Feeling lost and powerless
The year 2016 has had some great moments; Andy Murray becoming number one for the first time, the Queen celebrating her 90th birthday. Yet with yesterday’s news, now more than ever I’m scared for my future as a young woman.
The election of this man has proven how, even if we’re more qualified, a white man who has money is still being chosen over a qualified woman. How a qualified woman, having served as Secretary of State and even the First Lady, wasn’t chosen because people ‘didn’t like her’, or because an e-mail scandal seeming worse than racist, bigoted views, or blamed her for her husband, another mans scandals. She’s not perfect but good god, was she more qualified for the job. I may not like Doctor House but I’d rather have him operating on me than Barney the Dinosaur (he may be a fictional doctor but I believe in him more than I believe in Trump for president still).
We’re still paid less for the same job as a man. We’re still scared to walk home alone at night, resorting to having our keys between our fingers and someone on the phone pretending they are just down the road from us. We’re still harassed when wearing a short skirt on the tube, with men coming to sit next to you on an otherwise empty carriage, or brazenly staring at your legs. We’restill heckled by men on the streets, and attacked or run over if we dare to ignore it. We still pay more for our products because they’re pink, and taxed on our tampons and more money going into men’s health problems. We’re still scared to go on a date with a stranger in case he wants to hurt us, as a 6 foot, 15 stone man can do what he wants to a 5 foot, 7 stone girl. Our biggest killer is still domestic violence. And all this, and I still feel lucky that I’m white as what hope do ethnic minority women have now?
Being told that this man is now in power of the free world, a man who thinks it’s okay to say to his friends that you can ‘grab women by the pussy’ if you’re a wealthy man, a man who thinks it’s his right to dictate a woman’s body when it comes to abortion, a man who has rape charges against him and says vile, crude things about even his own daughter, a man who constantly attacks female journalists who don’t agree with him, a man who young men are looking up to and seeing him as a role model in his treatment of other people.
It’s been another year of women being knocked down, by internet trolls threatening rape and mutilation, by the Ched Evans case dictating that ultimately, a rapists future is worth more than his victims. Of the Royal Family issuing a rare statement asking papers to stop attacking his girlfriend as a woman, digging up her past history, blaming her as a divorcee and being ‘racy’ as an actress. We’re still asked in job interviews whether we are going to have children, punishing us for being the gender that needs to procreate by not giving us the job, instead of seeing it as a way to change the way fathers are treated.
And not just being a young woman, but being young. Knowing it’s impossible to get on the housing ladder, save any money for a state pension, and since Brexit, more expensive grocery bills and more expensive travel (the one thing that we had going for our generation; the freedom our parents didn’t have to see different cultures).
Living in London, it’s easy to be stuck in an echo chamber of forward thinking, multi cultured young people. But as wider issues, I’m feeling lost, and powerless that 2016 is laying the path for a future where women are fighting a lost battle.
Yet if anything I’m going to keep writing, keep blocking ignorant trolls, keep teaching my younger siblings and male friends about feminism, keep debating in the public sphere the important issues and hopefully inspiring the younger generation that what we’re experiencing isn’t the end of equality and feminism. That women like Emma Watson, Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg are right to keep fighting for women’s rights until we get the equality we deserve.
Today is Equal Pay day, to raise awareness that women are still paid 18% less than men are for the same job. So leave your office at 3:34pm in solidarity of women who are paid less than men. Keep talking online to other women and fighting for our side.
In a year of Bake Off, Brexit and Brangelina, be brave. Be a nasty woman. We’re 50% of the population and shouldn’t think of ourselves as any less, no matter how hard others try.