Written By: Emma Headrick
Just over a hundred years ago, on June 4, 1919, Congress passed the 19th amendment. This amendment granted women the right to vote after decades of advocating for women’s suffrage and was arguably the first time women had any influence in the political world. Now, as we approach the 101st anniversary, #repealthe19th is trending on multiple social media platforms and this leads everyone to two questions; how did we get this point and what lasting effects could it have on our society?
To truly understand the importance of this amendment, you must first know what it protects. The 19th amendment is as follows:
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
To put this in simpler terms, it basically means that your right to vote can not be taken away on account of your gender. This right is protected by the United States Constitution and therefore can never be infringed upon. But as history has proven time and time again, a simple inalienable right is often overlooked by those whose hearts are filled with hate.
For centuries, it has been preached that women are inferior to men and even today, as our society has progressed into a place of equality, these demeaning beliefs can be found in just about any place you look. Men have given women many ‘nicknames’ such as dishwasher, sandwich maker and, possibly the most demeaning of all, females. While these may seem like harmless jokes, they can cause lifelong problems for many young girls who may see these ‘jokes.’
I can vividly remember the first time one of these jokes made me feel like I was less than human. It was in preschool and one of my friends said that girls had to stay in the kitchen because they talked too much to be in the living room. All of the boys laughed and at just four years old, I thought that what he said was true. It wasn’t until I told my mother about it that night that I realized what had happened.
Many men are defending #repealthe19th in a similar way. They claim it’s a form of comedy, a way to get a laugh or two. But what many of these men fail to realize is how damaging these jokes can be for the young boys and girls who see them. It teaches young boys that it is okay to demean women under the guise of a joke and it teaches young girls that being treated as inferior is normal.
In order to finally rid our society of misogyny and true inequality, we must first start with ourselves. We must teach younger generations that it isn’t okay to demean anyone for any reason and as long as things like #repealthe19th exist, we will never have true equality among the sexes.