Y’all, buckle in for this Feminist Friday as it’s about to get feisty up in here! A quick recap on what Feminist Friday is, for those who are new (welcome!), it is the series we end the week on by sharing our favorite videos of the moment. Since we know things are heating up in the political landscape, with protests, rallies, marches, and campaigns being staged to speak out against hateful, divisive and dangerous rhetoric that is part of the Trump administration, we figured it was about time we posted something that speaks to what is happening.
First up, “Auntie Maxine”, aka Congresswoman Maxine Waters from California’s 43rd District. In case you haven’t seen the memes, gifs, or heard any of her congressional mic drop moments, we’ll get you up to speed. This badass has been in Congress since 1991 and today is the most senior black woman in the House. She is a Democrat who isn’t afraid to voice and tweet her disdain for the Trump presidency, having regularly called for his impeachment.
Recently, she became the center of attention after Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly made a racist remark about her hair while the network was airing footage of her making a speech on the House floor. Backlash ensued, and Auntie Maxine herself, as she is affectionately referred to by her new legion of millennial followers, was interviewed on MSNBC where she made sure to tell Bill and the rest of the nation that she is “a strong black woman who will not be intimidated”.
The Grio reporter Natasha Alford recently sat down with everyone’s favorite Political firebrand to learn about her background as a feminist activist in the 70’s, why she got into politics, and what advice she has for young black women today who may feel intimidated, oppressed or marginalized by people in society.
The following Vice News Tonight segment gives an overview of an important online movement that is unearthing conversations about race, incarceration or minors, and the way the justice system treats victims of abuse, especially women of color. The hashtag #FreeBresha relates to the story of a teen girl named Bresha from Ohio who shot and killed her father while he was sleeping. She was charged with aggravated murder and if convicted, will remain in detention until she’s 21.
Bresha’s mother says the father had been repeatedly assaulting and threatening Bresha and her siblings for years, and that she carried out the killing to put an end to her and her family’s suffering. In Ohio, the average length of pretrial detention is 10 to 12 days, but Bresha was detained for more than six months. Her many online advocates say that the pretrial detention of a minor is an egregious violation of human rights. Thirty percent of the 20,000 minors detained every day are girls. And studies that over 84 percent of these girls are victims of family violence.
While Bresha’s lawyer builds a case for self-defense, tens of thousands of online advocates have rallied behind her. The #FreeBresha hashtag has become a cry of support on Twitter and Facebook for a range of progressive causes, including Black Lives Matter. At a time when conversations around race, gender, assault, mass incarceration and policies relating to all of these topics are at an all-time high, it is these types of movements that may very well provide enough attention to move the needle in a positive way.
Our final video is a great reminder to all that the future really is female. Various legislators have been holding town halls in their districts during the recess, and Senator Jeff Flake (R) from Arizona was one of them. While there have been a number of viral videos showing mostly conservative legislators being booed and heckled for their stance on promoting Trump’s healthcare plan which would see millions of Americans lose coverage, this particular video at the Flake town hall went viral for a different reason.
A 16 year-old activist had a chance to ask a question and confronted him about his position to “defund” Planned Parenthood, while coming from a place of privilege. Deja Foxx, who comes from a low-income background, asked the Senator why it was his right to take away her right to choose a no co-pay birth control provider, simply because the clinics also provide abortions.
A quick note: Planned Parenthood isn’t a line item in the federal budget, they don’t get a large sum of money to spend on whatever they want. The federal money comes through the form of medicaid reimbursements, which legally cannot be used to reimburse for abortion procedures due to the Hyde Amendment law. So the notion of the government voting to defund the clinics specifically means they are taking away important health care access (which other community clinics are unable to step in and cover) from low-income patients, and particularly women of color, like Deja Foxx.
For all the legislators in the country who choose ideology and rhetoric over facts and voting for policies that will help their constituents, take note of this young woman. Since the video went viral, Deja has been interviewed by CNN and has been written about by The Huffington Post and Bustle. Watch her show Senator Jeff Flake that the time for controlling women’s bodies and the narrative around it is coming to a close: