Opinion: No, it’s not ok

Lydia Taylor

Two days after the election, I was walking with a friend of mine, talking about the election, when two men walked past us and said: “This is why women shouldn’t be in politics.”

Of course, we confronted them. They kept making comments suggesting “women are what’s wrong with job markets” and how “controlling” we can be. They were saying women in media are the reason why President-elect Donald Trump had such a bad image to others. When we asked for their names, they refused to give them and walked away.

I have witnessed my fair share of ridicule based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture and sexual orientation, but not as recurrent as it has been since America elected Trump. Thousands across the nation started sharing stories on social media, with the topic of “Day One in Trump’s America” trending on Twitter.

I saw harsh comments online directed toward those who shared what had happened to them and why they were terrified. They were told to “quit their crying” and to “just accept what it is.”

Yes, people understand Trump will be president for the next four years, and as of right now, nothing can be done about it. But telling people to accept what is happening to those who are being attacked, called racial slurs, catcalled and dehumanized based on how they look or act is not something that should be accepted — nor should anyone become desensitized to it.

Any form of oppression legitimizes the protests, as these demonstrations serve as an outlet for those who feel that their voices are amplified in the presence of many.

Telling these people that their emotions are not valid is telling them that they don’t matter. It’s telling them that these horrific things that are happening to them is the new norm and they should just get used to it. After these past eight years, this nation has been working toward equality for all, and have succeeded in many areas. And we, as a nation, aren’t going to stop.

We will continue to stand together and support each other, whether it is through protests or social media. We will continue to combat hatred and violence with love and compassion. We will continue to fight for what we believe in and spread empathy for our fellow human beings in the face of adversity.

To the two men on campus who told me that women like myself have no place in politics or in the media: You have only empowered me and motivated me to prove you wrong. By upsetting a woman — more specifically, a woman with a future in media — you’ve sparked a desire to ensure that unsubstantiated rhetoric such as yours has no place in this country’s future.

I am a woman, I am a journalist, and one election won’t take that away.

Lydia Taylor is a guest columnist, contact her at [email protected].