#repealthe19th: An absurd trend of social media

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I was born in 1996 — a full 76 years after the 19th amendment was ratified. I have never lived in a time where my voice was not allowed to contribute to society — even if growing up with four brothers made it feel that way sometimes. In history class, I learned about people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who paved the way for American women, but because they took care of women’s suffrage I never had to really think about the role of women in society. That is, until now.

Let’s be honest. I know one day it is possible that I’ll be able to look back on my first presidential election and laugh, but for now it is terrifying. A recent social media trend, #repealthe19th, was my breaking point of emotion fury surrounding this election. There are people — like a significant amount of people — who actually want to repeal the 19th Amendment so that women cannot vote in this election. Evidently, some statistic showed that if only men voted in this election Donald Trump would easily win. Naturally, this led Trump supporters to see their last shot in starting a campaign to make it once again illegal for women to vote. The desperation is palpable. What disturbs me  most is that it is not just men who are using this hashtag and spreading this notion — some female Trump supporters have decided they do not mind losing their voice if it gets their candidate in office.

One thing that stands out to me in all this is that I am not sure that everyone is aware that there is currently a woman running for president. Look at the incredible leaps and bounds the women’s movement has made, and yet there are people out there who are willing to throw it all away, and for Donald Trump. Sure, I understand that there is no way that the 19th Amendment would be repealed before this election (and I mean, like, hopefully never), but watching the things that trend on social media during an election year is scary enough to be released as this year’s Halloween thriller. All the passive aggressive fights between friends and family members, relentless postings of horrendously false articles and “political” hashtags that just build trends into every inch of our feeds are enough to make a person give up on social media and crawl into a cave for the remainder of their earthly years.

Ok, so that probably will not happen because fall television just started and I would get way too far behind on all my shows, so instead here are some tips and tricks for keeping your timeline as peaceful as possible.

First of all, know that if you are following either one of the candidates or their campaigns on social media your timeline becomes much more susceptible to political ads, articles and radical people that the mystical mind of the internet thinks you will like, so unfollow if that is not your thing.

Secondly, in response to ridiculous hashtags, like #repealthe19th, do not use them to make a point against them. It will only increase their trending power, and perpetuate the messages they send to more people.

Thirdly, if you are really sick of all the aggressive comments try posting a status asking anyone who feels the need to debate via the web to kindly unfollow/unfriend you until after Nov. 8. Even if the perpetrator is a best friend or family member, removing them from your timeline for a few weeks will be better for everyone in the long run.

Finally, do not be a hypocrite. If you post something expressing a political opinion, do not be mad when someone comments with a different opinion of their own, because that is basically saying that only your opinions matter. Try to remember that dialogue makes us a better public.

Regardless of the ridiculous — and sometimes downright annoying — nature of politics in the media world, please exercise the beautiful right we have to vote! There are bountiful resources around campus that make it super simple to vote whether you call St. Louis home or not, so do not make any more excuses. Your vote matters. Don’t forget to cast it!