Before I really get into what I want to say, I want to preface that this is not meant to be about politics. The country is in a very volatile place right now, with many people jumping at every chance they can to argue. No one seems to listen to each other, and although I try to do the opposite, I am often guilty of this myself. This year has been especially tough on everyone, with tensions rising in every point of life, disappointments around every corner, and triumphs coming only in strikingly ordinary moments. It’s been a weird year, with one big twist and many turns, and I honestly think we’re all getting motion sickness on this rollercoaster. However, on Saturday a triumph happened in an extraordinary moment, a moment of history.
It was a moment for every girl who had ever been told that she needed a man to be successful. It was a moment for every girl who once had a man say “I think what she meant to say was…” It was a moment for every girl who had learned since she was little that society judged her worth just by looking at her. For every woman and girl who’s ever been catcalled, who’s ever had to lie that she had a boyfriend just so that a man would respect her space. It was for every “joke” ever told about belonging in the kitchen, everything that has ever been deemed “not lady-like,” for every woman who has ever been hit on at work. It was for every woman of color whose name was overlooked on a job application because it was “too ethnic.” It was for every trans-woman who’s ever been told they weren’t a “real” woman. It was for every Black woman who’s ever been dismissed as “ghetto” just for sticking up for herself. It was for every Latina who’s ever been so over-sexualized by others that she isn’t taken seriously.
I could go on and on, but it was for every “it takes balls” comment about ambition, and it was remarkable. A half-Black, half-South Asian, daughter of an immigrant, was elected to be the Vice President of the United States of America. It made me cry. It made me feel like I could do anything. Since I am a white woman, I cannot speak for those with intersectional identities, but I’d imagine their reaction was filled with pride. It doesn’t mean that America is suddenly perfect; in fact it may never really be perfect, but representation is a step in the right direction. I just hope we can continue working towards equity because a step in the right direction means nothing if we are idle after it.
I know some of you are going to take my ‘little feminist speech’ and turn it into something like “man hating” because that’s what always seems to happen when women explain inequality. So don’t get me wrong, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by men who have always believed I was capable, if not more capable than they were. In fact, on Saturday night I got a text from my brother saying, “You listen to Kamala, every woman deserves to hear this. You can change the world,” and one from my Uncle saying, “What a moment in time for EVERY WOMAN on God’s green earth…” As for my dad, he sat there watching the speech with me, and didn’t even have to say anything because he was the first man to ever teach me that I was limitless. But I’ve also been raised by women whose strength and resilience radiate through everything they do, whose beauty lies in intelligence, and who showed me that doubting the abilities of a woman was one dangerous game to play. So in reality, I’ve always known I could do anything I set my mind to.
With this realization you may ask, well then why did you cry? You may be saying to yourself, why was this such a big deal? I cried because it broadcasted for the world what women have always known. We’d always known that we were unstoppable because if we weren’t, why would they have tried to limit us in the first place?
Here’s to Kamala Harris, the first-ever Madame Vice President. Here’s to hoping she’ll use her power to help repair this country. Here’s to all the women who’ve always known they were powerful. I believe there will be many more of us in office very soon. For now, wear your sneakers, there’s broken glass everywhere.
Anastasia Meininger, aka “Offbeat Rhythms”, is a high school student in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City. She lives with her parents and older brother, and her life is filled with her hilarious and loving Italian, Irish, Greek, and German family, as well as her wonderfully crazy, and diverse group of friends.
Anastasia is a normal, yet distinctly unique teenager who loves performing, making people laugh, and even going to school! Her favorite subject is Science, especially Chemistry, and when she’s not studying, you can find her at her dance studio, where she rehearses for her dance competitions and vocal showcases.