint water crisis, which is thought to have affected more than 8,000 children under the age of 6. Thanks to her research and activism, officials are now facing criminal charges for allowing Flint children to drink contaminated water.

      Hope Jahren

      hope jahren
      Matt Ching
      The University of Hawaii geochemist and geobiologist is known for her research using stable isotope analysis to analyze fossil forests. She made waves this year with Lab Girl, a bestselling memoir about botany and her life as a scientist, that doubled as a call to action to protect the Earth’s plant life. She’s also beenoutspoken about gender dynamics and sexual harassment in the academic sciences.

      Yayoi Kusama

      Yayoy Kusam
      Alex Majoli—Magnum for TIME
      The 87-year old Japanese artist (who was a contemporary of Andy Warhol’s) is known for her abstract expressionist work that often includes polka dots, patterns, and nets. She works in painting, sculpture, drawing, film and installation, and she’s considered one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists. Her installation Infinity Mirrored Room opened the Broad Museum in Los Angeles last fall and drew praise from Adele among many others.

      Sunita Narain

      Sunita Narain
      Courtesy of Centre for Science and Environment
      The director of the Center for Science and Environment has long been one of India’s most prominent environmentalists. She’s led campaigns against Coke and Pepsi for including high levels of pesticides in their sodas (an allegation which both companies vehemently deny). She has campaigned for decades to reduce air pollution in New Delhi. She brings social awareness to her environmentalism, recognizing poor and marginalized populations as crucial for environmental progress.

      Diana Natalicio

      Diana Natalicio
      Joel Salcido
      As President of the University of Texas at El Paso since 1988, Natalicio is thelongest-serving president of a public research University. In the nearly three decades since she took the job, UTEP has transformed from a small commuter school to a major public research university, with a student body that is more than80% Mexican-American (with another 5% who commute directly from Mexico.) She’s a major thought leader in the best ways to help low-income, first-generation students succeed in college.

      General Lori Robinson

      Gen. Lori Robinson
      U.S. Air Force—The New York Times/Redux
      She’s currently the Commander of the Pacific Air Forces, but General Lori Robinson just got a big promotion. In March, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that President Obama will nominate General Robinson to be the next head of the Northern Command, putting her in charge of all military activity in North America. If confirmed by the Senate, she will become the first woman to lead a U.S. combatant command, one of the most senior roles in the U.S. Military.

      Kathy Niakan

      Kathy Niakan
      Courtesy of The Francis Crick Institute

      This developmental biologist is the first ever to receive regulatory approval to use a powerful new gene-editing technology on human embryos. In February, the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority approved Dr. Niakan’s application to use CRISPR–Cas9 to permanently change the genome of human embryos. Her research will lead to a better understanding of which genes are crucial to embryo development, and could help develop new treatments for infertility. Her study is likely the first in what will be a series of experiments in which we make ever more impactful changes to the genome, not only to improve our understanding of disease, but to cure them as well.

      Ibtihaj Muhammad

      ibtihaj muhammed
      Daniel Shea for TIME
      As the first Muslim woman who observes hijab to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Fencing team, Ibtihaj Muhammad is already a pioneer. But she’s also taking political risks, by speaking out against anti-Muslim rhetoric. Her upcoming appearance at the Olympics, wearing hijab, is being hailed as a moment of pride for American Muslims.
  • U.S. Military Accused of Punishing Sexual Assault Victims in New Human Rights Report

    First women couldn’t be in the military because it was too “tempting” to have women on military bases.  Next, we could have women in the military, but they could only do non-combat duty.  Now, women in the military can be in combat.

    As a pacifist, I don’t want any of this; I’ve always been a pacifist and I’m sure I will die a pacifist.  As a feminist, however, I support a woman’s right to choose what do with her life, and that includes military service.

    What disturbs me about women in the military isn’t that they want to go and serve their country, or that they want to be able to fight for their country; it is the fact that sex, once again, is being used as an excuse for harassment, molestation and rape.

    For thousands of years, males — i.e. Adam and all non-feminist men after — have used the excuse “she made me do it”.  There is not a legitimate reason, ever, to sexual molest, rape, attack or violate a woman.  In actuality, these things have to do with power and control, not with sex.

    The military is the American bastion of male power and control.  The good old boys are going to have to suck it up and get a grip on themselves; they need to realize that the only thing they have legitimate power and control over is themselves, and begin to act accordingly.

