What Being A Woman In 2017 Feels Like, According To 18 Candid Tweets
Nov. 8, 2017 marks one year since Donald Trump's election as president of the United States. In the past year, there have been repeated attacks on women's rights, and women have risen to the occasion to counter this onslaught through resistance, activism, and even running for office, among other tactics. The following tweets sum up being a woman in 2017, touching on the issues women face under the Trump administration, but also on the admirable ways in which women — and men — have come together to counter attacks on their rights.
Women have faced a myriad of threats to their rights since Trump took office. The Trump administration and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly sought to defund Planned Parenthood, as well as to limit women's health insurance coverage. Some of these efforts have succeeded, with Trump successfully cutting some funding for Planned Parenthood as well as rolling back the Obamacare birth control mandate for employers. Moreover, the administration has also rescinded sexual assault protections and clamped down on equal pay measures, among other things.
However, women have certainly not taken these attacks on their rights lightly. Many people have come together to resist these policies and make their voices heard. The tweets below reflect both the myriad of ways in which Trump, his administration, and other elected officials have sought to dismantle women's rights, but also the impressive ways in which women and men have taken a stand against these actions.
Threats To Birth Control
In early October, the Trump administration rolled back the Obamacare contraception mandate, allowing many more employers to claim an exemption to providing birth control for women. Moreover, women's access to affordable birth control was perpetually at stake when Republicans repeatedly threatened to repeal Obamacare, prompting many women (possibly including the woman featured in this tweet) to seek affordable birth control before Obamacare's potential repeal.
Planned Parenthood Constantly Facing Cuts
Planned Parenthood has also repeatedly faced defunding threats under the Trump administration — some of which have succeeded. In April, Trump signed a law that allows states to withhold federal funding from organizations that provide abortion services, like Planned Parenthood, even though none of that money from the government was used on abortion procedures (they were needed to provide basic reproductive health care services). This law potentially puts the health and well-being of thousands of women and men at risk.
Health Care Repeal Bills Place Lives At Risk
Republicans' repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare placed millions of lives at risk — particularly those of women. Indeed, a version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) included provisions to allow states to remove individual health care market coverage for maternity care, potentially forcing pregnant women to go without coverage or costing them tens of thousands of dollars. This tweet illustrates how high the stakes are for many women in Trump's America.
The President's Administration Says Women Are Liars
During Trump's presidential campaign, 16 women accused him of harassment, allegations Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denied. In October, when asked by a reporter if the "official position" of the White House is that the women who accused the president of harassment have lied, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied, "Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the beginning, and the president has spoken on it."
The Ambassador For Women Is Anti-Women
As the ACLU noted, Trump's nominee for the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Penny Nance, has a long record of anti-women and anti-LGBTQ advocacy. She's a staunch opponent of abortion rights and Planned Parenthood. She has also condemned various pro-women and pro-LGBTQ pieces of legislation, like the Violence Against Women Act, the Obamacare contraception mandate, and protections for transgender youth.
Directives On Bodily Autonomy
Unfortunately, 2017 has been rife with examples of male politicians trying to issue directives about women's bodies. This includes Wisconsin State Rep. Scott Allen, who implied that he believes women should be forced to give birth to improve the economy.
Ending Equal Pay
In August, the Trump administration ended an Obama-era policy designed to help women and people of color determine whether they are being paid less than their male and white counterparts. The policy had required select employers to disclose their pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in order to allow for pay tracking.
Trump's administration unceremoniously ended this policy, with Ivanka Trump, who has championed equal pay in the past, saying, "Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results."
Fossil Fuels Will "Prevent" Sexual Assault
In September, Betsey DeVos, Trump's Secretary of Education, decided to roll back Obama-era protections designed to offer protections for victims of sexual assault on college campuses.
To add insult to injury, in early November, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also suggested that encouraging the use of fossil fuels in Africa will help prevent sexual assaults across the continent because "from the standpoint of sexual assault ... when the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts.”
This tweet highlights the issues of "mansplaining" and workplace sexism, which have been regularly brought to light in 2017.
Sexism Is Alive And Well
This video clip highlights a myriad of instances of sexism in the newsroom, raising awareness of the everyday sexism and harassment faced by women — an important issue on which particular attention has been directed in 2017.
Jarring Words From The Commander-In-Chief
This tweet from the New York Daily News' account serves as a poignant reminder that the President of the United States once admitted to forcibly kissing women.
No Matter What Women Do, It's Wrong
While 2017 has been a watershed year for women publicly speaking out against those who harass them (for example, with the #MeToo campaign), the criticism women have faced for speaking out — such as questions regarding why they did not speak out sooner or why they are even speaking out at all — highlights the notion that women are often condemned for any action they take to counter assault and harassment.
Women Speaking Out
In 2017, many more women have begun to speak out publicly about sexual assault and harassment. Asia Argento, one of the first women who went public about her alleged assault by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, tweeted a list of nearly 100 women who are accusing him of assault. Weinstein apologized for his behavior, but he has "unequivocally denied" all non-consensual sexual encounters.
While it is likely disheartening for many to see that so many women have faced assault and harassment, it is also very encouraging to see so many women and men taking a stand to end these behaviors.
More Women Running For Office
In the face of countless threats to women's rights, however, 2017 has also inspired fierce resistance to the Trump administration and policies that infringe on people's rights. This particular tweet by Heather Whaley, who ran for local office in the Nov. 7 elections, highlights the optimism many people feel.
Record numbers of women are now running for office in 2017 as part of this activism. Since Trump was elected, EMILY's List, an organization which helps elect pro-choice, democratic women, has heard form 20,000 women interested in running for office. For 2015-2016, they heard from just over 900.
Successful Political Campaigns
In addition to more women running for office, Tuesday's state and local elections showed that women are also achieving victories in these races. Tuesday's elections were a boon for women, with many women and women of color elected to their respective offices for the first time in history.
In Virginia alone, the country's first openly transgender state delegate, as well as the states first-ever Latina, Asian American woman, and lesbian delegates were all elected to office — with several of them unseating incumbent Republicans.
The momentum from the Women's March's march that kicked off 2017 is here to stay — and women and men around the country are continually engaging in activism to produce positive change in the U.S.
Overall, these tweets reflect the many ways in which it has been a challenge to be a woman in 2017. However, they also acknowledge the amazing efforts of many women and men to ensure that the future is brighter for women — and for everyone.
Editor's Note: This op-ed does not reflect the views of BDG Media and is part of a larger, feminist discourse on today's political climate.