To my fellow millennials,

By Adriana Rubio

Ugh. I don’t have the time or energy for this right now. Of course, I support gender- equality socially, economically, and politically! I’m all for it, but I have other things that need my attention. I need to focus on school, work, personal relationships, and I haven’t posted anything on Instagram in like a week. I don’t have time to be a feminist.

I get it. I was born in the 90s and am living the LA dream life. I’m a millennial whose hobbies include texting, buying expensive iced lattes and the newspaper is like totally for old people. I’m spoiled, we’re all spoiled, especially in Los Angeles. The radical women’s rights activism of the 1960s and 1970s is long gone at this point. Yeah, I’m thankful for it. Yeah, I support it. But are we equal now? Or at least close enough? That’s exactly what our patriarchal society wants us to think. It’s this sneaky little concept called Enlightened sexism. I’ll help define Enlightened sexism, since I’m betting 99.9 percent of students did not learn that term in your English or history courses grades K through twelve. Enlightened sexism is society saying, “hey girl, calm down. No need to be a crazy, man hating, bra burning little lady! We’ve achieved gender equality. You got your rights already! So, enjoy them and go make me a sandwich.” So basically, because we are protected under the law in work spaces and on the streets, then we are good. It’s Liberal LA anyway, we’re all equals.

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If we’re actually  protected under the law, then how did the major Hollywood sexual harassment scandals beginning with Harvey Weinstein fall through the cracks. Then came, Larry Nassar and my personal favorite, Donald Trump who also got away, and one still is getting away, with harassing hundreds of women for years, the leader of our country. Democracy at its finest! It’s important to recognize, they didn’t do it alone. They had some cheerleaders along the way helping them maintain their high-power positions at the top of the pyramid. Weinstein practically had all of Hollywood behind him, not very Liberal LA-like if you ask me. Nassar’s cheerleaders include these little organizations; USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the US Olympic Committee. Not sure if you’ve heard of them.

So yeah, while we’re busy working two jobs and going to college to get our costly degrees. So, we can join the workforce because “we can do anything we set our hearts to.” The world has a nice little wake- up call for all the pretty ladies. We can do it all, except becoming a CEO. And if you do break the glass ceiling and become a female CEO, (I have to say female because I don’t want you to picture a man) then welcome to the glass cliff effect. Not to be confused with the butterfly effect, the glass cliff effect means, when you get to the top, you’re going to be the only female CEO or one of two now that times are changing. The percentage of female CEOs is increasing but when compared to males, let’s just say we have a long way to go. In 2017, 27 of the Fortune 500 CEOs were female, according to Fortune. The most female CEO’s Fortune 500 has ever had, if you do the math that’s 5.4 percent. Oh, and most of them are white women. Shocking. And if you’re planning on being a female politician, get ready to be shushed for raising your voice above the appropriate tone for women, California Senator Kamala Harris can tell you all about that good stuff, according to Slate.

I know life can be hectic, and there’s so much to do in LA, and you’re only young once so you need to enjoy it. But, the future that’s out there still needs reforming. I know the word feminist can be socially and politically charged as well as intimidating, but to us because women still have not been universally taught that it is okay to be controversial, loud, and direct. We have some amazing female trailblazers who have paved the way and are currently paving the way for us right now, but ultimately the future is in our hands. It needs to be just as much her-story as it is history. We are the fifth wave of feminism. It’s here. There should be no need for sixth, seventh or an eighth wave of feminism. We can be the change. But first we have to participate. We need to go the marches,  have to make the phone calls to our congressmen, to vote, and need to call ourselves feminists.

Our country’s views have become so entangled politically, economically, and socially that we are completely corrupt. We’ve reached a point of entanglement that is no longer reversible. It’s like three pairs of headphones, in your pocket for days, intermixing and co-existing in this small space, becoming so interwoven it’s difficult to distinguish one from the other. They are, in fact, so interwoven that it’s now impossible to separate them, you just have to throw them out, like our government. While that may seem like a bit of an excessive notion, it does hold truth. We are apart of a nation that has been created and mostly run by men, white men. We’ve gone as far as we can go now, in choosing to be feminist and choosing to fight for our rights. Now, we don’t have that choice. Our world has pushed us to this point, we are all feminist and fighting for equality and if you choose not to, you are choosing to regress. It’s a collective effort. Los Angeles is known for its trendsetting abilities, so let’s set the trend; we are all feminist, or no one is.

 

Adriana Rubio