Our Work is Never Done

The 2012 U.S. election is old news by now. Thinking back, it was like a collective loosening of tension once it was over. That night I could go to bed after the returns with a sigh of relief. Well, not just a sigh of relief. I actually felt pretty excited. This had been an exceptionally notable election for female politicians. New Hampshire had elected a delegation consisting of only women. A record number of female representatives and senators were going to Washington, one of which was the first Asian American woman and first Buddhist, one the first Hindu, and one the first openly gay senator. There were same-sex marriage victories in four states. This was not just exciting for women and the country but also personally. Many of my minority identities would finally be represented in the Senate. An exciting time indeed!

I personally found the election to be emotionally draining. In addition to the typical political mudslinging, there was an exceptional amount of misogyny. There were negative comments about female candidate’s physical appearance and quips about them in traditional gender roles. The War on Women surged onward with attacks against reproductive healthcare and rape apologism was prevalent. My enthusiasm for the election was long gone by the time it was over. Yet, here we were with a record 101 Congresswomen. The progress was overshadowed by the fact that, while the U.S. population is slightly over 50% women, female representation in our federal government was only about 19%. It was overshadowed by constant reminders that female politicians are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Women were not taken seriously.

While the election has wound down and the news has packed up its coverage the misogyny continues. The news coverage since the election has highlighted terrible, violent things. Things like mass shootings in which the mother of a perpetrator and several innocent children were murdered. Like the injustice for rape victims in India and Texas. Like the blocking and eventual lack of renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. More recent news alerted us that Rush Limbaugh has said yet another despicable thing by stating that abortion could be outlawed with a gunshot, alleging more violence against women. Anonymous posted the tweet, “When internet activists are getting longer prison sentences than rapists you have to wonder what kind of world we're leaving for our kids.” I have been wondering for a long time now.

Despite the progress this country has made with the election, there is still more work to be done. I don’t think us women really expected the hard work to be over anytime soon. I know my spirit is bolstered whenever there is groundbreaking progress. It hurts enough when we don’t progress but I am disheartened every time we go backwards. Women before us fought hard to get us where we are today. We need to continue fighting just as hard or harder to keep moving forward.

written by Victoria Wu

No comments:

Post a Comment