The Power of Women and Words


A sign from a Women’s March

By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor

Warning: The poem mentioned in this article by Halsey has detailed descriptions of sexual assault.

2017 was a heck of a year for everyone, especially for women worldwide. Perhaps in this past year more than ever, women have become empowered. With the world growing more radical and fearsome every day, there had to be something done. Women all over the world did something.

Women rapidly and valiantly took stances on many crucial issues in our country in this past year, like immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, reproductive rights and human rights. No longer are women to be characterized as protestors as they march not locally, but globally as well. They are politicians, fighting for the common good of all. With movements such as #Metoo that emerged in October of 2017, women everywhere shined a necessary light on sexual assault. More recently, the “Time’s Up” movement brought forth by celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes in an open letter published in the New York Times sparked a light across Hollywood to combat sexism and sexual assault in the industry.  

The anniversary of President Donald Trump’s first day in office is also the anniversary of the first Women’s March. The 2017 March on Washington alone drew somewhere between 440,000 to 500,000 participants. Marches occurred all over the world in places like Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City and London. In fact, here in Utah, several celebrities marched in Park City last year including Chelsea Handler, John Legend and Aisha Tyler. The premise behind these marches was to advocate policies and legislation and spread awareness. They were particularly aimed at the new president to show widespread disagreement with his policies.

Since the first march, activism has only grown, and a demand for change is stronger than ever. Progressive women everywhere are no longer willing to stand aside and simply deal with what is thrown at them. The most powerful sentiment behind this collective activism is that women are standing together, for and with each other. In a society that urges dissent and submission, they are doing the exact opposite. The efforts of these strong, bold women are in the hope of galvanizing a new era of voting. So, in 3 years when the elections come around again, America can make the right decision for everyone.

At the core of these movements and marches is something we don’t realize we need to take advantage: the power of words. Whether it is spoken or a written sign carried by a protestor, it is crucial. Halsey, a 23-year-old musician delivered a haunting free-verse poem “A Story Like Mine” at the New York march this past weekend, one that spoke about her experiences with sexual assault. She’s a celebrity who, like the others that have spoken up and stood up for themselves and others, has an impressive platform. She speaks not just for the people in the crowd, but her fans, people she’s worked with on tours, through her recording process, her magazine shoots. She is using her voice not only for entertainment but for importance. We know that atrocities like these do not occur to celebrities alone, and this is not to say that their experiences are more valid than those who are not famous. Although, when you have the advantage of possessing such a large platform to speak to, it’s crucial to take advantage of. Halsey ended her poem with encouragement to listen to women around you and to then use your voice to advocate for them and others.

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Words are essential and powerful. They are here for us in all their glory, ready to be crafted how we please. It’s time that we started using them vigorously. Whether that be through art, through media or most importantly through our voices. So use your platform to the greatest advantage you can.

Celebrity or not, there is an unspoken power to using the greatest tool we are given. To those that have been using that tool to the greatest extent, a hats off.  Here, I leave you with words that aren’t mine but come from musician, Harry Styles, in hopes that you will be moved to use your own voice,  “How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.”

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