Sen. Claire McCaskill Delivers Wake Up Call For Women To Raise Their Voices

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This is Senator Claire McCaskill. She is a Democrat from the state of Missouri, and she is one of only 20 women currently elected to the US Senate, out of a total 100. She is also the first female Senator from Missouri, making her a trailblazer for women in politics. Like many women in US politics, she likes to encourage more women to join her because at the rate we are going, it doesn’t look like we are going to see gender parity in Congress, the Senate or even the White House in a long time.

In a recent appearance for Stephen Colbert’s new late night show, Claire made a very tongue-in-cheek PSA aimed somewhat at encouraging women to run for office. Instead of the usual pleas and stats being touted, she went a different route, making a list of the things men should “just shutup” about. Yep, she went there.

It’s no secret that many of us women are sick of hearing mostly male politicians argue about issues such as reproductive rights, paid family leave, the wage gap and so on. Sure, they are not JUST women’s issues, they are economic issues that affect our whole society. But when we only have half the population sharing their thoughts and dictating the political conversation, we have a problem.

“As one of just 20 women currently serving in the Senate, it’s important for me to encourage more women to run for office. But equally important, is encouraging more men to, sometimes, just shut the hell up! It’s not that women don’t value your thoughts, it’s just that we don’t value all of them. The world doesn’t need your opinion on everything,” said the Senator in the video below.

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“For example, what women do with their bodies, hush! Who the next James Bond should be, zip it! Whether it’s pronounced gif or jif, shut up!” she added before instructing men to jot down a list of things they need to stop constantly offering their opinion on including Star Wars, pantsuits, whether or not to brine the turkey at Thanksgiving, and ethics in gaming journalism, alluding of course to the Gamergate scandal.

Then she ends with a brilliant conclusion:

“If you can control yourselves and hold back on further expressing your opinion on any of these topics, we’ll let you keep weighing in on marijuana legalization.”

Sure, it’s a funny and quick way to grab attentions, stir conversations and maybe even make a few people angry. But more than anything, this video compels us to tell our readers, especially our female readers, how important it is to raise your voice. Senator Claire McCaskill certainly knows the importance of this, as she outlines in her memoir ‘Plenty Ladylike’ where she talks about the uphill battle she faced getting into politics, mainly because of her gender. And hers is not a story that is an isolated case by any means.

We live in a culture that disproportionately targets women in terms of online harassment, that perpetuates this idea of silencing women for speaking out about domestic violence and rape, and brushing us off as “crazy feminists” when we dare to express the need to make our own reproductive decisions. Until we have a leader like Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who made half of his new cabinet women “because it’s 2015” (that was the response he gave after being asked why gender balance in his cabinet was important to him) who understands that when we have an equal number of male and female voices representing all citizens at all levels of government, then it becomes easier and easier for women to stay silent rather than rock the boat.

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And it’s not as if we hate all the male politicians for making policies and sharing their opinion on issues such as repro rights (although there are many we vehemently disagree with), part of the problem is that there aren’t enough women standing up and raising their voices to challenge them on their position. We hope to see more and more women run for office in the coming years, as Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be the sole female candidate running for President, there should be just as many female candidates as male.

So what can we do to change this? Register to vote first and foremost, and vote in EVERY election you can. Share articles and important information on your social media channels to encourage other women to vote and to run for office. If there is an issue you feel strongly about, raise your voice and share your opinion with your community. Don’t just automatically think someone else will say it if you don’t speak. Speak!

Mobilize the women in your life to care about politics and help them understand the policies that will affect their lives. Join organizations who are fighting to help keep women’s rights and reproductive rights in the hands of women and their doctors only. Sign up for petitions that need names in order to help pass a crucial bill in the House, or block one. And more than anything, when people disagree with you, when they call you names and make fun of your stance, don’t give up. It means your voice is more powerful than you think and you are affecting people around you.

While it is funny to hear Senator McCaskill tell men to stop offering their opinions on everything and anything, the important message here is that women need to rise up and work alongside the men in equal numbers in order to create policies that benefit ALL people, not just a select few.

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