We all remember how we felt the day after the presidential election. That feeling is starting to compound as inauguration day draws ever closer. With the knowledge that we are yet to see a qualified, progressive woman elected as president, breaking a 200+ year glass ceiling, we can’t help but feel the lingering sting of sexism in our culture. Although we are seeing a lot of progress in many areas, we are still a long way off from reaching complete equality.
However, we must not lose sight of hope. In fact, there has never been a better time to take action and raise our voices against, hatred, division, fear and discrimination. So in that regard, thank you Mr. Trump for igniting the activist spirit in all of us to fight against your administration and rhetoric. The resistance shouldn’t only be about big marches, lawsuits, and major media campaigns. It is about the little, everyday actions each of us do in order to promote solidarity and encourage one another.
That is exactly what one particular mom is doing in the life of her daughter. Meaghan Elderkin hails from Rhode Island and has been creating a series of awesome feminist drawings on napkins for her daughter each day. The images include a quote from a real life female role model along with a drawing of each woman. Meaghan told the Huffington Post this is a tradition she was part of as a child growing up, and now she is passing it along to her daughter, 9 year-old Holden.
Meaghan was really affected by the election and eventually decided to use her mother-daughter tradition as a way to stay positive.
“I felt really small and powerless after the results of the election. I wanted to remind my daughter (and myself, I guess) that we’re still strong and powerful even when we’re afraid. A lot of strong women have come before us, and they’ve had to fight even scarier obstacles,” she said.
She initially shared some of her images on the popular Pantsuit Nation Facebook group, a community of like-minded progressives who are dedicated to empowering one another with inspiring stories from their own lives and details of how they are working to stand against hate on a daily basis. Meaghan’s images received over 22,000 “likes”, so she ended up creating a Facebook page of her own where more people could see her feminist art.
“I was really inspired by the women posting in Pantsuit Nation, and I wanted to let them know that I was trying to do my part. I really wasn’t expecting the overwhelming response. They seem to really resonate with people,” she told HuffPost.
Some of the women she has drawn include Susan B. Anthony, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Queen Elizabeth, Louisa May Alcott, Amelia Earhart, as well as some more contemporary women like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai, who Meaghan’s daughter really admires.
“She’s a huge fan of Malala Yousafzai. We saw her speak in Providence this past summer and she immediately wanted to set up a lemonade stand to contribute to Malala’s fund,” she said. That right there is an example of how revolutions start. It’s easy to look at only the big actions being taken and feel overwhelmed and inadequate, but each of us has the power to effect change and create inspiration in small ways.
Along with the drawings of famous women throughout history, Meaghan likes to change things up by drawing the women as animals, playing off their names. Ruth Beaver Ginsburg, Susan Bee Anthony, and Queen E-Lizard-beth can be found among all the other badass drawings on her Facebook Page. There are also inspiring quotes from fictional female characters such as General Leia from ‘Star Wars’, Katniss Everdeen from ‘The Hunger Games’, and Hermione Granger from ‘Harry Potter’.
Hillary Clinton’s concession speech given the day after the election was a powerful symbol of her passing on the torch to the younger generation.
“To all the little girls watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.” No doubt this is the message young Holden is getting from the napkin drawings her mom Meaghan includes in her lunch box every day.
If you are looking for a way to inspire someone in your life today, perhaps another young girl who you know would benefit form knowing about the life of an awesome woman who has gone before her to defy social norms and break down barriers, we encourage you to share Meaghan’s images on Facebook.