It’s been all over the news: the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the following movement bringing light to sexual assault. Since these news stories, the thing I have been hearing more than ever is that “nowadays the hardest thing to be is a white, cisgender male.” Even the President of the United States has said it. The harsh truth is really the complete opposite. Women all over social media have been coming forward with stories about their own sexual assault and discrimination. Being a man has always meant having privileges that women don’t get, and that is simply the truth. Seeing so many people on the defensive when survivors step forward is just one reminder of how much work we have left to do in women’s rights.
This semester I have been taking an Introduction to Women’s studies class. The focus of the class is on gender, sexuality and women’s issues. Within a couple weeks, the class has already opened my eyes to a world of problems I hadn’t acknowledged before as well as allowed me to form my own opinions and share my own experiences. For the first time I was able to hear the stories of black women and other groups whose voices weren’t always heard in the feminist movement. The most disturbing thing I learned was at the beginning of the women’s liberation movement, or second wave of feminism, when women first brought up their issues in front of men who were protesting the wartime. These men yelled and catcalled these women, and completely disregarded their issues and concerns. While things have gotten better, they still have a long way to go. Many men have seemingly become increasingly threatened by things like the #MeToo movement. However, I see this movement and the Brett Kavanaugh case as a chance: a chance to bridge the differences between different groups of women such as queer women, women of color and women of different cultural backgrounds.
If I have learned anything from my women’s studies class and current events it is how important it is not just to fight for your own rights, but for the rights of others too. Black women were left out of the earlier women’s movements and they still face so many other levels of discrimination. It’s time for that to change. It’s not enough for us each to fight our own battles. Men need to fight for the rights of women, white people need to fight for the rights of people of color and we need to believe each other’s struggles and support each other. The appointment of Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t have to be an end, but rather a beginning. Women need to continue to band together through our common struggles. It doesn’t matter what color, what sexual orientation, or what cultural background—stand up for the women in your life and all your sisters.