Is it possible that in a few years, feminists will be grateful that Trump was elected President?
Trust me, that’s a question that I never, ever, not in a million years, thought I’d ask myself. But I’m convinced that the answer is yes.
In 2011 I wrote my UC Berkeley honors thesis on “Making diversity in the workplace a strategic advantage.” Believe it or not, the idea was novel at the time. In 2014 and 2015, I facilitated the Unconscious Bias diversity training course at Google – and as a seasoned Googler let me tell you… there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm around that training.
But 2017 is different. Just six months ago, I launched Brains over Blonde, a feminist lifestyle platform for women who refuse to choose between femininity and success, and my Instagram account has organically grown to over 18,000 followers. Brains over Blonde celebrates women’s strength and power through content, tools, and coaching. The energy is palpable.
Who do I have to thank for this expeditious growth? Donald Trump. The deplorable, abhorrent, sexist man who inspired me to launch my business in the first place.
November 8th, 2016 is a day I’ll never forget. My roommates and I were huddled on the couch in my living room, wine in hand. Our eyes were glued to the screen in disbelief as our arrogant quips turned to silence, and eventually, tears.
I felt, heck, I knew, with one-hundred percent confidence, that Trump’s presidency was the worst possible thing that could happen for the feminist movement.
In many ways, I was right. The Trump administration has threatened women’s reproductive rights, legal rights, LGBTQ rights, and equal pay. But when a man who gloats about grabbing women by the genitals is running our country, how much more can we expect?
Turns out, a lot. It started with the largest protest in U.S. history, the Women’s March, which took place in over 500 locations in the U.S. and 198 in 84 other countries. On October 5, 2017, news broke of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. This spawned a cascade of accusations against powerful male moguls across industries, including Kevin Spacey, Shervin Pishevar, and Matt Lauer. Meanwhile, the #MeToo campaign broke the silence and took social media by storm. More women than ever before have decided to run for office. And who’s Time’s Person of the Year in 2017? The Silence Breakers. 2018 has already been named the Year of the Woman, and an 18-year-old bisexual high schooler named Emma González is leading the charge against gun violence.
This isn’t just about civil rights. It’s not just about rape culture. It’s not just about #girlboss. This is a whole new wave of feminism. For the first time ever, women are speaking up and people are actually listening without skepticism or judgment.
A year ago, some of the strongest women I know struggled to identify themselves as feminist. Now I don’t take a trip to the grocery store without seeing all genders rocking t-shirts with slogans like “Smash the patriarchy” and “Hands off my ovaries.” There’s rage in the air.
Women tell me that the night Trump was elected they felt helpless, hopeless, and small, like they didn’t matter. I believe that on that night countless women independently decided they’d never let anyone make them feel like they didn’t matter again. In the following months, they discovered other women made the same decision. They joined forces and built up support systems. They dethroned industry leaders. They went viral.
Trump gave the feminist movement something it desperately needed: a common enemy. People of all genders, races, and backgrounds look at Trump and see a physical manifestation of what they want to change in the world. His sexist comments helped Democrats and Republicans bridge party lines and rally together for gender equality. Trump gave feminists clarity about what they’re fighting for, and now it’s a full-blown war.
This is just the beginning. The shift we’ve seen in just the past few months is greater than the past ten years combined. Something BIG is about to happen. And when it does, maybe we’ll look back with gratitude that in 2016, Trump was elected President of the United States. Not because of his politics or who he is, but because his election spawned a gender revolution.
As today marks the first day of Women’s History Month, I invite you to #FlexYourFemale with me by tagging @brainsoverblonde and sharing why you’re PROUD to be a feminist. After #MeToo and #TimesUp, the next step is to celebrate women’s strength and power!