By Alexa Mancilla
Today is the first Monday of a very long for years – Donald Trump has officially been sworn in as the president of the United States. While some are ecstatic at this news, most of the United States is terrified of what may come next.
Now more than ever, Americans need to unify as one. We need to support each other, inspire each other, and practice kindness towards each other. We must look to others to give us hope in this time of need, and we must be prepared for all that may come to us. Trump’s presidency may be beneficial to straight, white, upper-class men, but it will most definitely hinder the lives of minorities. Trump and his far-right supporters are prepared to take away fundamental rights that women, people of color, and the LGBT+ community have fought for years to gain, and we must not take these appeals lightly. We cannot sit idly by while a rich, white man tries to take away the right to police our bodies, the right to choose, the right to have basic, affordable, and necessary health care. We cannot let a man who has had very few struggles in his life take away the fundamental human rights for which we have all fought so long and hard.
That being said, we must stay strong, and fight back when our rights may be in danger. We must look to others for inspiration and strength, no matter how bleak times may seem. We must support each other and lift each other up. If we don’t, no one will. Females are incredibly strong, and we need to stick together. While it may seem harsh, we need to stay positive and remember why we are fighting. When things seem hopeless, we need to look to others for strength. I, for one, know that I’ll need some inspiration from others during the next four years.
So, without further ado, here are some amazing, inspiring, and strong women that I plan on looking to when things seem desperate.
Unless you have extremely little contact with the outside world, you’ve heard of Meryl Streep’s incredible and moving speech given at the Golden Globes. Her speech was eloquent and inspiring and called for action to all Americans. She was able to put into words what we were all thinking in regards to the recent election, and she was still able to stay classy and civil about it. She was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award and the Golden Globes and used her platform to do what we all wish we could do: call for unity and peace in a seemingly terrifying and uncertain time. While she was aware of the blowback that may come by speaking of something so controversial, Meryl was sure to not only explain her disappointment in our President-elect but was also sure to speak of the incredible diversity and talent found in Hollywood. She told viewers that by putting up a wall and kicking out any foreigner would destroy entertainment as we knew it. She told our president-elect how disgusted she was by his previous actions, and begged for Mr. Trump to realize that people in power should not “use their position to bully others,” because, in the end, that will only hurt us all. She implored the press to continue doing what they do best: to write. She begged for the public to protect journalists, so they can “safeguard the truth.” She reminded her peers in Hollywood to realize how incredibly privileged they were to be at the Golden Globes and to be a part of Hollywood and entreated viewers to act with empathy and kindness. Her speech, along with all of her other works, was filled with poise, eloquence, and passion. She was able to speak to everyone, no matter their political viewpoint, and make them think about what may happen in the next few weeks. She created a dialogue for all Americans, even for a night, and she brought us all together. Meryl found a way to vocalize our fears and our hopes while sticking her ground and being unapologetically herself. She used her platform to speak of the things that matter and made us a little less scared of the future.
Gina Rodriguez is best known for playing the lead on the CW’s Jane the Virgin. Not only is she receiving accolades for her magnificent work on the dramedy, but she is also using her fame and platform for good. She is extremely adamant to make sure that all of us know how amazing we are, despite our flaws, and is sure to encourage everyone to fight for whatever we feel is necessary, no matter what others may say. Gina speaks her mind when it is needed and gives her support to everyone with she comes into contact. She is headstrong and fearless, and she overcomes everything that is thrown her way. She is proud of where she came from and is sure to always stay true to her roots. Gina is a staunch supporter of the body positivity movement and is sure to remind us all that our worth is not measured by the number we see on the scale. She reminds us that “beauty belongs to everyone” and that curves, stretch marks, and cellulite are completely standard. Rodriguez is a staunch supporter of other women and is sure to lift her sisters up whenever possible. She directed and hosted the Young Women’s Honors to celebrate amazing women and their incredible accomplishments. She began #MovementMondays as a way to showcase inspiring people around the world, and as a way to encourage every single one of us to lift each other up and t0 embrace our differences, our quirks, what makes us us. Gina encourages fans to be proud of wherever they may have come from but also to make sure that they are not defined only by their heritage or skin color. She has immense pride for her Latina background and encourages her Latino brothers and sisters that no matter where they come from, they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to. Her show, which is compromised mainly of Latino actors, strives to “represent a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes,” and encourages viewers to pursue their dreams, no matter how difficult. Gina rejects the idea that pursuing a career that is practical is more important that pursuing a career that is enjoyable (and what you love); she reminds us all that we are worthy of our dreams, and that determination is truly our greatest strength.
Michelle Obama, known to America for the last eight years as the First Lady of the United States, has done an incredible amount to help her fellow Americans. Not only has Mrs. Obama been the embodiment of class, poise, and sheer intelligence and kindness, but she has also helped Americans make huge strides in promoting better mental and physical health. She brought needed attention to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, while also increasing access to healthier foods for all. She began the “Let’s Move!” initiative, she served as an honorary chair member for the Partnership for a Healthier America, improved food labels, and redesigned school lunches. Michelle Obama advocated for girls’ and women’s’ health, education, and rights while advancing equal rights and opportunities for all. She (and her husband) introduced the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, and inspired and implored girls and women everywhere to break barriers that may hold them back. Mrs. Obama served as an incredibly strong, poised, and educated First Lady. She served as a role model for many, and as a woman that we should all strive to be.
Of course, the incredible women showcased above are only a minuscule amount of inspiring, strong, and fearless women we can look to for hope and strength in these trying times. All we need to do is to remember that how bleak things may seem to get, as long as we band together and support each other, we, as females, have the ability to strive for absolutely anything we may desire. We’ve done it once, and I know we can do it again.