     US Military Accused of Punishing Sexual Assault Victims in New Human Rights Watch Report

    Displaced by Violence, Columbian Women build their own City

    Traditionally women have been seen as and forced to be second class citizens. All throughout written history, they have been expected to obey their husbands, accept any and all violence. They have been supposed to tolerate adultery. They have been made to feed their families with little or no help from their man. Marriage was a business arrangement to solidify relations between countries, as a mediation between warring clans or families. Marriage also used to require a bride price. Marry my daughter and I will give you 10 horses, 12 goats, and 6 bracelets of silver. We like to think times have changed but women continue to cook, clean, have babies and never speak about anything important.

    Violence is happening around the world to men, women and children, but the women and children carry the brunt of the scars of the violence. Women may not look strong, but millions are strong. This is the story of such women and what they chose to do when violence drove them from their villages.

    To the bravery and strength of every woman who surmounts her poverty, illiteracy, and homelessness and carves out for herself and her children a better life: I say you are heroines. Be proud of yourselves and children be proud of your Moms. Their strength keeps you all alive. Their bravery has shown the people of Colombia that women and children do matter. It shows that violence does not always win.

    Displaced by violence, Colombian women build their own city



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    Anti-Abortion laws don’t decrease abortions

    How women respond to these closings, however, is another story.

    We do not have large enough surveys to discern behavior in different states or to track how it has changed over time — and in any case, people may not feel comfortable sharing the truth in a survey.

    Google searches can help us understand what’s really going on. They show a hidden demand for self-induced abortion reminiscent of the era before Roe v. Wade.

    This demand is concentrated in areas where it is most difficult to get an abortion, and it has closely tracked the recent state-level crackdowns on abortion.

    In 2015, in the United States, there were about 119,000 searches for the exact phrase “how to have a miscarriage.” There were also searches for other variants — “how to self-abort” — and for particular methods. Over all, there were more than 700,000 Google searches looking into self-induced abortions in 2015.

    For comparison, there were some 3.4 million searches for abortion clinics and, according to estimates by the Guttmacher Institute, there are around one million legal abortions a year.

    The 700,000 searches included about 160,000 asking how to get abortion pills through unofficial channels — searches like “buy abortion pills online” and “free abortion pills.”

    There were tens of thousands of searches looking into abortion by herbs like parsley or by vitamin C. There were some 4,000 searches looking for directions on coat hanger abortions, including about 1,300 for the exact phrase “how to do a coat hanger abortion.” There were also a few hundred looking into abortion through bleaching one’s uterus and punching one’s stomach.


    Search rates for self-induced abortion were fairly steady from 2004 through 2007. They began to rise in late 2008, coinciding with the financial crisis and the recession that followed. They took a big leap in 2011, jumping 40 percent. The Guttmacher Institute singles out 2011 as the beginning of the country’s recent crackdown on abortion; 92 provisions that restrict access to abortion were enacted. There was not a comparable increase in searches for self-induced abortions in Canada, which has not cracked down.

    Of course, we cannot know from Google searches how many women successfully give themselves abortions, but evidence suggests that a significant number may. One way to test this is to compare abortion and birth data.

    In 2011, the last year with complete state-level abortion data, women living in states with few abortion clinics had many fewer legal abortions.

    Compare the 10 states with the most abortion clinics per capita (a list that includes New York and California) to the 10 states with the fewest abortion clinics per capita (a list that includes Mississippi and Oklahoma).

    The number of new state laws that restrict abortion spiked in 2011. Women living in states with the fewest abortion clinics had 54 percent fewer legal abortions — a difference of 11 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.

    Women living in states with the fewest abortion clinics also had more live births. However, the difference was not enough to make up for the lower number of abortions. There were six more live births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age.

    In other words, there appear to have been some missing pregnancies in parts of the country where it was hardest to get an abortion. Self-induced abortions could be playing a role, although more research must be done on rates of pregnancy and unintentional miscarriage in different regions.

    One recent survey in Texas also reported a surprisingly high number of attempted self-induced abortions. It found that 4.1 percent of Texas women were sure or suspected that their best friend had tried a self-induced abortion. The researchers asked about best friends because women may not feel comfortable admitting their own attempts. In fact, so much secrecy surrounds abortion today that it is likely that many women would not know that their closest friends had tried a self-induced abortion.

