The Biggest Ways Millennial Women's Lives Have Changed Since The 2016 Election
A lot has changed in the months since Donald Trump was sworn into office, both on a political level and a personal one. Bustle’s State of Our Unions series looks at how millennial women's relationships with their friends, family members, and romantic partners have been affected since the 2016 election. Today's topic: the biggest way millennial women's lives have changed.
On Nov. 8, 2016, I voted in my first presidential election. The anticipation was overwhelming as I prepared to vote for the candidate I believed deserved to be president: Hillary Clinton. I eagerly thought of the impact this election would have on myself and others. On election night, I headed to the Javits Center in New York City, the site of Clinton's rally, excited for the future.
I would say it was about 11 p.m. when I knew what was going to happen. I wouldn't admit it until I saw the results of the election, but I knew my dreams of voting in the first woman president were soon to be crushed. As Jan. 20 approached, I contemplated how to act in this new, alternate reality.
"For people that are struggling right now, I would encourage them to become and stay active in their local politics," Nicole Richardson, licensed professional counselor supervisor, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "Most people only vote in the presidential election once every four years. There are county and state initiatives that are very important as well as being sure to vote for your U.S. Congressional and Senate seats. If you aren’t happy with what we currently have, how can you be part of the solution?"
There are countless ways people's lives are being dramatically impacted as a result of the policies spouting from this new administration. Read on to hear from millennial women on the biggest changes they've experienced since the 2016 election.
"The biggest issue for me since the election is that it completely halted our immigration paperwork to the U.S., because [my husband] has Syrian heritage. Even before the ban, we knew that it wasn't looking good. The next step in our paperwork included over $500 in fees that I didn't want to throw away if something were to stop it from going through — even my immigration lawyer told us to wait. I am still unable to visit home with him."
"Initially, it made me want to sit down and cry, succumb to the unfairness of the world, to never speak up again because what was the point. For a few days, even weeks, I did. I cried. I watched a lot of Netflix and I drank a lot of wine. Then, I acted. We acted. We marched on Jan. 20 along with a million other pink hats. And I have marched many times since. We speak louder, and prouder, than before. Even the girls in my life who never dared or cared to speak out before are doing it now. Why? I think we all took our tears, our dejection, and turned it into angry power. Because, it ain't over 'til it's over. Together, we are Donald Trump's worst enemy. We are young, and when women come together in the way women are right now, there is no stronger force."
"What has changed is the amount of concern I have for the world my son will grow up in. I now worry about things I never thought I would have to worry about. On election night, I sat on my couch rubbing my pregnant belly, crying into my husband's chest for the country my son would be born into. The change I see in my life revolves around my son. I worry about the environment and how it will continue to change because of our president's denial of climate change. I worry if my son is gay, will he be discriminated against by policy supported by our vice president? I worry if he will get a quality education because the woman appointed by the president has no experience with public schools. I worry about if he gets sick, if we will be able to afford to pay for his care. I worry about the kind of example our president sets for young children and how they will grow to treat each other. [...] While my life hasn't changed much (for now), the way in which I will parent my child has changed."
"I am a 28-year-old woman who, after the elections, realized I didn't want to waste any more of my time in a job that wasn't making a difference. I've since quit my job and am now trying to work with various organizations on gender equality policies and initiatives. I'm also working part-time as a campaign manager for someone seeking re-election, and soon hope to both encourage more women and POC to run for office as well as run myself."
"My experience is nuanced as a woman of color and a millennial. For years, we've been fed the story that marginalization by race dies off as the perpetrators of racism die. However, the 2016 election was a deafening reminder that racism doesn't just die: it is passed down through generations. My life has changed in that I'm required to fight twice as hard against oppression and marginalization at the intersection of race and gender. It is difficult for me to reconcile the fact that 54 percent of white women voted for 45. It has only deepened my belief that mainstream feminism was neither built for nor intends to enlarge its scope for my inclusion as a woman of color. Those who champion misogyny and racism have been emboldened by the results of the 2016 election, making daily life far more hostile than in years past. And I've been Black my entire life, so that's saying a lot."
"Since the election, I have been worried about the state of our nation, health care, the environment, and the impending threat of another world war — just to name a few. I have to limit how much news I watch and read on a daily basis, because just headlines alone infuriate me. I’m an immigrant and have lived in the U.S. for almost 12 years. As a proud U.S. citizen for six years now, the un-Americanness I have seen since the election has been unreal. I have significant concerns for the future of our nation and have thought about whether I would want to raise a generation in this type of environment — or whether I would prefer to move to another country."
