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do not shame me for being a woman

Jennie O'Dell

We have already finished the first month of 2017. Holy crap, right? While the majority of us could not wait to get out of 2016, claiming that we needed the new year for a fresh start, why does it feel like we just entered 1917? I would hope all of you that are reading this would agree that the issues in our government have escalated both quickly, and drastically within the past two weeks that we have had a new president.

As well, I hope all of you that are reading this would agree that these issues in our government are inhumane, distasteful, disrespectful, and overall, a terrible embarrassment for our country. This may seem a little harsh. At first, I thought so too. 

Then, three days into his presidency, on January 23rd, surrounded by several other white men, our leader signed an executive order to defund any organization that has been put in place for women and couples around the world to receive family planning help and contraceptives. These two terms are unfortunately SO broad that a large majority of Americans assume that the only thing this funding provides is abortions. Which, by the way, is illegal, and has been for about 44 years now, due to The Helms Amendment in 1973.

With an overflowing amount of heartbreak, disappointment, and anger, I took to Facebook with my first political post ever (dangerous, I know). I shared a link to Huffington Post's article titled "Donald Trump Signs Anti-Abortion Executive Order Surrounded By Men" because it did a really thorough job on explaining the executive order and its complications. Then it all blew up. Without even READING the article that I shared, "friends" of mine on Facebook burned their words into my post. With claims that they didn't want their "tax dollars to be used on abortions", "killing babies", "murder", I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Not only because their words were frustrating, but because they didn't even read the article! Nor did they do their research to educate themselves about their opinion in the first place. And it really struck me because they were all men.

Feeling overwhelmed, I didn't know what I was mad at more- the fact that these people weren't educated about the words coming out of their mouth, or at Huffington Post for picking probably the worst headline ever. While abortion was a matter in the article, it really didn't have anything to do with what the executive order was prohibiting. I concluded that I was more disappointed that people feel so strongly about their opinion and so strongly against yours, but they don't even read the article. They read the headline. The headline is not the product, the information, the knowledge. The headline is the advertisement. The article is what matters. It's what's rich in what you can dissect to form your opinion.

Let's rewind to Saturday, January 21st, two days before this executive order was signed.

Women's March 2017.

Women's March 2017.

Women's Marches were taking place in cities across the globe, even in our tiny state of not even 2 million people! Although I attended the march in Omaha, I learned more about the march in our capitol, Lincoln. During our Omaha store's holiday party, it came to my attention that Lincoln's march had a few more haters than Omaha's. And it involved a UNL fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, or "Fiji". My mouth was agape during the hearing of this news. These boys, holding a plethora "Trump/Pence" signs, shouted a variety of things to marchers. One thing including "Build That Wall", and another (hold your mouth, it's about to fall open), "No Means Yes". 

Let that sink in. COLLEGE BOYS were shouting "No Means Yes" at WOMEN. Women marching in the streets for their rights. Like rape culture isn't brushed under the rug enough?! I was so disgusted after hearing this news. AND that this actually happened. In real life. In our lovely little state, which I, and everyone else I know, is proud to call our home.

UNL's Fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, or "Fiji". Photo by Calla Kessler.

UNL's Fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, or "Fiji". Photo by Calla Kessler.

I couldn't help but make a connection that all of these men, whether in the Oval Office or at a fraternity in Lincoln, Nebraska, were trying to tell women what they could and couldn't do with their bodies? Telling women that men were allowed to make decisions about bodies that weren't even theirs. More so, about bodies that they really couldn't relate to.

As disappointing and ridiculous as all of this is, I have never felt prouder to be a woman. To come from a long line of women. To belong to a gender that is so fearless, so powerful, and so kickass. I come to work everyday to a business based solely off of the empowerment of a woman. I come to work everyday surrounded by women that are supportive, daring, and intelligent.

The world may attempt to make us feel lesser than we are, that our voices don't matter, or that we don't deserve the same rights as any other human. BUT we will be resilient. So, world, do not shame me for being a woman. It simply will not work.

Always beyourself,

Taylor