By Stephanie Malangone
When I was a kid, I remember learning about women in history: Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth. They all lived so long ago, in such a different time. I used to count myself lucky, but also shocked because I couldn’t picture a time when women weren’t equal to men. When I grew up, I realized we never really came out of that time.
As you get older, you start to learn from your parents that as a woman, you have to behave differently than a man. You can’t be as loud, as wild, as free – and most important of all: you have to protect yourself from them at all times. When young men and women go to college, the men buy condoms, and the women buy pepper spray. When a young woman tells her mother the story about the girl she knew who was raped after a party, her mother responds “she shouldn’t have been walking alone at night,” rather than “he shouldn’t have raped her.” When a woman is cat called on the street, she has to choose between fleeing in fear or yelling something back, and if she does, what if he gets mad? What if he kills her?
This is rape culture in America. This isn’t feminism. Feminism can be defined in a lot of different ways, but to me, it means a world where women aren’t the ones responsible for not being raped.
#Repealthe19th is a twitter hashtag that started when voters realized that if only men voted in this election, Donald Trump would win. Not only are men tweeting this, but women are too. The same women who have tweeted that Donald Trump can “grab their pussy.” The fact that this is even an idea is ludicrous. What’s next? Can I not have a job? Can I not own property? Am I not allowed to go out by myself? This is why rape culture exists in America. Ideas like #repealthe19th contribute to the mindset that women are inferior to men, and can be treated as objects rather than people.
This normalizes rape. Countries that do not allow women to vote have the highest reports of rape in the world, for this reason. And even worse – the women who support this are contributing to the demeaning of your own gender. Do you want to stop Secretary Clinton so badly that you’re forgetting the basic principles on which her opponent stands? Democracy is about the freedom of choice. I will not judge you for who you are voting for, but I cannot complacently sit while my rights are taken away because of that vote.