Posted on Leave a comment

Why are People Talking About Repealing the 19th Amendment?

By: Hayley Morris

If you’ve been on Twitter, Instagram, or Tiktok in the past few weeks, you may have seen some posts regarding people discovering there is a movement to repeal the 19th amendment, which historically granted women the right to vote in 1920. When I first saw these posts, I was shocked, immediately googling the hashtag “repealthe19th.” Turns out, this has been a movement going on for a while, mainly by avid Trump supporters since he took office in 2016. But why?

Analysis from the 2016 election showed that if only women had voted, democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would have won by a landslide. On the flip side, this same statistic was drawn with only men voting, and republican candidate Donald Trump would have won by a far greater margin than before. This appeared to spark a gender debate in which loyal trump supporters began to suggest repealing the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Since this initial hashtag, it has cropped up every now and again, often to “mock” feminists and stir an already boiling political cauldron. Now the trend is back again, but it seems to be more serious for some. Why is this happening?

The most obvious reason points to the upcoming 2020 election between democratic candidate Joe Biden and the incumbent Donald Trump. Many early statistics portray Biden winning by a slim margin, a fact that has some loyal Trump supporters nervous. Taking the statistics from the 2016 election, these supporters appear to feel threatened by this survey and are once again calling for the 19th amendment to be repealed. 

The issue with this mindset is that it completely undermines democratic and fair elections. By noting that a greater majority of women tend to vote liberal and thus attempting to shove them out of the voting pool to ensure one’s preferred candidate wins, these voters are essentially claiming that they are OK with rigged elections and an undemocratic governmental and political system. Doesn’t that seem to contradict the American standards these voters go on boasting about every day?

In addition, female POC tend to lean even further to the left than just white women alone. Repealing the 19th amendment would disproportionately affect these groups, resulting in a much more skewed data pool. Ultimately, the suggestion of repealing a woman’s right to vote reflects the deep-rooted misogyny present within much of the American political system, arguing that a woman’s political views are “uneducated” simply because they contradict the belief of someone else. Silencing others reflects a failed and broken political state of mind. It is up to American voters to accept political differences on both sides of the fence to prevent further alienation.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Effects of COVID-19 Upon Guns and Gun Violence

By: Hayley Morris

You’ve probably seen the headline declaring that March 2020 was the first March since 2002 with no school shootings. It’s a chilling statement, bundling 18 years of consistent gun violence on campuses into one statistic, leaving many to wonder what this knowledge means for the future.

When COVID-19 began to strike the United States, most public schools and colleges were closed in early March to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness. This meant for most of the month, campuses nation-wide were abandoned as students continued their studies at home. This also meant there was no populated campus to be targeted during this entire month.

However, despite the decrease in gun violence, there has been a massive increase in gun sales since the pandemic started, with 3.7 million background checks conducted by the FBI and 2 million guns sold in March alone, a number that skyrockets past previous months and years. This statistic is largely due to the fact many families now feel the need to protect themselves from possible crime rather than relying on the police. Many families feel as though the police will be unable to properly perform their job considering the various restrictions and social guidelines that have been implemented since the outbreak of COVID-19. The problem with this response is that it suggests two ideas: one being that the police cannot effectively enforce the law and prevent crime, and the second that there is a comfort from fear and anxiety to be found in buying and owning weapons.

It has many people asking the worrying question of what will happen to the statistics of shootings on campuses once the pandemic is over. Will the United States have a few months of zero school shootings (the way that statistic should always be) before reverting back to what is morbidly known as “normal”? Will the occurrences be even higher due to the massive outflow of guns into the American population since the pandemic began? And if so, what will be the people and the government’s response? Will they recognize there is an issue, finally, and take charge, or counter that there’s nothing that can be done, that this is just the way things have to be in order for the 2nd amendment to be fully protected?

These are uncomfortable questions. They put the true horror of gun violence into the spotlight. They make parents ask the question, after this pandemic, am I just supposed to send my child back to a place that seems to be more dangerous than keeping them at home? If that’s the case, why send them back? Why put my child in unnecessary danger?

Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children right after car crashes in the United States. That should not be considered normal under any circumstances.

This poses the question: what is to be done? That’s a debate that’s been going on for years, but whether you’re for or against Americans owning firearms, you must be able to agree that something needs to be done to protect children. There have already been 55 mass shootings as of February 29 this year. Do you really want to see that number go up?

