Recently, I embarked on the flight experience from hell. It was just before Christmas, and Frontier was so incompetent with the influx of holiday travelers that my flight was delayed 10 times in 10 hours, and I witnessed a lot of the worst parts of humanity. I always say that Wisconsinites are either absolute angels or demons incarnate, but one girl was especially losing it while we were all stuck in the gate. She must have been in her senior year of high school or freshman year of college, because she was acting entitled, as if she was above being treated like every other person in the gate. At one point, she went to the gate attendant's desk and started FLIPPING out. She started slamming the desk with the palm of her hand, screaming at the gate attendant, cutting the poor girl off when she tried to explain what was going on, and eventually barged off giving the entire gate the finger.
That’s how these social media rants and rallies all over the United States seem to me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the idea of Donald Trump being our President. I also think it’s important as women to stand up for ourselves, because the status quo right now isn’t okay. I should be able to go to the King Soopers down the street by myself without having a middle aged guy cut me off and hit on me as I try to get a grocery cart. That’s not okay. HOWEVER, what I’m seeing in response to Trump’s presidency isn’t going to make any positive changes either. The fact that you have the ability to scream at top levels doesn’t mean you should be a literal banshee all the time. Flipping out on social media, going to some rally for a few hours, and cussing out anyone who disagrees with you is probably going to make it worse for everyone involved.
Yes, being in a gross, germy airport from 3:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. when you should have taken off at 5:00 p.m. really sucks. Yes, having a president in power who has proved himself to be lacking tact and misogynistic and just nasty in general really sucks. But, screaming about it isn’t going to make anything better. The girl who flipped out at the gate attendant didn’t change her situation at all -- she acted like she had made this huge stride for us poor, oppressed customers, when she did nothing at all… she still had to wait just as long as everyone else, and, in fact, she probably made the situation worse.
Donald Trump is not the cause of all these injustices and unfairnesses in the world -- he is the effect of years and years of socially acceptable misogynistic practices and the fact that we have chosen to listen to those who scream loudest rather than listening to those who speak best. We are not in an ideal situation, and I don’t deny that, but we can either scream about it and flip everyone off, or we can kind of hunker down and get through it, waiting for the opportunity to make a change in the future. I may have still had to weather through that awful Frontier experience, but I will never be flying with them again.
If we as women -- or as humans in general -- really want to stand up for ourselves, we need to go out of our way, and be inconvenienced in our standing. In the Civil Rights Movement, those marches were a good show of solidarity for the people who already agreed with equal rights for all races, but the marches themselves didn’t actually enact any significant changes in legislation. It took sit-ins at diners and bus strikes and getting thrown in jail and losing jobs, not just a long Facebook rant. It took heart-wrenching sacrifice, and racial tension isn’t even close to being in the past, even though the Civil Rights movement happened decades ago. If you want to enact change, you need to put yourself into the situation to be uncomfortable. We, as women especially, need to become lawyers and legislators and social leaders, despite the fact that we’re going to get heat for it. The root of the gender discrepancy that formed someone like Donald Trump is the social acceptance of the objectification of women. We need to attack the tree of hatred at the root, instead of ripping off the leaves once in a while and expecting the tree to die. The root of this tree of misogynistic hatred is clear: objectification, manifested through the somehow socially acceptable creation and viewing of pornography and the lucrative sex trafficking trade. These are issues that aren’t going to be as “likeable” on Instagram as a large parade in front of some capitol building, but they are the reason that someone like Donald Trump has gained any power at all.
Screaming gives those against equal rights for all people fuel for their fire. If you spout cuss words and freak out on Facebook, your adversaries can pass all women off as hysterical because that’s exactly how you’re acting. Not only will anyone refuse to take anything you’re saying seriously from that point forward, you have just made it impossible for anyone to take women in general seriously as well. If you truly want to ensure an election like this past one will never happen again, don’t speak in hatred. Rise above. Don’t put up with sexist jokes and the objectification of women in the media and in everyday life, don’t rant on Facebook with hatred and bitterness towards the way things are right now, and don’t be the girl who flipped everyone off on the way to Milwaukee.