Granted, Trump’s more-than-flirtation with fascism will make this particular cycle worse. Some, like journalist and scholar of authoritarian regimes Sarah Kendzior, see no hope at all for feminist progress: “We need to prevent the Trump regime. There will be no organizing under it,” Kendzior told me. “If we go forward under his regime, it will be authoritarianism and there is a decent chance we will be jailed or killed.”
Yet “preventing” the Trump administration is likely impossible: There is no evidence that the Electoral College will swing to Clinton, or that evidence of Russian influence on the election will be investigated deeply enough or quickly enough to call his victory into question. If we believe that Trump will happen, the question then becomes how to slow him down, and how to keep organized and committed to that task.
I asked Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch magazine—which arguably laid the groundwork for much of the 2000s women’s-media renaissance—how her readers’ needs had shifted in times of more intense backlash, like the Bush administration.
“For every reader who had lived through the supposedly post-feminist ’80s and the feminist ’90s, there were more who were just coming of age and coming to feminism in this conservative time and realizing that they needed feminism much more than they had expected to,” Zeisler says. “So to me it felt less like a shift than a continuum. The one thing we did experience was that people were not coming to us just for pop-culture and media analysis. They wanted concrete, actionable information: Who to write to, where to protest, etc. And they wanted to hear more directly from activists.”[…] If the Trump administration does nothing else for feminism—and, trust me, a Trump administration will do absolutely nothing else for feminism—it can, at the least, galvanize us into an awareness of how fragile our progress always has been, and remind us to keep committed to that lifelong, never-ending march.