Last week, while scrolling through my monotonous Facebook feed filled with people complaining about Trump this and Trump that, I came across a post that stood out to me. Posted by my most liberal friend whom I love dearly (even though we rarely agree on anything), it focused on scientist Veronika Hubney being interrupted by a man when explaining her groundbreaking research. As a fellow woman with a passion for STEM—shoutout to the 20 hours a week I spent on CS50—I was outraged that her male panelist felt himself in a position to “mansplain” Hubney’s research to her. However, after finishing the minute-long clip, I found that incident was not the video’s most disturbing element.
Following Hillary’s loss in the 2016 presidential election, feminists have become stunningly more aware of the inequalities and hardships faced by women every day solely because of their gender. While I agree that it is of utmost importance to recognize where sexism is present and can hide in the world around us, there is an error in the way feminist media tells its stories that seems to hinder society from moving in a direction towards equality.
For example, the title of the clip read “This scientist just had her own research mansplained to her.” While surely gripping, neither it nor the video’s description utilized Hubney’s name. As a result, the clip seemed to be solely focused on the negative—the fact that Hubney was mistreated by a man in an offensive manner—rather than praising her stellar new research.
Shedding light on issues of sexism is necessary, but if we really want to make progress regarding the way women are treated and regarded, we should speak of them in a manner we wish others to adopt as well. I was disappointed to find that, after highlighting the interruption, it failed to discuss what Hubney’s work was even about.
Here lies the problem. Following Trump’s presidential win, liberal feminist media has chosen to primarily focus on the ways women are mistreated in society. Yes, Hillary’s loss has demonstrated that the United States continues to view objectively more qualified women as lesser than their male counterparts, but it has also shown us that, now more than ever, it is important for women to become and remain powerful. A female president does not sit on the horizon if our country remains focused on what the world is doing to women, rather than what women are doing for the world.
It is a shame that Hubney first appeared on my timeline as a victim rather than a warrior. It is regrettable that she was a victim to begin with, but this media portrayal stripped her of her power nearly as much as did her male panelist. I want to hear about what she is contributing to the worlds of string theory and quantum gravity, which I can barely begin to comprehend. I want to hear about all the women thriving in STEM fields despite the discrimination they face. I want to hear about all the women who are choosing to continue to pursue politics, and who are succeeding, even when the current state of our nation could not be less in their favor.
Ever since last November, the glass ceiling has begun to appear further and further away. Liberal feminist media is pulling women back instead of urging them to run towards it. The perpetual frustration with the United States I see on my Facebook timeline everyday should be encouraging people to get involved, to fight for what they believe is right, and to stand strong during turmoil. Get angry, but channel it into something outside of a perpetual cycle of negativity.
Women always have been and always will be immensely powerful. Let’s keep talking about that.
Madeleine L. Lapuerta ’20 lives in Leverett House. Her column appears on alternate Tuesdays.
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