New era of American feminism

Biden administration to make female history

Kit Nowicki, Staff Reporter

Illustration by Gabrialla Cockerell

After Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration, Kamala Harris will be the first female Vice President of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden will be the first First Lady to keep her full-time job as an educator while in office, and Biden will have an all-female press coverage team, opening doors for women to hold national positions of authority for generations to come.

“I think there’s been a lot of progress towards having women in the industry and a little bit more equality in that sense, but at the same time I feel like, especially after the Trump administration, which was so polarizing in a way, to now have a media team that is led by women and is focused on diversity through women is so cool,” said first-year journalism major Sydney Lorton.

Biden’s media team, led by Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki, will mark the first time a presidential administration has been represented by an all-female staff.

“Of course, it’s easier said than done,” said Lorton, “It’s easier to portray than carry out, so I feel like it’ll really depend on what actually happens throughout their administration with the women on the media team.”

Lorton is hesitant but hopeful. Just because something is women-run doesn’t mean it will be the mark of progress or the mark of diversity, but Lorton feels that it’s still a good start.

“It’s exciting as a journalism major to be like, ‘wow I could do that,’” said Lorton, “That could be me in the future. That could be my peers in the future.”

First-year political science, philosophy, and economics major Rayna Martin believes that Biden’s administration and the powerful women leading it are opening a gateway of new opportunities and possibilities for women in government.

“One of the things I’m excited about is the fact that Kamala Harris’s cabinet is going to be a force in the political field to normalize what happens for the next generation of women in politics,” said Martin.

Martin hopes that Harris will set a new executive standard and pave the way for the next generation of American women to hold power in society.

“It will hopefully stretch out to society and the way women act in general and the way they feel, so they can have authority without being perceived as a bossy leader or a naive person or simply the angry-woman stereotype,” said Martin.

Female representation, more often than not, is rooted in surface-level aesthetics alone as opposed to intelligence, morals, or qualifications. 

When discussing Donald Trump’s administration in comparison to Biden’s, Martin said that from a feminist perspective, the choice to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Amy Coney Barrett was to give women a false sense of representation.

“I feel like there’s this tendency by the conservative party to put forth women in an effort to sort of fake representation, especially on the far-right side,” said Martin. “If you put forward a conservative woman as a representative for all women it looks like you’re engaging in representation without actually taking into consideration the political views of most women.”

The conservative-right emphasizes traditional values and Martin feels that Trump exploited that in favor of gaining the vote of conservative women, as opposed to Biden, whose administration advertises more palpable female representation.

“I have some really conservative relatives and they say things like ‘You just vote conservative,’” said Martin. “‘You don’t vote liberal because it doesn’t go with your religion. It doesn’t matter who the leader of the Conservative Party is, you vote conservatively because it’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s tradition.’”

Martin said she feels that in order for a leader as anti-feminist as Donald Trump to gain the support of women, the wool has to be pulled over their eyes, and their traditionalist values exploited.

“So, the fact that we have an extremely conservative representative as our main Supreme Court leader at the moment is fake representation to me,” said Martin.

After the passing of Justice Ginsburg, Twitter was flooded with posts from women comparing the U.S. with Amy Coney Barrett as supreme court justice to Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” 

“So, it’s just authoritarianism getting in the way of all the feminist progress that could be made in the zone of just reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, you have the right to exercise your power and your voice beyond the sphere of what traditional religious doctrine tells you to do,’” said Martin.

This new standard being set by soon-to-be Vice President, Kamala Harris and soon-to-be First Lady Dr. Jill Biden breaks the glass ceiling for society’s expectations of women.

Dr. Jill Biden sets a new standard for female independence and future First Ladies to come by keeping her full-time job while in office. 

“It just shows female empowerment to a whole other level,” said first-year political science major, Rhorrie Henning. “Her husband is literally the President of the United States and she’s still bringing in income even though she doesn’t really need it. She’s still providing for herself and not relying on a man which I think is completely what we need right now.”

The United States is removing a president who publicly admitted to using his fame to sexually assault women, and replacing his administration with one that has placed powerful women in positions of authority.

“Even though we’ve moved so far forward, we progress backwards so much with little statements and slurs, and right now in this day and age it’s so nice having this female positivity,” said Henning.

The next four years under the Biden administration fosters new hope for women and women’s rights in America. 

“Now we’re actually having hope that something positive might happen in the next four years compared to the prospect of losing our rights,” said Henning. “Like, it’s still scary, but it’s hopeful.”