    According to another survey, which was published in Sociological Science, 34 percent of Americans who have been involved in an abortion — either they had one or they were the potential father — disclosed this to no one else. Among those who did tell others, they told an average of 1.2 people. We can expect that people would be even less likely to inform friends and family members about self-induced abortions.

    No one has the right to tell any woman what to do with her body. This is pure misogyny. Some women just don’t want to have children. They know whether or not they are ready to have children or not. If we ever get a 100% successful birth control, we will have less abortions. Abortions have been performed since the beginning of time in all civilizations and cultures. Women have always fought to control their bodies and their reproductive experiences. We can’t go back to the self abortion because we will have a spike in the number of women who die from the complications of the procedure. They people will scream again because women are dying. We are in a crazy circle of cause and effect. This decision is a woman’s decision, not a societal decision.

    Stop the War on Women



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    Just What is a Feminist?

    I chose my subject this evening because I read a social media comment which described a feminist as a woman somewhere between an angry alien and a rabid wild animal. Now, I did not respond to the individual because I continue to work for peace and compassion in the world and in my personal world.


    In case you are not aware, I am proud to be a feminist. A feminist is a woman. Just like any other woman. There are some differences. Feminists are men and women who believe females are people just like any man is a person.


    Feminists  also believe in equality. They believe that both sexes are born equal. Not every man can drive a race car at 100 mph, and not every woman can turn out a perfect Beef Wellington. Feminists do look at the world and see what is wrong and unjust. Some people look and turn away because what they see is horrific. For all of the wonderful people in this world of ours, there are many who are evil.


    A feminist looks at what is wrong in the world and sees it and then begins to look at how it can be changed. Whether a feminist man or woman, they will not turn away from the ugliness but will work, speak out, write, protest to change the wrong.


    We, as women, have the vote because of women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and hundreds of Suffragettes (feminists) worked to make Congress to give us the vote. They even went to the dire length of handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They were arrested, and once in jail they went on a hunger strike and the media told the world and we got the vote. This is of course, a simplified version of the tale.




    I became a feminist in the seventies. Abuse was the issue that ignited my heart and passion. I do not believe that one person has the right to hit another. Women and children have the right to live without violence and fear. If a woman is the abuser, she needs to face the same consequences as any man who batters.


    Women have the right to make their own decisions. To marry or not to. To pick her friends. Men have control over their bodies and the government would never think to tell them what to do with them. Even the man who hires the prostitute is usually protected from prosecution, while the woman is charged and will be in jail at least overnight. The government has repeatedly tried to control women’s bodies and how we choose to use them.


    A feminist is a person who feels that women should receive equal pay for equal work. We have never had this in the USA. My sister found out she was making less than the men in her department. She was, justifiably, upset.  She was doing more work than literally anyone in the company (when she left, her duties had to be spread over 5 people), yet she still made less than men with less education. Was that right? No.


    Some feminists are wonderful wives and mothers, both stay-at-home mothers and working mothers. It is what they choose to be and that is great. I, myself, have nine grandchildren. I have also marched for Hard Hatted Women. Women who wanted the right to work in construction. It is their right to choose how to support themselves and /or their families.


    So, like black lives matter, so do women’s lives. And for those who disagree, perhaps a long look in a mirror would be a good thing to try. Hugs, Barbara




    Women                                                                               Ok they

    should be                                                                             should be

    pedestals                                                                                little horses

    moving                                                                                     those wooden

    pedestals                                                                                 sweet

    moving                                                                                 oldfashioned

    to the                                                                                      painted

    motions                                                                                 rocking

    of men                                                                                   horses

    the gladdest things in the toyroom

    The                                                                                 feelingly

    pegs                                                                              and then

    of their                                                                          unfeelingly

    ears                                                                                To be

    so familiar                                                                     joyfully

    and  dear                                                                     ridden

    to the trusting                                                            rockingly

    fists                                                                            ridden until

    To be chafed                                                                the restored

    egos dismount and the legs stride away

    Immobile                                                                     willing

    sweetlipped                                                                  to be set

    sturdy                                                                             into motion

    and smiling                                                                   Women

    women                                                                            should be

    should always                                                                  pedestals

    be waiting                                                                          to men


    This poem was written by May Swenson. She has written prose and poetry. In 1970 Ms. Swenson was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won many other awards for her moving and praiseworthy work.

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