With such polarizing political opponents, one common message in this election season has been what the real issues are.
Feminism is a tricky little son of a bitch. If you’re really interested in one portion of feminism (let’s say equal pay) you may at some point feel chastised for not being as vocal or well-read in another portion of feminism (let’s say safety against assault.) This happens to me all the time. Sometimes I’m very keyed in to whats going on and other times I feel like I’ve completely missed an entire movement. I’m imperfect and you probably are too.
The election is trying to make us feel like some issues are important and others aren’t. That isn’t the case. Some things vary in importance to different people. Caring a lot about one thing doesn’t mean you don’t care about something else.
“Let’s get back to the real issues” may be the most divisive statement of the entire election.
What does it mean to be a real issue?
It’s fantastic to see politicians discussing women’s healthcare as a real issue. It’s disheartening that it required a woman in front of the microphone to make it happen. Bringing women’s health into the forefront of issues that matter has shaken out some nasty in this country. People are saying that it doesn’t matter. They want to hear about money, war, veterans, global warming, emails, taxes. We’re using what’s really important to distract from the fact that this is all important.
In the last month we’ve had two studies come out: one reporting what women have long know – birth control has a serious side effect of depression. Another reporting that male birth control isn’t ready for mainstream because it causes the same thing. For decades women have been prescribed pills with known side effects. Instead of pulling products that cause these side effects or being more vocal about the potential harm they might cause, women are greatly overprescribed things like anti-depressants and anxiety medication. Male birth control is important and a part of the feminist conversation. It’s also important to pay attention to how male birth control is treated differently than female birth control. In our culture, we are much less comfortable with men being depressed than we are with women being depressed.
While Hillary Clinton focuses on big trigger discussions like late-term abortion, I think it’s pretty undeniable that these discussions are shaking loose other important discussions. Like birth control, sexual assault, and equal pay. With a female president we may begin to open up new dialogues on the conscious and unconscious ways women are left behind.