The last 10 years may have just been feminism’s most schizophrenic. On the one hand, feminist blogging helped to change the media landscape forever, and #MeToo forever changed the national conversation on harassment and assault. Yet at the same time, reproductive rights were eroded, violence against women persisted, and the world’s most infamous misogynist was elected president of the United States.
Donald Trump’s election may very well be the hardest development to get over (both emotionally and politically), and it may end up defining the decade in feminism. His election was, after all, in large part a racist and sexist backlash to gains made under Barack Obama, and empowering a man accused by dozens of women of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment sort of overshadows all of the other issues feminists have been grappling with these last 10 years.
So if you’re feeling down about the state of women’s rights here are some pleasant reminders: Ten years ago, feminism was only starting to gain the mainstream acceptance it now enjoys. I love that my daughter won’t deal with the bizarre feminist stereotypes I grew up with — that women who care about equality are all man-hating shrews. And it’s amazing to see how so many journalism outlets now have a gender beat; it was only a few years ago that feminism was seen as a niche issue that everyday Americans didn’t care about.
Feminism went from being maligned to being praised by politicians and celebrities alike. I grew up in a world where magazine covers were declaring feminism dead and pop culture portrayed it as a joke; today the movement has actual cultural cachet.