I’ve been writing columns for years; sometimes once a week, sometimes a few times a week, sometimes (back when I was blogging a million years ago) a few times a day. No matter how infrequently I publish, finding subjects to write about can be tough. There’s always a week when the news feels sparse or inspiration just doesn’t strike. That hasn’t really been the case of the last two years, the time I’ve spent writing at GEN.
Between Donald Trump’s presidency, the resulting rollback of hard-won reproductive rights, and a global pandemic, there’s been no shortage of headlines to stress over or dissect. Being the person that needs to react to the news — often within hours of it happening — can be incredibly overwhelming. I’ve sometimes longed for the days when I had nothing in particular on my mind.
So for my last column at GEN, I thought I’d share a few truths, as pessimistic as they might be, that I’ve learned in the busiest two years of my professional life and arguably the worst two years in modern American life. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the lessons that have stuck with me the most.
This country does not care about rape
Our country has never really grappled with the fact that the then-president was accused of rape, sexual abuse, and harassment dozens of times over. Sure, we’d get an article every now and then — usually in the form of a new allegation — but soon after everyone would just go about their day. In part, it’s because of who gets to frame the national conversation (men), but it’s also because Americans have come to see violence against women as a given rather than an anomaly.
I write about misogyny for a living, so it doesn’t surprise me, necessarily, but it’s still deeply depressing to get tangible proof that those in power — publishers and editors of national newspapers and magazines, cable news heads, political leaders, and more — see sexual violence against women as something…