President Trump’s State of the Union address touched on many issues, and resolved for a better relationship within the political parties in the government. Trump even spoke of the largest female body serving in Congress, which drew appreciation from everyone present. Yet, the reason of why women were suddenly running for office was not even mentioned. Spurred on by the #MeToo movement, by issues regarding immigration and race, these women joined Congress because they felt misrepresented and unheard. Because of President Trump and of men like him.
In 1776, when America was fighting for independence from Britain, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband to remember the nation’s women. “I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
“I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
Of course, there was no female rebellion involving weapons and warfare. Yet, there were suffragette and suffragists who continuously and tirelessly fought to receive the right to vote.
150 years after Abigail wrote that letter to her husband, the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote, was passed.
Today’s women may have the right to vote, but are still working for equal wages, for the access to an abortion and body autonomy, and be respectfully treated as human beings. The outrageous and misogynistic actions and assaults against women that have been widely discussed by the media have riled women up enough to have a historic amount be serving in office.
Women, then and now, may have had achieved one right but continued to fight for more. In the beginning, Abigail Adams warned her husband not to let other men stifle their wives. That blossomed a century later into women receiving the vote. President Trump had the infamous “grab ’em by the pu**y” tape that enraged women nationwide into fighting for the right to be respected and to be in a position of power where women would not be demeaned in such a way. Women of color are also using this Congressional platform to highlight the divides of race, class, religion, sexuality and other factors that may not have been considered in addition to gender.
President Trump failed to mention why so many women ran for office– presumably because he does not recognize what he has done wrong. There are many men like President Trump in the world, and there always will be. There have also been men like him in the past. But, there have also been feminists and women fighting for what is right. And Abigail Adams was right, because when there was no care paid to women, a rebellion was formed by women of different backgrounds who did not like being attacked and insulted by lawmakers, who did not like being restricted by laws, who had no voice and representation.
So, I repeat her warning: remember the ladies.