8 WTF things that happened in 2017 that prove we have work to do
That said, let these moments inspire you to get involved:
1. Trump's inauguration
We started this year by inaugurating a man who boasted about “grabbing a woman by the pussy”, mocked a disabled reporter, and started a war with “fake news” (i.e. news he does not agree with). While depressing, it sparked a Woman’s March with more attendees than his inauguration.
2. Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Louis CK, etc, etc, etc
There are so many layers to this horrible clusterfuck. People blamed the women for not “coming out earlier”. Others called out Hillary for not responding to the Weinstein allegations early or harshly enough (because apparently, women must bear the blame when associated with sexual predators). The good that came from this is the avalanche of people coming forward against men who abuse their power. Because it's about time.
3. Rose McGowan Twitter suspension
When the Weinstein case came to light, Rose McGowan was the leader the #RoseArmy movement, encouraging people to take action against Weinstein, and everyone complicit in covering up his sexual assaults. And then McGowan got suspended from Twitter. While she was in violation of one of Twitter’s rules, it was hard to ignore that a woman was being forced to sit down and shut up for speaking out against sexual assault. The main issue highlighted here is that Twitter suspensions are inconsistent. McGowan was quick to be suspended, while David Duke and Richard Spencer continue to spew hate against minorities and receive a blue verified checkmark.
4. Birth control repeal
In October, Trump introduced a new rule that would make it easy for most employers to deny women birth control coverage, rolling back a key Obamacare provision. Trump’s new policy allows for any firm to deny coverage of contraception, due to “objections based on religious beliefs or moral convictions”. The Department of Health and Human Services also cited that birth control could “affect risky sexual behavior in a negative way”, even though there is virtually no evidence to support this (not to mention, it would be none of your employer's business who and how many people you have sex with). This is simply another tactic of the Trump Administration to control women’s bodies.
5. Trans military ban
In July, Donald Trump announced (on Twitter, no less) that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. This was in stark contrast with his promise to protect LGBT Americans. Former President Obama made major strides in the military by repealing DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) in 2010, and Trump is here to prove that going backward is still an option for this administration!
6. The bathroom saga continues...
Bathroom bills have been floating around for a few years, and have yet to go away. In 2017, several states floating around various bathroom bills, with Texas passing one that restricts what schoolchildren can use, rationalizing that the bill about safety. Similar bills in Virginia and Tennessee have been killed, but why do government officials keep introducing discriminatory, ignorant bills? They cite fictitious cases of men dressing up as women to attack them, even though “there are no such cases of this happening in US jurisdictions with nondiscrimination laws for LGBTQ people”. In other words, these bills have created a problem where none existed. Here’s hoping 2017 is the last we see of these discriminatory bathroom bills.
7. Betsy Devos sexual assault on campus rollback
Devos, Secretary of Education (although she lacks the qualifications for the role) is rolling back an Obama era provision on how schools should handle sexual assault. Sexual assault on university campuses is a big problem, with “one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while they are in college”. The Obama administration pushed college administration to punish sexual assault, which resulted in a significant spike in the number of investigations. This roll back means that “now schools are directed to choose which standard of evidence to use in investigating sexual assault cases”, which many say is a step backward, and will discourage students from reporting sexual assault.
8. The Charlottesville protest/Unite The Right
From August 11th-12th, Richard Spencer organized a march in Charlottesville to protest the removal of Confederate statues around the country. These White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis shouted, "Jews will not replace us". They chanted "White lives matter" in the face of Black counter-protesters. A woman was hit by a car and killed. Yet Trump's statement missed the mark (by a mile) when he said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.” If you have 22 minutes to spare, watch this Vice documentary about what happened that day.
Photo Source: Tony Futura