The focus of this debate needs to move away from the 2nd amendment and whether certain grammatical choices mean one thing or another. The fight over words is mindless. What matters is human lives and how they’re affected, recognizing there needs to be a line drawn between the unpreventable and the ridiculous, and how to effectively respond and ensure the continued safety of children in schools, because that statistic should always be zero.

March 2020 with no school shootings since 2002 is not a headline to celebrate. It’s one to be fearful of.

Posted on Leave a comment

A Brief Summary of Institutionalized Sexism

By: Hayley Morris

Age 1:

Age 2:

Age 3:

Age 4: I don’t really understand why there is a boy’s and girl’s toys section and why I’m only allowed the barbie dolls, because those race cars look pretty cool. But I’m four years old, so I don’t really care.

Age 5:

Age 6:

Age 7:

Age 8: 

Age 9: “I need a strong boy to help me carry these books up to the office” I raise my hand. The teacher looks past me, picking a boy who is definitely smaller and I bet not as strong as me. Hmph. I frown. Why can’t I help? I think I’m pretty strong. I am the tallest in the class after all. Whatever. I can’t wait for lunch.

Age 10:


12:  “So, who do you have a crush on?” I stop chewing, setting down my sandwich. The whole table is watching me expectantly. Every other girl likes a boy in our class. Even if I don’t, maybe I should just say someone’s name. “Uhhh, Daniel,” I manage. “Really? Daniel? I would have thought Caleb or maybe Michael.” “Oh, haha, well, sure, they’re cute too! Really, I think all the boys in our class are cute, don’t you?” Wait, why is everyone looking at me? “Oh my god, slut.” I don’t know what that word means. I shrug it off. I’ll ask my mom when I get home.

13: Do I like girls? Woah. Nope. Bad train of thought. You’ve got enough to worry about. Forget about it.

14: He wraps his arm around my shoulders, palm pressing possessively into my skin. No, no. I told him I just wanted to be friends. Why is he doing this? Should I say something? The classroom is only a thirty-second walk away, maybe it’ll be okay. I can feel his thumb brushing against my neck and I think the sandwich I ate at lunch is threatening to come up. Ew, I can’t throw up. That’s gross. Just a little further. Wait, wait, what? He wants to walk me home? I can’t. I’m going to snap. “Look,” I say, stepping away, away from his grasp and folding my arms. “I don’t like you like that. I don’t know how much clearer I can be. I’m not interested and I don’t want you to walk me home. Stay away from me.”  Wheph. That felt good. Was I too harsh? No, surely not. This will blow over. Wait, what  do you mean people are calling me a bitch? Because they overheard? Maybe I was too  harsh. I shouldn’t have said anything. 

15: A new boy this time. He said something vulgar about what he’d do to me behind my back. I  feel sick. And now I can feel him standing behind me while I sit at my desk. His hands  are grazing up my shoulders, sinking into my hair. I won’t say anything. Did you see  what happened last time? I’ll just make it worse for myself. Club will be over in thirty minutes. I can make it. Then I can go home. It’s just another day.

16: Another boy? I gave him my number because he said he wanted to be my friend. Now he  won’t stop calling and talking about me and telling me he’ll hurt himself if I leave him. What am I supposed to do? I have to stay. If he hurts himself because of me I don’t know what I’d do. No. I have to keep talking to him, even if he ignored it when I said I just  wanted to be friends. 

I think I like girls. Shit. That can’t get out. Do you know how much privilege you’ll lose? Stop it. Just look at that boy over there. Yeah. He’s kind of pretty, I guess. Stop looking at  her. Someone will suspect you. You’ll make everyone in your ballet class uncomfortable. Stop it. You’re straight.

“I need a strong boy to help me push this cart.” I rest my head on my palm, zoning out.

“Woah, why’re being so fragile? I just said one thing.” I bite my lip, nodding. “Yeah,  probably just PMSing right?” “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.” What? No, I was kidding. Jesus. Forget it, they’re not listening anymore.

