Why we need the Women's March

Abby Nye

The first Women’s March was held on Jan. 21, 2016. The march was organized in response to President Trump’s inauguration. The march has become a movement that brings awareness to the oppression women experience everyday. According to womensmarch.com, this movement advocates for reproductive rights, LGBT rights, ending domestic violence and more. The march is a peaceful one and does not include or support violent protests. The non-violent nature of the Women’s March has brought about criticism of its effectiveness. One argument against the movement suggests that there is no way of seeing real change by simply organizing a march. However, there is an incredible influence in a movement that is simply present, as has been demonstrated by past civil rights marches.

Donald Trump’s election as the President of the United States was perceived by progressive movements as a backward step in the women’s rights movement. Trump has allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward women and denouncing accessible reproductive health care, among other incidences. Holding the first Women’s March the day after he was inaugurated demonstrated to the world that there is a massive group of people who didn’t support this election. Trump succeeded in uniting the nation and “making America great again.”

 I believe that our nation needed Trump to be in this position of power. Although he supports most everything that I’m against, the vast amount of people who also disagree with him finally have a common goal to work against. The Women’s March is not about overthrowing Trump, but simply to show the U.S. there is a group that supports women’s rights and all the other movements that go with it. The women’s march has successfully united a diverse group of people who believe women’s rights are a necessity. This movement provides a place for everyone who feels oppressed, and even those who don’t. It’s about everyone knowing there is an advocate for them, they are known and seen and being fought for. Trump may have popularized the term, but it’s really the Women’s March that has actually made America great.

Contact Abby Nye at anye19@my.whitworth.edu

 

Feminism is a right, not an attack

Abby Nye

In 1837, French socialist Charles Fourier coined the term “feminisme,” or “feminism” in English. Fourier defined “feminism” as the advocating for the equality of women politically, socially, and economically according to the New World Encyclopedia. This ideology was developed based on the lack of liberation for women and focused on the gap that women could fill in order to reach the level of freedom that men had. The development of this concept intentionally excluded any mention of men’s freedoms and liberation. Feminism is not about taking away men’s rights and replacing them with women’s. It is entirely about working for women to be able to reach the level of freedom that men already have.

Since coming to Whitworth, I have been incredibly surprised by the amount of people who don’t call themselves a feminist. However, as I began to have conversations about this subject, I realized that there are many misconceptions about this “F” word that have rightfully deterred people. A common one I’ve heard is that feminism is the belief that women are better than men. Another is that feminism is a social movement that seeks to attack men and demand them to give up their rights and freedoms. I found this quite comical as the feminism that I’ve been familiar with had nothing to do with invalidating men. The feminism I know is about advocating for the recognition of underrepresented people and all those who feel taken advantage of by the social system in America.

While there is such a thing as “radical feminism,” which does advocate for the belief that women are better than men, feminism itself is simply the belief that women are deserving of all the rights and freedoms that men currently have. Feminism is not about men. Feminism is about the lived experiences of women throughout history and to this day who have suffered the consequences of societal punishment of being a woman. These punishments include lack of education, lack of reproductive rights, unequal pay, and the list goes on. Feminism is about every woman who has come before us, every women now, and all the women that are still to come.

It’s important to note that feminism is an advocate of other movements that work to overcome oppression and underrepresentation of different social groups. These groups include the LGBT rights, reproductive rights and domestic violence prevention. Working together, these groups have a stronger impact than alone. When you take part in the feminist movement, you are also taking part in the advocacy of many other groups working to overcome oppressive social structures.

Feminism is not an attack, it’s a right. All women have the right to have a say over their bodies, careers, and social standing. It is imperative to understand that feminism does not look to strip men of any rights or even condemn men for their sex. Feminism truly advocates for the equality of every single person. Men have as much of a right to equality as women do, so please consider this an invitation to join the ranks. The feminist movement is only going to gain momentum, so now is the time to jump on board. Don’t be afraid to call yourself a feminist. The sooner you can make a place for yourself in this movement, the more of an impact it can have.

Contact Abby Nye at anye19@my.whitworth.edu

 

 

Female autonomy rooted in Christianity

Abby Nye

Last week, President Trump made the decision to allow employers to choose whether or not they would provide free birth control through insurance for female employees. This decision was made to accommodate for employers’ religious beliefs, according to ABC News’ article, “Women’s health docs say Trump ignores birth control science”. What employers decide to do will say a lot about how the church views female autonomy. If many employers decided to take away that right to free birth control, it will be a nod toward the controlling tendency of a few church members over women’s rights. Autonomy is defined as acting on reasons that are one’s own, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Trump’s recent act provides employers with the right to take away a woman’s choice of contraception, and therefore her autonomy.

The decision is related to the one Whitworth President Beck Taylor made last spring to end Whitworth’s affiliation with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides free and accessible birth control to women without insurance. Both the national and school decision are reflections of how the church views female autonomy. President Taylor claimed that making the Planned Parenthood decision didn’t reflect the school’s opinion on female autonomy, but was a reflection of the church’s popular view against abortion.

Degrading a medical center that caters to the independent choices of women speaks to the underlying sexism pervasive in the Christian church. Similarly, Trump’s decision potentially prevents women from being able to make an independent and personal decision on the basis of religious beliefs. Both decisions reveal the popular fear the church has of female autonomy. If free birth control is one aspect of female autonomy, we must look at what it would mean to take it away, especially within a church context. To me, this decision is a direct refutation of the way that Jesus viewed women.

In Genesis 1:27 we are given the image of the creation of man and woman, both created equally in the image of God. In John 8, we see Jesus defending a woman who committed adultery. In John 4, Jesus calls a Samaritan woman to go and preach his word. In Luke 8, Jesus heals a woman who is debilitated with a reproductive ailment, and raises a young girl from the dead. Time and time again, we are provided examples of female equality, empowerment and autonomy supported by Jesus himself.  

Before any decision is made on behalf of all women on the basis of religious beliefs, it is imperative to understand where these beliefs come from. If it were really a decision made to accommodate for the church, then women should be provided with the choice of all medical decisions, especially her own birth control option. This decision seems to have been made to give more control to male government officials, and out of fear for female autonomy. Let us not forget that Jesus himself was the divine advocate for female autonomy and empowerment, and our decisions as Christians should be modeled after him.

Contact Abby Nye at anye19@my.whitworth.edu