Dignity in the Face of Women Shaming in 2017


In a world of double standards, women have long needed to justify themselves  So, in America, movements such as Women’s Rights, and people like Susan B. Anthony are key players in history, despite the fact that her movement for suffrage excluded women of color. At least, it was a stand taken in the modern world. However, the new administration, among doing other ‘nasty’ things, stymies all such progress. An example is the executive order rescinding the giving of federal aid to abortion and family planning services which includes contraceptives.

This recent election has also made it okay to generally speak to each other in a ‘nasty’ manner but specifically to women—the logic is if the President did it, why can’t we?  I am sure not everyone has succumbed this low at once but usually, the leader of a country represents the people of that country. To provide credibility to this claim is of a story of a white female friend who when going home with her female friend was loudly mocked by a group of boys walking on the street saying some of the choicest words of last election’s G.O.P nominee. If the respect of a white female is so low, then what is to say about the respect of women of color?

I would also like to mention Hillary Clinton. I hope women all around can respect Hillary as a woman if not as a politician. Think about it: she was one of the few women to sit for the law school admissions test in her year and when the male test-takers started yelling out horrid things, she didn’t let that discourage her. According to her response in Humans of New York Facebook, she said, “And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal.” Such words may have dissuaded others, but Hillary stayed strong.

Furthermore, having to tolerate the public shaming that occurred with her husband’s scandal during his presidency was a huge trauma in itself. Imagine the mortification of living through such rumors. Nevertheless, she still persevered and faced the reality. She then chose to stay with her husband. I don’t know what happened behind their doors but apparently the reconciled and moved on. Hillary kept going, she became a Senator, then Secretary of State, and then ran for President twice. Although she lost both elections, the point I want to emphasize is that she had the ability and the courage to run at all. It was terrible in the last election when all of her husband’s alleged lovers were paraded along in front of her on live TV, during her debate speech. This was meant to scare her off, but Hilary had her mind made up and her ambition strong so she fazed through—she was able to touch the highest and the hardest glass ceiling there is. Hillary may not be the best politician, but her feats of courage in the face of sexism, separate from her political stances, are quite exemplary.

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