Make it stop now
Women must step up to fight
As I write this, we are well past the date of President Trump’s latest series of tweets denigrating a woman for her looks, age, and intelligence, saying that she is “dumb as a rock,” and disturbingly bringing up blood on her face, among other things.
The result is what the result always is. Cable news condemns it roundly for a few days until something else comes along. A handful of Republican men in Congress speak up, but most of them try to hide or change the subject. Democrats, on the other hand, jump on it as if it’s a fire. They try to keep it going, but after about two weeks, something else comes along, and they’re done as well. And the women of America for the most part are appalled, but ultimately, they do nothing to stop it. The president, after riling up the men in his base, moves on.
Until the next time, that is. When I was young, girls who weren’t attractive were considered lacking, and were often called names based on their looks in high school. As an adult, it would not be uncommon for men to make a derogatory comment about your looks as they passed you on the city sidewalk. This attitude often carried over to the workplace and had a direct impact on opportunity—which was very limited for women to begin with. You were judged by your looks and either helped or hindered by that judgment more often than not.
I bring this ugly history up in an attempt to wake women up. The effort to put women back “in their place” is well underway. Step one is to objectify the woman and choose or disparage looks as part of the assessment of a woman’s potential. Step two is to implement limitations. Step three is to revert back to the cultural norm where women’s choices are reduced or eliminated dramatically in favor of men—from the home to the workplace.
Do you think it can’t happen? It’s already happening. Step one is being regularly promoted by our president, and is undoubtedly embraced by many men who yearn for the good old days when men were first, and in charge of everything. Step two is well underway with efforts to dictate types of medical procedures to be used or made available for women—and to restrict availability to medical care other than abortions. Step three lies ahead.
So, ladies, where are you? Why are you so quiet? Yes, I know, there was the Women’s March. I watched that on TV but was distressed to see that the focus was more anti-Trump than women’s issues. I’ve also seen news about an occasional protest about one thing or another in the area. But until we develop a message that consistently and specifically addresses women’s concerns we will continue to be pushed aside as just part of the Trump grumblers.
Part of the problem is that we are too divided. Yet one thing unites us—we are all women regardless of our age, marital status, race, religious or political beliefs. We need to come together with a message that works for the majority of women. Trump’s current destruction campaign against women via objectifying and bullying them is a good starting place. We need to, and can, make that stop now.
In the spirit of offering solutions over complaints, here are suggestions based on my real-life experience.
First, come together and decide who in your group has the passion and the time to be the leader. To that leader, I’d say, put together a team that believes in you, can help you, and has the time to get the work done. Next, adopt a message and goal that all women can support and name the group. I’d vote to name it Stop Now.
Put together a marketing plan. Use social media, but know that not everyone on the planet is on Facebook. Social media may not be the chosen method of communication for older women who may join you. Welcome all women who believe in reversing this negative trend regardless of their other political views. Start locally, but look ahead to an eventual national presence with a long-term strategic plan. Simply lurching from one event to another just because you can with social media guarantees you’ll get lost in the political shuffle.
Never lose sight of the fact that when the dignity of one woman is publicly assaulted, the dignity of all women is assaulted and it takes us all backward. It is up to women to step up—not just today, but every day—and demand that it stops now.