• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Anxiety, the Media and a New Feminist Revolution

Signing up for the battles.

February 7, 2017

Lately, I have not been sleeping well, nor able to stop reading the news. I understand that I am not alone on my campus.

An increase in anxiety is not a new thing for universities. In the past decade campuses have seen a rise in emergency mental health requests. Anxiety, depression, pharmaceutical dependency and an elevated demand for mental health care are widely reported, particularly for women.  In the last decade--as social media usage has surged and the economy has tanked--suicide rates amongst both young and older women have risen significantly.  Popular culture is loaded with shows such as “Nip and Tuck,” Botox infomercials, and the ever-present Victoria’s Secret ‘soft core’ ads that create competitive and exhausting visual environments for average female bodies. 

And then came the 2016 U.S. presidential election…. 

Yes, the election was a Fox news-sponsored working class revolution. Yes, it was an electoral college slapdown; a jolt “to wake us the f--k up” as Madonna exclaimed at the Jan. 21st Women’s March on Washington.  And yes, the misogyny and “locker room talk” upset millions of women worldwide.

So now what? My “Nasty Woman” and “This Pussy Grabs Back” t-shirts that my daughter and I bought at the D.C. march are a cathartic start to a counter feminist revolution. But what do we do to combat the depression and anxiety following an election where women’s issues were both demeaned and sidelined as unimportant?

The election results made the economic dilemmas and the failures of government to assist a disappearing middle class very clear. It should be no surprise that poverty and a suspicion of the privileged elite (intellectual or economic) outweighed racism and sexual assault as turn-out the vote issues.  All of these are the issues we must reconnect on. Women are particularly experienced with poverty and must tackle it across class lines.

Fortunately, the revolution that started in D.C. continues--“Huddle” groups have started meeting around the country since the march — “First We Marched, Now We Huddle”; sites such as “whatdoidoabouttrump.com”  feature “My Civic Workout” and a mission “to help those feeling overwhelmed, daunted, and disheartened to engage in meaningful civic activism.” Congressional phone lines have been clogged. Street and airport protests are ongoing. Ivanka Trump’s fashion line has been pulled from Nordstrom’s.

This is the kind of historical focus that Mama Phd’s need to document, study and reference.  It’s not easy to follow up after creating the United States’s single largest day of mass protest, particularly when the Trump administration issues “outrageous” executive orders almost daily, attempting to dismantle regulations so quickly that the public barely has time to focus, much less discuss significant historical events.

So what’s the next battlefield for the new feminist revolution?  Immigrant mothers? The ACA? Child care? Roe v. Wade?  How about a general “women’s strike”? 

Sign me up.


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