Women are consistently harassed, belittled and disregarded in day-to-day life. They are under scrutiny regardless of how they perceive themselves. If a woman is confident, she is scolded for being vain. If a woman is unafraid to use her voice, she is ridiculed for speaking out of turn. This is especially true for female politicians who face a relentless barrage of harassment from citizens and fellow politicians alike, even though their job is to speak up.
Even when it seems as though women are finally receiving fair treatment in the world, there are still many who do not feel comfortable going to work because of the experiences they have in the workplace.
A 2018 LeanIn poll showed, “For 64% of women, microaggressions are a workplace reality. Women have to provide more evidence of their competence than men and are also twice as likely to have been mistaken for someone in a more junior position.”
It would be ignorant to deny that many women experience microaggressions regardless of their background. I would argue women with political power in the United States are some of the most harassed because they are in the nation’s sight at all times.
Furthermore, women only make up a small percentage of politicians in the U.S.
Represent Women, a nonpartisan reform group, provided several percentages to show how few women are involved in politics ranging from local government to the federal government.
“Women are 51% of the population in the U.S. but make up only 25% of the U.S. Senate, 23% of the U.S. House of Representatives, 29% of statewide elected executives, 29% of state legislative seats, 22% of mayors in cities with populations over 30,000 and 0% of presidents of the United States,” Represent Women reported.
Despite their sparsity, the women who have been elected deserve the utmost respect from the nation. At the very least, they deserve to be treated equally to their male colleagues.
Evidently, this is not the case, as President Donald Trump’s announcement Oct. 2 regarding his positive COVID-19 test resulted in death threats from many online, and got special treatment from social media platforms.
Soon after, Twitter stepped in and removed all the threatening comments and in a CNN article, Twitter announced, “Our policies — which apply to everyone, everywhere — are clear: We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual or group of people. If we identify accounts that violate these rules, we will take enforcement action.”
Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar, also known as “The Squad,” were taken aback with Twitter’s response as it was profoundly inconsistent with Twitter’s actions regarding similar threats female politicians have received online.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez repliedby saying, “So… you mean to tell us you could’ve done this the whole time?”
The entire Squad publicly suggested that Twitter has not treated threats against them in the same fashion they treat threats toward their male counterparts.
CNN added, “Members of The Squad have often been victims of brutal social media attacks,” and, “A quick Twitter search of their names followed by ‘hang for treason’ results in tweets from users calling for the deaths of the congresswomen.”
The double standard speaks volumes about the inconsistency and inaccuracy of Twitter’s claim to be strict about maintaining a safe environment for all who use the app. These women deserve to be protected from threats just as much as any other high-profile male politician.
The outright disrespect of female politicians does not remain exclusively behind a phone screen, though.
In July, Rep. Ted Yoho was caught verbally abusing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and using explicit words to belittle her, simply because of their difference in opinion.
The Hillreported on the entire confrontation and quoted Rep. Ocasio-Cortez who said, “I’ve never had that kind of abrupt, disgusting kind of disrespect levied at me.”
Later, she decided to own the situation and tweeted, “I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday. Believe it or not, I usually get along fine w/ my GOP colleagues. We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door. But hey, ‘b*tches’ get stuff done.”
Women do not deserve to be treated as inferior, especially when there are so few of them in positions of power. They should be respected because the odds are stacked against them in the political arena. At the very least, they should receive the same treatment as their male colleagues online and offline.