17: Is that car following me home? I just read an article today about a woman who was murdered  by a car following her. They’ve taken the same past three turns as me. I can’t see who is  driving the car. What do I do? Should I call my parents? Wait, if I turn down here-no they followed me. Okay, just breathe. Breathe. You’re panicking. Calm down. Wait, wait,  they’re slowing, they’re turning onto another street-oh thank God. But what if they’re just  finding a less suspicious way to follow me? I don’t know. Remember what mom taught  you. Get out of the car, hold your car keys in your fist, sharp point out. It’s a ten-second  run from the driveway to the house. You’re almost home. Just be ready. Just in case. Just  in case you need to protect yourself.

“You’ve never had a boyfriend because you’re too picky.” Excuse me? You’re telling me to lower my expectations? “I dunno, it might be because of the way you dress. Try a skirt or something, and do your makeup. I really can’t believe you’ve never been in a relationship. You’re running out of time.” I’m running out of time?? 

Maybe I should take a self-defense class. You need to protect yourself.

“Okay, never mind, you’re clearly not getting it.” His voice slows, as though he’s reprimanding a child. “Maybe the concept is too much for you.” I raise my brows. Because it’s science? “Maybe I shouldn’t have taken the honors class,” I joke, waiting to see what he says. “Yeah,” he mutters, turning away. My heart sinks.

“The truth is, women are more likely to be paid less than their male counterparts, women of color especially so. The gap is slowly closing, but there is still a long way to go.” I sit back in my chair, silent. This isn’t exactly what I wanted to hear heading into the adult world.

18: “I’m bisexual, but keep it lowkey, please? I don’t want other people to know.” I have to protect myself.

“Wait, you’re majoring in English next year? But you’re so good at math for a girl, you shouldn’t let that go to waste.” I frown, trying to hide my frustration. “But I don’t like math.” He shrugs. “Whatever. You’re not going to make as much money writing stories. I think you’re wasting talent.” Well, I thought I was pretty decent at writing too. Jeez. 

“Uh, what are you doing?” A random boy is jerking the computer cart out of my hands. The one I’m pushing towards the classroom. “You were struggling, let me.” He begins to fiddle with the cart. I really wasn’t, but there’s no point in arguing. Just shut your mouth and show him where to go.

Shit. Where did I park? It’s dark. Oh, you are an idiot. You should have parked closer to the store. Just… just walk fast okay. I told you to buy that rape whistle last week and you didn’t. Haven’t you read all of those articles? Seen all of those stories. Okay fine, the moment I get home, I’ll order one.

His fingers press against the small of my back for a second and then are gone. I cringe into myself, pulling the skirt of my dress lower. Oh, shut up, he was just pushing you aside to get through. He wasn’t violating your personal space. Stop being fragile. Just don’t wear a dress again. You need to protect yourself.

“I dunno, I just don’t think women should get paid as much if they clearly don’t work as much.” “What do you mean?” “Well, you know, they’re just a bit slower at things and then they have children and take all that time off work. I don’t think they should be paid if they’re not working. It was their choice to have a kid.”

19: There is a boy behind me in line. He stepped just an inch too close into my protective bubble. God that shiver that just ran through you was sickening. Step away. Step away. Look, you idiot. He’s not paying any attention to you at all. Get over yourself.

Is that truck stopped at the sign watching me run? Oh-kay, great. Just keep running. Ignore it. Brush it off. It’s whatever.

Am I… ga-? No. You have to still like boys too. That’s your safety net. You’re going to marry a boy and have kids and settle down and take an easier life. The one without hatred. Without homophobia. You remember those girls who were attacked on the bus for being gay? You need to protect yourself.

You need to protect yourself.

I must protect myself.

The issue of sexism is not isolated to single events. It is a systemic mindset that permeates every aspect of everyday life, asserting that women are not as smart, or as strong, and that they are weak and must quietly protect themselves from being taken advantage of. Men and women buy into this system; they accept this as the norm. My question to you is how much longer will we repeat the phrase “I must protect myself” before we put our feet down and realize this way of living is exhausting, terrifying, and reinforcing the very stereotypes we despise? There is no fix to institutionalized sexism overnight, but we can begin taking the right steps by calling out these issues and bringing them into the spotlight, starting conversations, and demanding change. This means recognizing those moments when we personally reinforce or accept certain sexist stereotypes, and working hard to change this default. Women should not have to accept that they will be viewed as less than men.

