When I was in college and minoring in gender studies, I remarked at all the new, interesting things I was learning. It seemed that the basic fight for women’s equality, at least in the U.S., was coming to a close, ushering in an era of new rights to be sought.
I imagined working in media, fighting for trans rights, advancing the “queer agenda,” pushing for cannabis legalization — all things I am doing now. But I didn’t think there would be any need to push for basic women’s rights, rights that were granted a long time ago, like access to birth control, the right to choose when it comes to pregnancy, or the right not to be infantilized and slut-shamed by men.
Unfortunately, my not-long-ago college dream world is not the world I’m living in in 2017.
While the move to advance human rights continues, this current administration is attempting to take a giant step back. As soon as Trump was elected, it became clear that he didn’t care to uphold our current protections. He moved to take away birth control and abortion access and openly said demeaning and rude things specifically about women.
As a cisgender, white woman, albeit a queer one, I assumed that my fight would be over. I should be using my privilege to help others succeed and fight for the rights of those not as privileged as myself. But that’s not where we are.
I find myself walking down the streets in fear because of the heated political climate. I worry about my access to healthcare. I bought plastic knuckles for my keychain because the outside world feels so tense. People are watching A Handmaid’s Tale and saying it reminds them of real life, not even fully realizing the irony.
It is so important for women today to band together, now more than ever, not only women from marginalized groups, but also straight women, cisgender women, white women. It may sound like a cliche, but our very basic protections are at stake. We are all fighting to have our voices heard and recognized, and a victory for one is a victory for all. This is a time for anyone who identifies as woman, and anyone who cares about the rights of those people, to stand up and fight, not lay down and get discouraged. May we all find the strength to stay strong against injustice.
Stay woke, and stay womanly.