The immediate backlash to Dr. Biden's outfit echoes past critiques, especially from conservatives, about what type of clothing is "appropriate" for the first lady of the United States. It's an exercise that often speaks to a certain societal discomfort with reconciling cultural understandings of what femininity and power look like, and has since extended to criticism of how other women politicians dress.
Women and people of color possess the same intellectual capacities as their white male counterparts. Yet empirical studies consistently show that patent law overwhelmingly rewards white men for their labor and skill. Even as more women and people of color go into STEM fields, they invent and patent far less often than their white male counterparts. The question is why and what can be done to change that?
It's certainly taken a lot of resilience and strength to persevere through this pandemic — particularly given the backdrop of political chaos, uncertainty and immense change in our daily lives. Yet perhaps it is this attitude of "staying strong," and acting stoically — which is rooted in a culture that favors and thrives off toxic masculinity — that has hurt and continues to hurt us the most.
Lisa Selin Davis writes, "Embracing ambiguity has become not just a novel idea but a mandate for all of us. There is no more cognitive closure. We don't know when this will end, or what the long-term impacts will be. None of us knows when we'll get sick, or how that sickness will manifest. It's one thing to wonder who your child will grow up to be. It's another to wonder if the life you thought you'd provide that child with will ever be available to you again."