Posted on Leave a comment

The 22 Convention is Laughable, but it’s Repercussions Aren’t

By: Hayley Morris

“Make Women Great Again.” From the catchphrase on their website, it sounds like a joke. I thought it was at first too, until I kept reading and realized no, this is horrendously real. The 22 Convention is a three day event from May 1-3 being held in Orlando, Florida, later this year. Described as “the most pro-woman event on planet earth” and “100% funded by women” you’d expect this to be some kind of large feminist convention, right?


Well, no. Scroll further down the website’s lovely feminine pink hues and you’ll be blasted with bold text announcing The 22 Convention to be “the mansplaining event of the century.” That’s because all of the speakers at the event are men, giving speeches on how to “improve your life as a woman,” arguing feminism has caused women to be “pushed to act like men” which has “left millions of women feeling unhappy, confused, frustrated, and hopeless.” The website argues that “povery, crime, mental health issues, and overall decline in well being is rampant today in America and the West in this context, thanks to feminist anti-motherhood propaganda.” 

One of the websites main focuses is the supposed “war on motherhood” being raised by the feminist agenda, and how this supposedly distracts women from their biological purpose to reproduce. They add men are “all sizing you up for reproduction” so if you’re not young, skinny, and beautiful, you’re irrelevant in men’s eyes. But don’t worry, if this knowledge makes you panic and wonder how you can “raise your femininity by 500%” these speakers will “teach you the skills to get wifed up, knocked up, and have as many babies as your heart desires” and provide you with “the secrets of becoming the ultimate wife material.”

Now if you’re sitting there reading this thinking, gee, an event where men tell me what I should be doing with my life, this really sounds like the event for me! — don’t worry, it gets even better. Tickets are $1,999 (currently on sale for $999). 

It’s easy to laugh at this event and brush it off, saying to yourself, “who in their right minds would actually attend this?” And sure, it does seem incredibly absurd, however the very fact that events like these are still being hosted reveals there are people who do genuinely still believe in the importance of following traditional gender roles. Those with a patriarchal mindset can be particularly impressionable upon young girls and boys, distorting their perceptions of themselves and reinforcing the much outdated stereotype that women are inferior and submissive to men. 

In addition to perpetuating the continuing battle against sexism, events like The 22 Convention create an incredibly inaccurate understanding of the feminist movement. Their websites paints feminists to be the destruction of humanity, associating negative data with anti-motherhood feminist propaganda. So let’s get one thing straight: Feminists certainly aren’t against motherhood. Far from it. Feminists support women doing whatever they wish with their bodies and lives, whether that’s remaining single and never having children and pursuing “manly” professions, or getting married and having kids and becoming a homemaker. Events like The 22 Convention completely miss the point of feminism and often convince other people feminists are the reason for all the world’s current woes.

Feminism is empowering. It has granted women around the world the power to vote, to have access to the same economic pursuits as men, to be valued both in the workplace and in society, and has taught both girls and boys to be proud in their bodies and live as freely and happily as they please. The 22 Convention teaches the opposite of this. It forces both men and women to conform to strict gender roles that disregards individual expression and happiness. It needs to be called out for it’s outdated and harmful beliefs about what it means to be “great.” After all, shouldn’t “the most pro-woman event on planet earth” be pro-woman?

Posted on Leave a comment

The Bachelor, The Contestants, and The Viewer at Home

By: Hayley Morris

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m kind of hooked on The Bachelor. This current season (Season 24) is the first time I’ve tried to watch every episode rather than just a few here and there if I’m free. I’ve become obsessed, clearing my schedule every Monday night to make sure I can sit down and watch Peter bounce back and forth between a house full of girls all vying to have a spare thirty seconds alone with him. 

One trend that has particularly caught my eye is the concept of breaking down and crying on national television for hundreds of thousands to watch. If a minor inconvenience occurs and a girl breaks down in tears, suddenly Peter is there to comfort them, and they’re presented with a rose the same episode almost every time without fail. It seems some of these contestants are quite literally crying their way to the finish line, as Peter has a fondness for the girls who begin to get watery-eyed around him. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with crying about something and seeking comfort in someone you trust. The issue comes when you juxtapose this knowledge with the fact that many of the girls who get eliminated early on are the ones who hold it together when an issue comes up and don’t cower into Peter’s side.

Consider the actions of the women throughout this season who made it to the quarter-finals: 

Hannah-Ann broke down crying on a one-on-one date when Peter left because he was unsatisfied with her answers to his questions. In response to this emotional burst, Peter rewarded her with a rose and claimed this was the type of emotional display he wanted to see from her.

