FOR THE QC
As I lay down on my soft, gray rug Saturday night in my dorm, watching Halloween movies with my best friend, I felt at a loss. I wanted to stay curled up on the floor forever in safety. Only a few minutes before our movie night, my best friend told me that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, had been confirmed as the 114th United States Supreme Court Justice. Flipping through my Instagram feed, pictures of Amber Rose’s SlutWalk filled my phone. There were women and men wearing provocative clothing and holding signs protesting against sexual assault and violence. It was ironic that such an empowering event happened right as Kavanaugh was confirmed. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward and tried to legitimize the voices of those who are telling stories of the #MeToo movement and how men are supposed to be held accountable for their actions, but Kavanaugh’s appointment proves he was not. It’s as if all the effort we have put in these past years to stop sexual assaults and violence meant nothing. It makes me sick.
After weeks of following the Kavanaugh case, I was upset to find that, after Dr. Ford came forward with such a personal statement and with such bravery, sentiments of “boys will be boys” won again. Even if the President of the United States had admitted publicly to sexually assaulting and groping women; the argument continues to be “boys will be boys.” This is unacceptable. I have close friends coming to me in tears because they feel like their hope was taken away from them.
Women I know and care for have gone through loss, pain, sexual assault, and rape. Kavanaugh being confirmed is yet more proof that these men put in powerful positions are able to do and say whatever they want and get away with it. I feel frightened — this is not just another Supreme Court confirmation. This is a regression in the fight for women’s rights, a step back in our efforts to assert ourselves. With all the talk about #MeToo and sexual assault cases being brought to light, how could our own Supreme Court Justice be pardoned? It doesn’t seem fair to me. It saddens me that our country let this happen.
Let me be clear, men individually are not the problem. They’re a part of a larger culture that doesn’t teach respect for women or hold men accountable for their actions. On top of this, we have powerful leaders who are considered untouchable. Our societal norms that need to be changed. These norms are reinforcing inappropriate ideas created by this male culture of entitlement. It is this culture of male entitlement that needs to change. Women are objectified and seen as sex objects. Older men still continue to model bad behavior towards women and treat them as objects instead of as equals. They begin to have this sense of entitlement because society lets them be that way.
Male entitlement and being untouchable is exactly what happened with both Trump and Kavanaugh. Entitled, powerful men have never been held fully accountable for their actions. This is a societal norm that has been fostered even before these men had high-level jobs. As a preparatory school alumna, I have seen cases go through the private school sector that were not addressed correctly. Boys were expelled from schools for sexual assault, but their friends at the schools continued to bully and belittle the victim of the assault. The boys expelled got a slap on the wrist, while the victims continue and will continue to be blamed and bullied. The boys have zero accountability for their actions, and this needs to change. They only followed what they know from these environments.
The United States was founded upon the ideal that all citizens are created equal, but women and people of color have had to fight to attain those basic rights that were already given to the higher up men in American society. We deserve equal rights and equal protection under the law of the United States. Is that too much to ask? Isn’t that what our country promised in the first place?
Unless U.S. citizens hold entitled males accountable, these cases will continue to happen. I know both men and women who are appalled by this confirmation. Both men and women have come together to stand unified as one, and to protest Kavanaugh’s confirmation. To the men who support women and fight for our rights, I applaud you. All genders are equal in how they make a difference.
Most people I have talked to have expressed a loss of faith in our political system. Our confidence in our political leaders is now at an all-time low. It started my first year of college, Fall of 2016, when Trump won the presidential election. Everyone expected Hillary Clinton to win; none of us expected the impossible to happen, but it did. Now history has repeated itself with the Kavanaugh confirmation. Our system is strained by an unhealthy power structure that relates closely to male entitlement. With Dr. Ford’s efforts, we believed that men like Kavanaugh and Trump would be held accountable, but we were wrong. For men like this to be held accountable for their actions, it threatens their power structure and demands that they share the power. But isn’t that what the U.S. wants? Isn’t equal protection and representation what we strive for?
So, why does this matter? Why should you care? As members of the next generation, this is our responsibility. We complain about our political system being too polarized. We complain about how there’s no good way to make a difference. We blame the generations before us and don’t go out to try and fix the mistakes they have made. As a result, we end up with untouchable leaders and disasters like the Kavanaugh confirmation.
This has happened because people are fed up with our political system. I encourage everyone to challenge the idea of giving up on our political system. If we don’t go out and vote, how will we change our country for the better? Voting is a way for us to hold these leaders accountable for their actions. Our frustration with the powerful figures who supported this confirmation and cater to this unhealthy political system will not change unless you vote them out of office. Our message won’t be heard unless we take away their power. We’re the change that needs to happen.