What its Like to Be a Woman In Our Country

What its Like to Be a Woman In Our Country

From the Eyes of a Millennial
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I had always grown up with a mother who taught me to stand up for myself, chase after my dreams, and not let anyone determine my future for me. She raised me to be the bold woman I am today and I will always be proud of that. However, in today's day and age I struggle with feeling proud as a woman in current American society. You may roll your eyes at this statement and say "here we go another millennial feminist article about why us men suck". That my friend is where you are wrong.

I do not label myself as a feminist, I label myself as a woman. I am proud to hold that title. However, if I did identify as a feminist I'm not quite sure why that would be the worst thing. See a feminist is most simply defined as someone who believes in political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Now, why is this such an eye-rolling worthy definition? Is it not okay for me as a woman to have the same freedom to health care, wages, and political standing as men? It's not the 1920's anymore my friends.

Back then most women were depicted as lowly housewives whose main duties revolved around sending their children off to school, preparing lunch for their husband to bring to work, cleaning the house while everyone was gone, and anxiously preparing a meal for when everyone was due to return home. However, even with this biased view broadcasted all over America, there were women brave enough to stand up and speak about issues such as domestic abuse, rape, and infidelity within marriage.

Similarly, today hundreds of female activists continue to stand strong in the pursuit of gender equality and the attainment of basic rights as humans. It seemed that in the past years we may have been making small strides forward as women in the USA. But after this years election, it feels more like our progress has come to a screeching halt and even switched into reverse.

It is hard to feel appreciated and respected as a woman when you live in a country run by a man who was praised for a slogan "Grab her right in the p****" during his campaign. If that doesn't send a national message to the male population of our country then I don't know what does. In my personal opinion, this broadcasts to men of all ages that sexual harassment is okay. In fact, it seemed so okay that the slogan has been printed on merchandise and apparel for all to purchase. Isn't that great?

However, sexual harassment is hard for most men to understand considering most don't have to deal with people trying to hit on them in their workplace because they forgot a button on their shirt or men grabbing their ass without their consent because your "butt looks good today". They don't understand the pain that is a menstrual cycle, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, childbirth, or the daily struggles that women deal with. Granted men all over have their own struggles and there are in fact men who do experience sexual harassment, abuse, and rape just like us women. However, this population that is capable of understanding our struggles as females are not the ones who are governing our country, unfortunately. In fact, 71% of our elected officials are men.

A perfect example of the disparity of understanding between male and female struggles can be seen in the case of Cyntoia Brown. This case has been broadcasted all over social media recently for a very justifiable reason. It is unfathomable the time that this woman is serving based on the circumstances of the crime which was committed. Cyntoia Brown has already served 10 years of her life sentence which began at the age of 16. What could a 16-year-old girl be sentenced to life for you ask?

Cyntoia was born with fetal alcohol syndrome to an unfit mother and was raised in abusive home. She decided to run away from her adoptive family in hopes of a new life, but ended up being forced into prostitution. She later met a man named "Cut Throat" who began physically and sexually abusing her and trafficking her. She was "purchased" by a 43-year-old man and was taken back to his house. Cyntoia saw a gun in the man's room and became frightened. She kept denying the man sex. While frustrated, he apparently reached under the bed and that was when Cyntoia grabbed the gun and shot him as "self-defense". She ultimately was tried for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.

There is still hope that Brown may be up for parole when she is 69 years old. Her case has been spread nationally like wildfire through social media and has been featured on numerous celebrities pages. The national attention has brought many questions to the surface. A few being "How can a victim of sexual assault be punished for self-defense?", "A woman is serving life for defending herself against her trafficker, but men who have committed vicious rape and sexual abuse are out freely roaming our streets?"

All of these are valid questions lead us all to ponder the sincerity of our judicial system and its favor of a specific gender and lack of understanding of the other. Such inequality is illicitly executed in the case of Austin James Wilkerson's early release after being sentenced to a 2-year work release after committing sexual assault and rape against Kendra Heuer at the University of Colorado. Wilkerson was released on the basis of "good time" and the concern that his sentence will "ruin his life".

This is utterly disturbing for the rape victim and women around the country who will never be freed from living a full life because of the nightmare they had to experience. Wilkerson's victim made a resounding statement, "I am not afforded the same privilege of getting an early release from my lifelong sentence." A lifelong sentence of pain and reminding that is. Whose life is this case really ruining?

Cases like Cynthia Brown's and Austin Wilkerson makes it hard to feel appreciated as a woman because when it comes to real issues, life or death issues, you are not prioritized. Your health as a woman is not prioritized. Your rights as a woman are not prioritized. The tragedy you face is not prioritized, but downplayed so that your predator may be freed because his life is valued higher than yours.

We live in a country run by a president who has 19 different sexual harassment claims against him dating as far back as the 1980's that have been tucked under the rug. A president who is trying to make it your employer's choice whether you have the right to contraceptives or not. A decision which quite frankly doesn't involve anyone without a uterus or ovaries.

Let me let the lovely Sophia Bush break it down for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7d-6MK7CTg

It is hard to be a young woman in today's country because I am apprehensive to become a part of the workforce because I already know I have the odds against me. I fear for my health because I know it is not valued by my president. I fear for my future daughter because I cannot see what the future of our country will be and I can only pray that it will be better than what it is now.

I am thankful for the women like Sophia Bush, Malala Yousafzai, Meghan Markle, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, and the many more who use their advantageous positions to advocate for women.

Call this article dramatic, call this article biased, call this article outlandish, call it whatever you want. But I won't stop being proud to call myself a woman and speaking up for what I believe.

Cover Image Credit: https://newmatilda.com/2017/03/16/the-feminist-far-left-is-making-more-enemies-than-allies/

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If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.

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An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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