Not My President

Why Feminism is needed in US Politics

Ilhan Omar, The first Somali-American elected as state representative, with a crowd of her fans and supporters

“Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.”

On Monday, October 24, Donald trump denied the latest accusation of sexual assault, objectifying the woman involved in the process. Jessica Drake, a pornographic film star, voiced her experience after a tape of Donald Trump from 2005 was released. In this video, Trump can be heard making several blatantly sexist comments. Drake recounted harassment and unwanted advances towards her from Trump, who was trying to persuade her to come into his hotel room. Though this sounds terrifying in itself, there’s even more to be said about the lack of respect Trump has for women, and minority groups.

The recent presidential election held hope that this man may not be the leader of the already flawed America. Down to the day before, Hillary Clinton’s numbers were optimistic. And for good reason. There is no doubt that in all of the debates, interviews, and speeches, Clinton came off as more educated, mature, and accepting. Unfortunately, half of America saw through the sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia welcomed in Trump’s campaign, making him the president-elect. With a republican white male majority controlling the House and Senate, feminism and everything it stands for will be ignored, unless we fight for it.

During his eight years in office, Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama fought for equality. They protected women’s rights and were not afraid to show where they stood on these issues. Quite recently (released on August 4, 2016), Obama wrote an essay on feminism and how important it was that everybody, including men, need to fight against sexism and misogyny.

“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.” -Barack Obama, 2016.

The link to the article above can be found here.

Unfortunately, Obama is leaving office and replacing him is a man whose main crowd is white, under educated males. Trump’s job appointments will misrepresent what the population of America looks like. The presence of women in the house and senate are extremely important. America, on some grounds, is a very developed, powerful country. However, we still have lingering representations of the patriarchy in our governments. The election has been a wake up call to many that the president-elect will not show respect towards minority groups and women.

Since the election results, hate crimes have spiked. There are dozens of stories about attacks stimulated by gender, hate against religion, and racism. Accounts of swastika graffiti, insults yelled towards people of color, and abuse towards women with hijabs or other headwear on have all been reported. Feminism is not only a fight against sexism, it protects and empowers all people of color, disabled people, and other groups that face regular oppression. As Obama steps down and Trump becomes president, we face a job. The lack of feminism in Trump’s house and senate will continue, and we need to fight for it. This country needs to rise above our image that promotes racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. We need women, people of color, and everybody else to stand up and be powerful.

No matter what branch in government is being looked at, they all have the same result: a vast population of old, white men. Statistics show that 71% of office holders are male. Not only is this silently allowing for more sexism in America, it is also detrimental to policies made in government. Women are more likely to present laws on civil rights and education. Female legislators also have a link to progressiveness (more so than males) therefore allowing more modern and equity-based policies.

Though everything in America may seem bleak right now, we have gained some people that may change the face of government. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American Muslim and former refugee, was elected into the state house in Minnesota. Kamala Harris was elected senator in California, being the first African-American to uphold that position. Catherine Cortez Masto (the first Latina US senator), was elected in Nevada, Tammy Duckworth, who is Vietnamese-American and a war veteran, was elected in Illinois, and in Oregon Kate Brown was elected governor, being the first openly LGBT person to have that position. Why are we still complaining then?

This is a victory for minorities. But the fact that it is a victory means something about the way people are elected into government. This should not be something that is amazing because a minority was elected, and that rarely happens. It should be normalizing and representing the amount of diversity in America. This is all a good start, but eventually the government body should be made up of people, other than able-bodied, white, cisgendered males.

America is powerful, but we have a long ways to go. There are many people from both political parties that would like to see more women and people of color in office positions. Our government should not represent the racist beginnings of America, and promote/allow the hate that still goes on everywhere. It should represent the change that is happening, and the more widespread acceptance of people from all cultures, genders, and backgrounds.

Works Cited

Askarinam, Leah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Derek Thompson, David A. Graham, Kaveh Waddell, Ronald Brownstein, David Dayen, Emily Esfahani Smith, James Hamblin, Jeffrey E. Stern, Nadine Ajaka, and Jackie Lay. “Women May Decide the Election.” The Atlantic. N.p., 09 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.

“Donald Trump Dissmisses Latest Accusor: ‘Oh, I’m Sure She’s Never Been Grabbed Before’” N.p., n.d. Web.

“In Debate, Hillary Clinton’s Clarion Call for Women Thrills Many.” N.p., n.d. Web.

“’Nasty Woman’: Why Men Insult Powerful Women.” N.p., n.d. Web.

“Obama Lobbies Against Obliteration by Trump.” N.p., n.d. Web.

Trending, BBC. “US Election 2016: Are Hate Crimes Spiking after Trump’s Victory?” BBC News. N.p., 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.