Bring "Nevertheless, She Persisted" Into Your Life

by Lani Seelinger
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It's not often that you run into the opportunity to truly and publicly take a stand on a crucial feminist issue — but that doesn't mean that Elizabeth Warren can only be an inspiration to you on those rare occasions. If you think about, there are plenty of ways to apply "Nevertheless, she persisted" to the feminist victories in your everyday life, no matter how big or how small they are.

Not very many of us will ever have the chance to stand up in front of one of the governing bodies of our country and speak our minds on the behalf of embattled societal groups everywhere. However, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that almost every woman everywhere has been subject to, for example, rudeness from some douche in a bar when you're just trying to buy your IPA, thank you very much. And standing up to that guy may not carry exactly the same weight as attempting to read Coretta Scott King's words to a hostile Senate, but guess what? It's still persisting.

In this case, it's the attitude that counts. And you can — and should — take that attitude everywhere you go, whether you're approaching your boss about a raise or just trying to order your drink in peace.

The world is finally starting to catch on that things are just a bit more difficult for women than for men. Campaigns like "Yes All Women" have some men finally understanding basic facts about women's lives, like how we always walk home gripping our keys and how sexual harassment on public transportation is kind of an everyday thing. Things haven't suddenly gotten better, though, especially with potentially the most misogynist president in modern history now in office, and female senators getting silenced using obscure rules of conduct.

That's exactly why "Nevertheless, she persisted" is such a powerful slogan. It's the moral support you need for any difficult situation you find yourself in, really. Yes, it's difficult to speak up for yourself in a classroom or an office full of men — but you have to persist. It's difficult to tell off a construction worker who just told you to smile — but you persist. It's terribly difficult to extract yourself from an emotionally abusive relationship — but you will persist, and you will get through it.

History has been filled with women who persisted even against terrible odds, because that's just what they had to do in order to achieve their goals. Life is so much easier for women now because of all of those women who came before, and now you can carry that spirit into your life at every level.

If you can look back and say, "Nevertheless, she persisted," about one thing you did every week, then you're an active member in the fight to bring about equality. Be kind to yourself. Recognize the smallest victories. If a day goes by without one, that's fine. That's what persisting means, really — to keep going, despite difficulty.

Elizabeth Warren and Senate Democrats may have suffered a defeat, but they gained a rallying cry. Take it with you, and run with it.