Powerful Females in America Say … Oh, You’ve Stopped Listening
Two years ago, I was a solo American living in a hostel in Fox Glacier, New Zealand. I was sitting on a porch, doing some work, when I heard the gossip by the owners and their Kiwi friends about their new prime minister. She was the youngest female world leader. The news just announced that she was also pregnant, out of wedlock! They were wondering if she was going to take maternity leave. Yes, of course she was.
Later, Jacinda Arden adjusted her official schedule to breastfeed her 11-week-old baby and caught flak. Then later still, she made news for swiftly passing a ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles to prevent a reoccurrence of the largest mass shooting in her country’s modern history.
She’s an example of a modern powerful female, beloved by her country and supported in her personal and professional life.
America is in a strange space now with this concept. We’re actually at the polar opposite of this.
We’re in a post-snowflake, vulnerable era.
Women are being ignored at an alarming rate. They’re expressing themselves now more than ever, but it doesn’t matter. Mansplaining was a word that was added to the Meriam-Webster dictionary last March. Making women second-class citizens is as commonplace as it ever was.
America didn’t always feel this way. I was one of many who just presumed that Hillary Clinton would be elected President in 2016 by a wide enough margin of the popular vote that it would be a given for the Electoral College. Boy, was I was wrong.
America didn’t want a powerful female leader with a history of speaking up. Hillary Clinton had “too much baggage” — dating back to 1992. That’s when she proclaimed she wasn’t just “standing by her man like Tammy Wynette.” Later in the campaign, she declared that she didn’t want to “stay home and back cookies” … “but fulfill her profession.”
Remember how Trump interrupted Clinton four times as often as she interrupted him during the 2016 Presidential debates? I watched them all. I was living in the Dominican Republic at the time. He called her a “nasty woman.” That made some people laugh.
You’re not supposed to care if someone attacks you. The response is simply a shrug or a jeer: Snowflake! Go melt!
After Trump Nation began in 2106, I wasn’t sheetcaking, but I was close. Even as an ex-pat, I had to move through those emotions and eventually found a sense of vulnerability in myself that helped me grow personally.
American women are having a vulnerability moment.
Encouraged by science supporting the power of vulnerability (as 40 million people watched Brené Brown eloquently describe in her 2010 TED Talk), women are sharing their private and emotional #metoo and #YouKnowMe stories on social media for everyone they know to read.
It’s a sharp contrast to the tough cookie mentality that encompassed most of the history of the feminist movement. Oh, people get so triggered when you mention that word! Hmm, it’s like they can’t handle the simple idea that women are fundamentally equal to men. So sensitive!
It’s strange. Instead of the power of vulnerability, it’s the weakness that is highlighted. If women get angry, then they are ignored even more. You know how powerful women get “that tone.”
If vulnerability doesn’t work, does humor? No, it doesn’t. Women tried that too. They grabbed and donned handknit, pink “pussy” hats when an estimated 4.1 million peopletook to the streets in the 2017 Women’s March throughout America. I saw them when I participated in the march in St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were signs, chanting and motivational speakers.
It didn’t matter. The rights of women are only disintegrating further. For some reason, both men and women in powerful political positions have shown a complete disinterest in supporting the rights of the majority of its population.
Something happened from Hillary’s emails to Brené Brown to forcing victims to give birth to their rapist’s baby. America stopped caring about its women: its mothers, its sisters and its daughters.
The 200 men who were forced to resign from the #metoo movement was an important step, but to many, it felt like just another thing to watch on a screen or share in their status update for the day (19 million did).
Have women been too busy working and raising families to notice? The vast majority — 82.2% – of single parents in the U.S. with custody are women, and more than three-quarters are working, too. But then, the New Zealand Prime Minister is a single mom. I don’t understand the difference.
Women are simply not considered equal to men in the U.S. Constitution. It feels like it’s time to reintroduce this concept into modern American politics. The blowhard Trump supports will throw red herrings out like it was a woman — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey – who signed into law a complete ban on abortions in the state. But that’s beside the point.
This isn’t about Hillary’s emails or gun rights or abortion or immigration or hey, at least there’s no genital mutilation in America. This is about fundamental human rights.
This complete apathy and regression of rights has been a long time coming, of course. The protests of the 1960s and 1970s didn’t result in the passage of an Equal Right Amendment. Only 36 states have ratified this amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equality to women.
In America, women can’t make our own medical decisions, don’t have to be paid the same rate as men for the same work and are frequently subject to sexual harassment and abuse.
It’s these kinds of rights that men take for granted every day.
And yet, powerful women are ignored and belittled at every turn. Ask any powerful woman you know if this has been her experience, and the vast majority will throw all kinds of hashtags at you in agreement. But they’re yelling into an empty echo chamber, and they probably weren’t asked in the first place.
In 2019, women hold 25% of the seats in the U.S. Senate and 23.4% in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is no reason why this voting block should not unite and gather support from their male counterparts to pass simple legislation that protects the majority of the population of the country.
The answer to misogyny may not be political, but protecting the rights and equality of women in America should be. But whatever, right? Everyone’s probably already stopped listening.