Kelsey cried on the first evening when Hannah-Ann and Peter mistakenly popped the bottle of champagne intended for herself and Peter. She then continued to revisit this incident and cry to Peter when the other women accused her of being over-dramatic, and every week she received a rose (on one occasion when she sought out Peter to complain about the other women he gave her rose early, before the ceremony began).

Victoria F. has also been a crier, walking away from the cameras the moment there is a slight mishap and constantly threatening to leave the show only to remain when Peter presents her with a rose every week without fail.

The only contestant in the quarter-finals who didn’t seem to be as involved in the drama of the show was Madison, who Peter appears to have a soft spot for. But in the semi-final episode, she walks out when she discovers Peter has had sexual relations with the other contestants after she warned him she would not be able to continue if he did so. 

Compare these incidents to another contestant on the show who didn’t rely on drama to ensure they secured a rose. Kelley and Peter had multiple one-on-one moments and Peter would repeatedly express he was doubtful of their relationship because Kelley didn’t seem as invested in it as he did. He waited to see her become emotional, to beg for a rose and prove her love to him in a dramatic showing of passion. This became particularly evident in his three-on-one date with Kelley, Hannah-Ann, and Victoria F. Both Hannah-Ann and Victoria employed emotional tactics, with Hannah-Ann providing a long list of reasons why she loved him while Victoria became emotional after a tense conversation with Peter (ultimately leading her to receive the first rose). 

Kelley, however, simply had a private conversation with him and remained refined and confident without feeling the need to remind Peter every few minutes how she was deeply in love with him. By the end of this episode, Kelley is the one sent packing, with Peter giving the remaining rose to Hannah-Ann instead. Peter justifies his decision by claiming he and Kelley worked better as friends than as a couple but this left many viewers wondering if he assumed emotional women were women in love.

This trend is not contained to only Peter’s season on the show. Multiple bachelors have been accused of rewarding drama on the show and enjoying petty fights. This may in part explain why in the last 23 seasons of The Bachelor, only two of the couples are still together (as of 2020). However, I’m not here to discuss how the show has a 9% success rate in achieving what it advertises (to find the bachelor or bachelorette a fiance to spend the rest of their lives with). The more pressing concern is the potentially negative impact this representation of “love” could have upon younger viewers of the show.

Namely, The Bachelor seems to do an incredibly good job at degrading women to nothing more than desperate girls who fall in love too fast and employ shady tactics to secure a rose and a man. As such, when the bachelor rewards the women who cries and stirs up drama and sends home those who remain unproblematic, he portrays the women who succeed in finding true love are those who are theatrical and feisty, fighting for attention in order to be noticed (as noted by how much screen time everyone receives; those who stir up more drama are on camera for longer lengths of time, whereas in the first few weeks of the show Peter sent home girls who I hadn’t seen on camera since they first introduced themselves to him.) By rewarding attention and drama, young viewers may be influenced to believe that in order to catch someone’s romantic attention, they too must be over-the-top and treat love as a chess game in which every other player around them is out to sabotage them. This undermines both the concept of love and the women themselves, disregarding individual female personalities and what they desire in a relationship with someone. When everything becomes about the man, the women in the show simply become an accessory to his personality. 

Love requires give and take from both parties. When one person simply waits for the right reaction from someone else and accuses them of not being invested in the relationship when they don’t receive the reaction they want, the relationship becomes dependent upon one person pandering to the desires of another, which is both unhealthy and unequal. I’m not saying The Bachelor intentionally tries to teach young people the wrong ideals about love, but it’s sheer popularity due to viewers (my own, admittedly, included) interest in the drama normalizes this sense of a one-sided relationship and reinforces ideals of a woman being inferior and submissive to a man.

So what can be done about it? Honestly, no matter how much backlash the show receives, I doubt it will be taken off of air anytime soon. With so many spinoffs of the original show (ex. The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and the upcoming Golden Years for single seniors and the music-based Listen to Your Heart) the concept is evidently popular and successful. The most important thing to do is remind younger, more easily influenced viewers that the representation of love presented on these shows is not reality, despite it being labeled as “reality TV.” There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of trash TV, as long as at the end of the day we don’t normalize what we see on these shows in real life.