Girl power, restricted

As I walked into work Wednesday morning I mourned for women. It’s hard to tell men why this election was so important. In a sense, it had nothing to do with the possibility of electing the first woman president and everything to do with the rights of women that allowed the first woman presidential nominee in a major political party.

I mourned because as usual, women were told we were overreacting to be fearful for our rights, and the rug was pulled out from right under us. Throughout the day I looked at Big Bear and Little Bear. They’re in the clear. They’ll never know what it’s like to have the stigma of being a woman. Their toughest times will be getting into a good college and keeping alive the family name. They’ll have their struggles no doubt, but none of them will be because of their gender. They’ll never know what it’s like to walk into the doctor’s office for their annual gynecological exam and be asked to write down the number of their sexual partners. They’ll never have to write the number of pregnancies they’ve had and whether they were carried to full-term, terminated or miscarried. They won’t be forced to hear men tell them that PMS isn’t real. They may have been blessed to be raised by a caring family who will teach them how to respect and treat women, but they’ll never have to experience what women go through. I know this is just the facts of life, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

There’s a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. If Hillary Clinton would have been elected, a liberal-leaning justice would have been appointed to fill that seat and women’s rights would have been somewhat safer for another four years. Now that America has elected a Republican president, he will fill the seat with a conservative justice. This isn’t something I’m saying because I’m not a Republican, this is something I’m saying because Trump has said this himself. Trump has vowed to nominate anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court. When this happens, the Supreme Court will have the power to defund planned parenthood and overturn Roe vs. Wade. Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, is also strongly anti-abortion.

When I discussed this concern with men over the course of the election, they just rolled their eyes and said that wouldn’t happen, that Trump doesn’t care enough about women’s rights to suppress them. I felt like a small child saying something dumb and adults were patting me on the head to make me feel better. That’s always how I feel when I talk about women’s rights with men.

The most frustrating thing about talking about women’s rights is men saying “oh no, another feminist.” Aren’t all women feminists? Why does the word feminist still have such a negative connotation? I absolutely believe that every woman can be whatever she chooses to be. She can choose a career or choose a family- even both! As long as it’s her choice.

Walking around the park later that day, I mourned for the little girls. They’re being told at this age that they can be anything when they grow up. But now these little girls, well before they even know that they have productive rights, are in danger of losing them. Are we still supposed to tell these little girls to wait for Prince Charming to find them? Or should we tell them that the chances of unwanted pregnancies and illnesses due to lack of birth control might get in the way? These little girls will be told they can be anything in this world but then be frowned upon if they become a working mom with a nanny or if they enroll their children in daycare. They’ll also be judged if they are just “stay-at-home moms.” Women are always judged, from their childcare methods to what they feed their kids. The list goes on. I see these mothers every day, most who had careers and set them aside because they absolutely love being a mom and the thought of returning to work agonized them. There are also those women that love their jobs and who have strong careers but who struggle to leave their kids each day with hired help. Then there are the women who have to work to support their family. None of these choices are easy, especially when you factor in poor healthcare and limited maternity leave. And of course, there is the single woman who is judged just for being single. Sometimes it feels like you can’t win, no matter what you do.

I love being a day-mom, especially with the experiences I gain every day. I’m always told that by the time I have my own children that I’ll be an expert. Should I not aim higher than having my own kids? Since I’m a nanny am I expected to leave behind my journalism degree and go from raising two day-boys to raising my own?

This isn’t a post about the left or right or any one political party. The more I build myself as a person the less I lash out and criticize people, especially people with different political views as me. But it’s getting hard to bite my tongue when it comes to women’s rights.

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