Growing up, whenever I heard the word feminism, it was often negatively connotated, filled with stereotypes. It was as if the world wanted to tell the little girl in me “Trust me you don’t want to be a part of them”. There are many people who like to draw the picture that all feminists are angry, lesbian, men-hating, non-shaving women. Just to clarify, there is nothing abnormal or wrong with being lesbian or deciding not to shave, of course. But being a feminist can come in many different shapes and forms. I think that everyone who believes in women rights, who believes that men and women are equal, and who’s willing to voice this point of view can call themselves a feminist.
And today, we all have to be feminists. We all need to stand up for women. Even more than our generation has ever had to before. There are women in this world who are not allowed to execute their right to vote. There are still women in this world who are not allowed to leave their homes without their husband’s permission. There are still women in this world who do not get to decide who to marry. And, as of last week, there is one more country where women are not allowed to execute their right to reproductive freedom.
The older I grew, the more time passed, the more the American dream turned into a nightmare.
The American Nightmare
As a teenager, going to the US on vacation was everybody’s dream. We have all lived vicariously through our favorite TV show characters and imagined walking the streets of New York just like Blair Waldorf and Carrie Bradshaw did. In English class at school, we were taught the concept of the American dream. The opportunity to use one’s individual freedom to fulfill one’s goals in the golden country. The older I grew, the more time passed, the more the American dream turned into a nightmare – if it was ever a dream to begin with.
I do not want to live in a country in which a man who is openly voicing his hatred against women, homosexual and transgender people ruled over the nation for four years and whose decisions continue to haunt the country until the present day.
Women in the US have lost their right over their own body. In 1973, the supreme court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a women’s decision to get an abortion. This is the first time in history, the same court has taken away a constitutional right. We have moved fifty years back in time. I feel angry. Angry for every American woman who must wake up every morning from now on to the thought that her body does not belong to her but to the Supreme Court.
Media scholars have criticized journalists who frame the abortion debate as anti-abortionists vs pro-abortionists because the word ‘anti’ is negatively connotated. But being anti-abortion does not equal being pro-life. Forcing someone to give birth is not pro-life. Forcing a woman who has been raped to give birth is not pro-life. Forcing a woman who is being abused by her husband to stay with him because she is bearing his child and cannot leave, is not pro-life. Forcing a teenage girl to be a mother, making her give up her academic future, is not pro-life. And yes, even forcing a woman, whose life would not be threatened by being pregnant, is not pro-life.
Hundreds have said it before me, but it cannot be stated often enough. If you are anti-abortion, then do not get one. It is as simple as this. If your personal or religious beliefs forbid you to end your pregnancy, then do not end your pregnancy. No one is taking away your right to execute your religion. But do not force your beliefs on others.
This is only the beginning
And there is another devastating realization that follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Namely, how easy it is to take away rights that fall under the fourteenth commandment. News posts on Instagram have been spiraling about Supreme Court judges demanding to remove other rights: the right to contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage. In other words, this was only the beginning.
Not only has the court taken away fundamental rights, a few weeks earlier lawmakers have clearly demonstrated that even in the wake of the horrifying mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, gun restrictions are very unlikely. And so, the US has become a country, in which guns are more strongly protected than women.
The recent developments in the US are a wake-up call, not only for American women but for every single one of us. More than ever, we have to stand together and fight for our rights. This is not a national case. This is an international attack against women’s rights.
Photo: Derek French
Editor: Alexa Ciociu