Sexism's Influence on the Confirmation of Kavanaugh

In the face of sexual misconduct allegations, on October 6 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the Supreme Court Justice replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, the former integral swing-vote who kept the balance of powers of both parties for years [1]. To the surprise of many people, this controversial confirmation prevailed, despite many protests of both men and women seeking to revoke his nomination due to the statements of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford [2]. Instead of appraisals for her bravery, much of the reaction garnered was disbelief; stringing behind them were highly inaccurate statistics detailing how women supposedly falsely report sexual assault encounters and strongly indicating that Blasey-Ford’s testament was one of them. Leading the way of these doubts was President Donald Trump who personally nominated Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice. Trump was very vocal about his support towards Kavanaugh and his innocence. He especially mocked Christine Blasey-Ford with an impression of her testimony, saying “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know, upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know, but I had one beer, that’s the only thing I remember". He did this to demean her credibility and forcibly make her a laughable spectacle. He also pulled a classic trick notable in the cultural backlash during the late 1990s, where men pose as victims of women “who overstepped their bounds and needed to be put back in their place” [3], when he appealed to his audience by saying “Think of your son. Think of your husband. I've had so many false accusations". Through his jesting, Trump consequently perpetuated the culture of victim blaming, undermined the rampant sexual harassment, but, at the same time, perfectly highlighted one of the most faulty and fundamental problems in society: sexism.

Sexism is a term used to describe discrimination, stereotypization, prejudice or hostility on the grounds of sex, commonly targeting women [4]. This way of thinking “goes so deep,” so intricately structured in our society, “that at first it’s hard to see; you think it’s just reality.”[5]

However it is not, and should never have been in the first place.

Women, just as much as men, are naturally entitled to equality. No matter its form, sexism should not be women’s normalcy. Due to the progress seen by the feminist movement in this past decade, it seems like we have forgotten this right; some of us choosing to yield and believe that the fight is over, that we have done enough. Women have become disillusioned with the false sense of security brought by shallow changes, slowly growing unaware of the multifaceted issues concerning gender oppression. Events such as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, even the election of Donald Trump as president, implicates how far women and men are from achieving gender equality. So although there is no immediate results nor a definitive way to fully extinguish sexism, we who are aware of this problem afflicting our society should spread awareness not only on the topic itself, but also on the actions that condone it. Moreover, we must actively condemn those offensive actions and advocate for utmost respect towards every being’s choice and autonomy. Through these steps to equality, we will be able to pave the way for future generations, creating a world where society upholds every person's right to be human and where oppression is no longer seen as normalcy.

Sources

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/us/politics/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court.html

[2] http://time.com/5417538/bett-kavanaugh-confirmed-senate-supreme-court/

[3] Benshoff, Harry M., and Sean Griffin. America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

[4] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sexism

[5] Shulman, Alix K. Burning questions: a novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1978.


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