What I've Learned About Being a Woman in America

What I've Learned About Being a Woman in America

The fight is far from over.
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I have a responsibility to finish this fight. This is not the first time that sexism has won in the United States of America, and I am doubtful that it will be the last. We still have ways to go. This was, however, the first time that I had a political say in this matter, considering my 18th birthday in September.

So naturally, after my chosen candidate was not triumphant, I felt a myriad of emotions: anger, disappointment, sadness, confusion.

Despite the popular opinion that social media and political views are not meant to mix, nor do they do it well, I actually felt comfort on the internet these past couple of days. I learned that I am not alone in my feelings, and that there is a plethora of people with whom I can stand beside in moments of despair.

Unfortunately, I have also witnessed a lot of hatefulness, with which I do not comply. It is nothing but an incorrect response. We are reacting to the triumph of a candidate who campaigned on hate, and we are afraid that those ideals expressed on the campaign trail will truly persist in the presidency beginning in January 2017.

But as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Take your time to grieve this loss—it is validated, and I stand with those who are fearful of the future. But then, let us stand up straighter, pull our shoulders back farther, lift our chins higher towards the fact that the fight is not over. In fact, it may have just begun.

If you are upset with the election results, TAKE ACTION! Do not stand stagnant; lobby, protest, petition for our rights that were not promised on the campaign trail. A woman’s right to choose, an LGBTQ+ person’s right to love outwardly and openly. For equality! Racial equality, especially—to all those facing discrimination for the color of their skin, I cannot understand what you endure but I see you and stand with you. Your life matters.

And for the love of God, GENDER EQUALITY!

Hillary Clinton, a woman who has spent her life viewed as lesser in her area of expertise because of her sex, has lost to a wildly under-qualified man with no experience in her field.

It is demoralizing to know how a woman had to work twice as hard as a man to even be taken seriously and still not come out on top in the end.

And so, she is not our first woman president. And, since we cannot change what happened on Tuesday night, that is okay—we will keep moving forward, using this as an incentive to keep fighting for what we believe in. Fighting for what’s right will always be worth it, as Hillary said herself!

We will shatter the glass ceiling! You are OUT THERE, first woman prez!! I will, and cannot wait to, see you rise to become a beacon of hope in my lifetime, I am sure of it.

The time for hate and discrimination is over, if I can help it. The fight for women, however, is far from it. Let’s stick together to stand up against the promotion of sexual misconduct and disrespect of women in our society. Let’s stand up for our voices and for our bodies, stand up against the notion that we are lesser than men until equality is truly achieved.

Let’s do this. Get to work.

Cover Image Credit: Emaze

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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How Starting Your Journey Is Half Of The Battle

"You can start your journey any day at anytime."

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Not that long ago, I wrote an article about a little phrase I heard on my friend's snapchat story. It got a tone of views and a lot of great feedback. And just in time for the beginning of the new school semester, he said something else that just kind of stuck with me.

He said that you can start your journey any day, at any time.

Okay so we've all heard this before but have any of us actually taken the time to put that saying into action? Well, quite recently I have. I used to be the type of person who waited until last minute to do everything, whether it was homework, a workout plan or whatever I wanted to accomplish. I used to be the type of person who said that at whatever time I'll start my homework and if it was a minute past that time I would have to wait to the start of the new hour....yes like the meme.

But now, ever since I heard that quote, it's been replaying in my head on a loop. Which is why I now just do things at the moment they're thought of and not a certain time. I decided that this is the semester, I don't wait until the last minute to do all of my work, and so far it's going well. I decided that this is the perfect time to get in shape, and not wait until the New Year, because I'm the skinniest most out of shape person that I know. I decided that instead of waiting until the new year to eat healthier that I'm going to do it now.

For a while I have wanted to get back into dance. I kept saying that I'll sign up for classes again when I finish school. But instead I decided to do it now, registered for a ballet class at school and signed up for ballroom dance, and it hands down has been one of the best decisions I have made.

Honestly it's been weird not having a set start date and time for certain things, but why would I put off doing something that I want to do? What I will say though, is that not procrastinating on homework has made these first couple of weeks of the semester fly by and seem like a breeze.

Just by letting go of the idea that every thing needs to have a set start date and time and a set date and time to end has made the pressure of things go away. By just starting my journey for whatever I'm doing right now, has increased my happiness and my overall productivity of what I'm doing.

So a little word of advice just go for and just do whatever you want to do right now.

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