After watching the latest Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, berate and aggressively question female Senators, I was appalled that no male Senator rebuked him about his reactions, his sneering demeanor or the condescending tone of his comments. That is why we still need feminism.
As powerful rich white men degraded the testimony of a woman who came forward to offer information about her accusation of that same nominee, my friends (male and female and trans) were griped by rage or grief or both. That is why we still need feminism.
When people in positions of authority continue to cover up sexual assault of girls and boys that is why we still need feminism.
When stories of rape and sexual harassment by the men in power come from areas as different as the Catholic priesthood and college football — abuse that went on for years and was ignored — that is why we need feminism.
Now we have two men who were accused of improper sexual acts, men who never saw a courtroom as a defendant, sit on the highest court in our country. That is why we need feminism. Not because they are guilty — only a court can decide that under our laws — but because rich white men decided those charges could be ignored. That is why we need feminism.
Girls and young women are trained that their fathers and husbands own their bodies, while church leaders accept and condone such attitudes. That is why we need feminism.
When a young person is raped, regardless of gender, they hide because they have seen how others who report the criminal acts have been treated. They have seen schoolmates laugh at and hassle the reporter, call both boys and girls ugly names — and then there is the way that police and courts treat those victims. That is why we need feminism.
When other young women and men hear these stories, they become scared, and rightly so, because they question if they are allowed to possess and control their own bodies. That is why we need feminism.
When “presumed innocent” means a different set of rules for the rich white man than it does for the man of color or the poor person, that is why we need feminism.
Time for a very tiny bit of history.
In the United States, all birth control methods were illegal even for married people until 1938. This included condoms. Thanks to a nurse named Margaret Sanger, the ban against contraception (at that time, condoms and diaphragms) was lifted. Yet, many current politicians want to close all Planned Parenthood locations, thus preventing them from giving away condoms and stopping their doctors from fitting diaphragms. This type of medical care is not about abortion. Right to choice is about more than abortion. That is why we need feminism.
Even after birth control pills were approved by USFDA, they were illegal to purchase in many parts of US. In 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruled that birth control pills were legal for married women. You read that correctly: married women were not legally allowed to purchase and use birth control pills until 1965. It was not until 1972, when the ruling in Baird v. Eisenstadt legalized birth control for everyone, that finally, unmarried people were permitted to purchase and use birth control.
Not even fifty years later, politicians have succeeded in removing birth control pill coverage from insurance policies — and they have accomplished the removal of low cost and free clinics from many regions of the country. We are not talking abortion here; we are talking contraception methods legally prescribed by a doctor. That is why we still need feminism.
Sadly, it is still legal for a husband to rape his wife in certain states in the United States. Therefore, drugging and raping a wife (what Bill Cosby was found guilty of) or more violent actions might not be considered a crime between married partners. There are different laws for criminal behavior between married partners in Oklahoma, Ohio, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, Rhode Island, Virginia, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Michigan. That is why we still need feminism.
And now, a comparison.
In Sweden, new parents (both mothers and fathers) are given eight months paid leave, and they can (and often do) take the leave at different times. In USA, the majority of parents get no paid leave. That is why we need feminism.
In fact, mothers are harassed for taking too much time off work, and quite a few lose their jobs due to giving birth and raising their children. That is why we need feminism
Unless they work for Facebook, new fathers who want time off for a baby are told that women can take time off — with their supervisor’s comment, “why would you want to take time off?! So get back to work.” That is why we need feminism.
Men are still told to “man up” whatever the hell that means. That is why we still need feminism.
I could continue to list many more sad or horrible issues of daily life. I could, but I won’t. All of them are real on-going problems. And that is why we still need feminism.