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Gender Politics This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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My experience with bullying is different from the typical encounters my peers have faced. I was never thrown into a trash can or shoved into a locker, and I never had girls spread vicious rumors about me. My bullying goes like this: when I walk outside, there will usually be at least one male who finds it appropriate to make comments about my body or slap my butt. I do my best to brush off these remarks and give the misogynist a piece of my mind. Still, I am bothered by this overt sexism. I believe it is connected to the attitude toward women by eminent members of the media and men in high political positions.

Observe the media, and it’s clear that what really matters to Americans is not how smart a woman is, but how she looks and acts. When Hillary Clinton was running for president, Fox News’ political commentator Rush Limbaugh said, “Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she’s getting older because it’ll impact poll numbers, it’ll impact perceptions.” Hillary Clinton is an idol for all women because she stands up for what she believes and refuses to accept patriarchy. But Marc Rudov, a media personality, thinks differently. He says, “[Hillary Clinton] is not called a b-word because she’s ­assertive and aggressive; she’s called a b-word because she acts like one.”

I constantly worry about what this means for me, a teenage girl, growing up in an environment where powerful women are criticized in this way by the media. When the most influential women in our society are being censured for being successful, it’s discouraging to women of my generation. I hope that people will not judge me for my looks or for standing up for what I believe in, but based on the media today, I realize that it’s inevitable. Women should not have to put up with demoralizing comments about our bodies and feelings. I try to stand up for what I believe, but when successful women are judged for just that, it makes me even more insecure of myself.

Nonetheless, I know that men do not have permission to touch or comment on my body just because I am in a public place. Nobody has the right to make fun of me for how I act, what I do, or what I believe; my feelings and emotions are valid.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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