"Women from all over the country found my sweatshirts on Etsy, and wrote to me saying how they were so excited to wear them to marches. A couple ladies even paid $25 for overnight shipping so they could have them for protests. I have several pictures of women wearing the sweatshirts the day of the Women's March. Despite everything bad or weird happening in the world right now, I feel much closer to other women than ever before, and more inspired every day to keep protesting through designing, painting, and helping others in need. I've been donating $5 from each sale to Planned Parenthood, and will do so indefinitely."
"I'm a millennial woman living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The election changed my life in many ways, but one key example is that I now have an IUD. I live in a red state that's only getting redder, and I needed to take action to have long-term protection for my health."
"Personally, I've redoubled my commitment to support female candidates, especially those running for local offices, through my time and contributions. People often think of the federal elections as the most important, but what’s happening at the local level is so critical and too often goes overlooked. New York City Council has 51 members but only 13 are women — we need a stronger pipeline of women candidates at all levels. As Co-Founder/COO of the All In Together Campaign, I’m more motivated than ever to do my part to drive that for the election this fall."
"Since the election, a group of my girlfriends and I left our full-time jobs to start a company. We're an all-female creative collective called Eddie. Prior to Trump getting elected, I wasn't politically active at all. Nor was I very inclusive. I kind of just hustled as a publicist alone and didn't work with others. Now more than ever, I feel a huge need to speak out, to support others in any way I can, and to get involved. Eddie has done things from hosting charity events for Planned Parenthood to putting on a full women's panel. I just feel so much more connected to the community and others around me."
"A little over a year ago, I started an organization to help refugee youth new to Nashville learn to express themselves and feel empowered to share their stories through writing and recording original songs. My organization is called 3 Chords, a name that comes from the saying that all you need to know to write a song is "three chords and the truth." I partnered with a non-profit in town, received several donations and even a grant to purchase 10 guitars and three ukuleles for the students. We had a wildly successful first year building a community of 10 refugees from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, teaching them how to write songs, and connecting them with dozens of artists, songwriters, and musicians in Nashville.
Days after President Trump took office, he announced that America's former promise to bring in 100,000 refugees each year would be cut to 50,000. Because of that drastic cut in the number of new immigrants coming into our country, our partner organization has had to make plans to reduce its operations.
As a result, my small organization no longer has a partner to help support our work. We will be moving forward with our vision despite the change, but what our future will look like is uncertain. [...] Despite immediate changes to my organization's situation, I plan to move forward with my mission to help refugee youth tell their stories, be heard, and, most important, feel part of their new home."
"I am a millennial woman and, like most women I know, I cried on election night. This election was hard on the entire country, but was especially hard for women and minorities. I grew up Catholic and converted to Islam in college while I studied Arabic in Morocco. I always thought that was one of the best things about America: we have the right to freedom of religion, and we can choose how we worship our creator.
While the election made me feel powerless, I have decided to focus my energy on things that make me feel powerful. I started Casablanca Exchange, an online store that brings Moroccan style to the world. I think if we have more interaction with other cultures, through fashion, food, and culture, people will start to be more tolerant. I get to bring my love for Morocco to the world, and make people, even Trump voters, see the beauty of Moroccan design (even if Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country). If we all start seeing the beauty in each other, we can start learning to live together as neighbors."
"The election completely transformed my perspective: about the U.S., about the language I use, and certainly about the role of women in society. Growing up as an only child in the Dominican Republic, I was fortunate to be raised in a 'gender agnostic' way, meaning my parents did not limit me to 'girly' dreams — they let me believe I can do or be whatever I want, regardless of being a woman. In a Latin American country where machismo reigns, that is not necessarily a common attitude. When I came back to the U.S. to study and proceeded to stay for work, I had the point of view that the political system in this country was much more trustworthy and less corrupt than in my country. However, after this election, it has become clear to me that politics in the U.S. are just as corrupt and tainted as anywhere else in the world. The election has changed me because I am now more conscious, less naïve and a little bit more cynical about the 'land of the free'. That doesn't mean I am less patriotic about the United States — a country I was born in and proudly reside in — I just see it with a little more skepticism."
No matter how much you have been impacted by the results of Nov. 8, 2016, it's important that we come together, keep taking action, and fight for our rights. It's the best we can do.