Standing Up to Anti-Feminism in the Face of a Trump America

The Sunday after the January 21 Women’s March, a classmate of mine posted some anti-protesters content. Here’s how I responded for my journalism assignment.

Following the presidential election, many people have found their public voice. Last Sunday, a local senior was most notably vocal on Instagram with a post promoting the defunding of Planned Parenthood. He also addressed personal opinions on the Women’s March, proclaiming, “You are a woman in the United States. You do not face the ‘oppression’ you think you do”. While he received only forty-four likes, the post was flooded with over one-hundred and fifty comments that were mostly negative. The resulting backlash resulted in the account owner disabling and deleting all the comments for the post the following morning. This was only the most infamous of many gender-based attacks online in our small town. We need to learn how to communicate positive ideas to others without personal insult.

In a country where one in six women will face the threat of rape, comments like these that are on the rise are detrimental to the female population (Rainn). Many of the commenters responded appropriately with respectful tone and factual evidence supporting their stance, but a few resorted to the personal attack of the teen who posted the anti-feminist post. One comment read “You are a disgrace to the morals of MVP [Mentors of Violence Prevention]. Have you learned nothing?” While I believe that our school has been decent at advocating the ideas of “active listening” and “analytical thinking,” I feel we have not been educating students, especially young women, how to hold up their side of a face to face argument.

Many students receive their political opinions from their parents, religious figures, or other adults who may have their own agendas. It is important for both educators and students to provide reliable sources of information for the young minds of our town. For example, in history class, assigning a current event article to actively read in class may reveal at least one new fact about the issues happening around young students. Or, for students, perhaps sharing one or two articles on Facebook or Twitter with some verifiable facts may allow closed-minded classmates to experience the other side of the argument and deduce some opinions for themselves.

Providing resources for education, learning, and self-realization is truly the only way to change someone’s mind. Maintaining a civil temper and sticking to the facts is only a temporary solution, one that will not likely persuade someone in a day. But the easiest way to deal with ignorance and racism is to put down the cell phones, back away from banter, and put yourself out there. I’m talking about attending a Planned Parenthood fundraising event instead of personally attacking one of its haters. I’m talking about donating to the refugee foundations instead of calling Donald Trump bad names on your Twitter account. I’m talking about standing up for what you believe in loudly instead of quietly commenting on other beliefs that are trying to detract you from your ultimate goals. After all, actions speak louder than words.