6 Ways Women Are Getting "Angrinized" — That's Angry and Organized — For the 2018 Election
What's inspired the record number of women running for office in the 2018 election? Former US Senator Barbara Boxer has a theory. One reason is that "we have a monster in the White House," and another is that "women are coming forward, saying, 'We can't take it anymore.'"
Boxer's remarks summed up the sense of outrage, urgency, and hope at political action committee Emily's List's "Resist, Run, Win" event, held in Beverly Hills on Feb. 27. The breakfast-meets-political-rally brought voices from Hollywood and politics together for a conversation about the 2018 election, #MeToo, and sexism. Chelsea Handler hosted actors Amber Tamblyn and Constance Wu, host and producer Padma Lakshmi, former Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth, and Boxer to hash it all out.
Emily's List is an organization that recruits Democratic, prochoice women to run for office. (Handler is a cochair on its Creative Council.) The group has fielded a record number of calls and contacts from women interested in running since the 2016 election, President Stephanie Schriock said today.
"We've never seen anything like this before. Ever," Schriock said. "Immediately after [the 2016 election] — when I may have been under my desk in the fetal position — women started to rise up." As of today, Emily's List said it's heard from an astounding 34,000 women who are considering throwing their hats in the ring.
The organizers of the event, which drew a few hundred women — and a few men — had their eye on one prize: success in the 2018 elections. It's an effort critical to turning the tide against the antiwoman policies that have taken root during Donald Trump's campaign and tenure as president. But how will it be done? Read on for some of the uplifting, challenging, and thought-provoking methods and advice from the panelists this morning — and who knows? Their words might just inspire you to run yourself.
By Owning the Word "Revolution"
Tamblyn may have put it best when she captured the current mood among women by coining the word "angrinized": a hybrid of angry and organized.
"One of the most important things for me, right now, in the wake of all of that — and in the midst of all of this — is to make sure we keep using the correct language for what's going on with women right now," she said. "We're in the midst of a revolution. And to call it by any other name is to demean not only the work that we are collectively doing — to ask for transparency and pay equality in the workplace, to ask that more women of color are elected to office or to be brought into more positions of power — but to also honor the work of the women that came before us."
By Becoming a United Force
Handler shared a maxim from a friend, actor Mary McCormack, that helped sum up the spirit of the morning. "You don't have to be everybody's best friend," she said, "but as a woman, you have to be a sister to every single woman you meet."
"What has happened since the election is that women have come together, and we are staying together because we are stronger together," Handler added. "And we don't just need one win. We need a wave of wins. We need to change the environment."
By Looking to the Younger Generation
Welteroth knows a thing or two about the power of young people. The former editor of Teen Vogue says she's looking to women of the next generation to lead us into the future.
"Emma González is my new hero, and what's so amazing is we're raising up a generation of Emma Gonzálezes," she said. "This generation is going to change the world, and I'm following their lead."
Welteroth, who also called out Grown-ish star and activist Yara Shahidi as another of her youthful inspirations, quipped, "The next generation — they just came out the womb with their fists up!"
By Writing Checks — but Also Paying It Forward
Lakshmi says one of the actionable ways she supports other women's success is by donating to their political campaigns, which she reminded the audience can be done through Emily's List. But in her mind, mentoring women who could benefit from her own experience and guidance is of equal importance.
"On a micro level, I just made it a point to start mentoring young women in their 20s. I have three girls that I've been following for the last five or seven years," she said.
One, a candymaker, was asked to return to a TV show after a guest spot. Lakshmi says she told her to run a contract by her lawyers to make sure she was compensated appropriately. "When I was coming [up] in the TV world, or in food, I had no guidance. No help," Lakshmi said. "For 15 years, I was kind of flailing in the dark. My mother's a nurse and my stepfather's a plumber. I didn't know sh*t about this business. I know she's talented, and I wanted to give her the support that I didn't have."
By Being the Representation They Want to See
Wu painted a parallel between her roles in Hollywood and the role of women in politics — and the simple need for better representation.
"There's a scarcity complex. There are so few women — not even just in politics — but even if you look at a movie poster. If you look at Jumanji, there's one woman; if you look at The Avengers, there's one woman surrounded by a bunch of men, and the images we see affect what we think we can achieve when we're kids," she said. "That's why doing this is so important: seeing more women in power."
Wu, who is next starring in Crazy Rich Asians, said this need guides her career choices. "I've sort of made my career about the choices I make being stories that center and value the Asian-American experience."
By Merging Strategy With Heart
Boxer knows that making change isn't just about having conviction — it requires data and planning.
"The opposition wants us to pull the covers over our head and shut up. And we will not — we will come back," she remembered saying on Handler's Netflix show the day after the 2016 election. Boxer refuses to shut up and go away. Now, she's focused on a super PAC of her own — PAC For a Change — that aims to get Democrats elected in districts with GOP incumbents where either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton won the majority of the votes in the 2012 and 2016 elections, respectively.
"We are going to focus on how to win. Your gut is good, but it's also a science: political science," she said. "You have to have the science, the polling. You have to know what you're doing."