3 women’s rights campaigns sparked by the US election

Lucy Purdy

From heartfelt outpourings on social media to colourful flashmobs with a sartorial twist, this year’s US presidential election has prompted a slew of women’s rights campaigns. We list three of our favourites

1. Celebrating feminist success: National Pantsuit Day

A tongue-in-cheek riff on Hillary’s favourite outfit, National Pantsuit Day unfolded with colourful aplomb across New York and five other major US cities on 22 October. From sharply-cut navy numbers with shining gold buttons to pleated tangerine statement two-pieces, women (and men) donned suits and marched in celebration of ‘shoulder-padded unity’.

“As a woman and independent business owner in New York City, I’m repeatedly reminded of all the ways in which females are not seen as equal to their male counterparts,” wrote co-creator of National Pantsuit Day, Lauren Benet Stephenson.

“We were tired of listening to continual tirades, smirking asides and dog whistles that insisted equality of all American citizens was just a fabrication by the liberal media. National Pantsuit Day was designed to recognise the progress we’ve made as a country, and the incredible work Hillary Clinton has accomplished to further the equal status of women and minorities. And, honestly, to add some much needed levity and fun to the conversation.”

National Pantsuit Day - October 2016

Image: Benjamin Sidoti/www.benjaminsidoti.com

2. “Not our shame anymore”

When old footage was revealed of Donald Trump describing how he “moved” on women, it prompted women all over the world to share their stories of assault. As more and more people heard the Republican candidate discuss his wooing methods [“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them…. And when you’re a star, they let you do it”] women in their thousands began to reveal often deeply personal tales of sexism and sexual assault.

Tweets containing the #NotOkay hashtag, originally shared by Canadian writer Kelly Oxford, began to flood in in their millions. Oxford later tweeted: “I am in such horrendous shock and yet so proud of the women sharing their assaults. #notokay‬‬ is trending in US. Not our shame anymore.”

Michelle Kwan, National Pantsuit Day - October 2016 - Benjamin Sidoti

US figure skater Michelle Kwan at the October National Pantsuit Day march in New York City. Image: Benjamin Sidoti/www.benjaminsidoti.com

3. Nasty women bite back

When Trump interrupted Clinton to brand her a “nasty woman” during one of the televised presidential debates, it didn’t go unnoticed by the internet. Some decided to turn the criticism into an empowering feminist message, with many using #IAmANastyWomanBecause to hammer the point home.

“#ImANastyWomanBecause‬‬ I’m not willing to stifle my intelligence to make the men around me more comfortable,” wrote one. Another woman shared: “#IAmANastyWomanBecause‬‬ I firmly believe that prioritizing education of the girl child will make the world a better place for ALL‬.”‬‬‬‬

Trump has so far failed to respond to Carolanne Monteleone from Pennsylvania who tweeted: “#IAmANastyWomanBecause‬‬ I believe a woman’s place is in the House (you know, the big white one built for presidents)‬.”

Nasty Woman t-shirt, Culture Flock. Image: Brenna Stark

A ‘Nasty Woman’ T-shirt produced after Trump’s words in one of the US presidential debates. Image: Brenna Stark/Culture Flock www.brennastark.com

Read our feature on how the US election has thrust gender equality into the spotlight.

Main image: Benjamin Sidoti/www.benjaminsidoti.com

  • Mikaela Branson

    Brenna stark for the photograph ?

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