The president of the U.S. is used to being saluted, yet a cyclist in Virginia placed her very own variant on the tradition when she was surpassed by Donald Trump's motorcade.
Juli Briskman raised her middle finger to Donald Trump's motorcade while continuing her bike ride, and in the process conducted the art of silent process.
On Saturday 29th October, Briskman became an icon overnight.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF!
“He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,” Juli Briskman told the Huffington Post.
“I’m thinking, Daca recipients are getting kicked out. He pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare. Only one third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, he’s at the damn golf course again."
“I flipped off the motorcade a number of times.”
A photographer following the presidential motorcade took Briskman's photo and the picture rapidly spread out throughout media outlets as well as social media.
Many hailed Juli Briskman as a hero, with some stating she ought to run in the 2020 political election.
"Superheroes don't all wear capes. Sometimes they wear safety helmets." https://t.co/NOX3Pg4sfC— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) October 29, 2017
She's my hero. She represented all of us in the resistance.— CAMomInOZ (@CaMomInOz) October 30, 2017
However, Juli's was not the first woman to recently show an act of defiance against Donald Trump that day...
TRUMP'S NANNY SAYS "IMPEACH"
A day before the middle finger incident, as Trump's car arrived at the luxury golf club in north Virginia, an area where he has little support, a woman stood at the entrance with a political sign that read: "Impeach."
A Twitter user called "Trump's Nanny" ultimately stepped forward to identify herself as the protestor.
Her Twitter account claims: "I am Donald Trump’s babysitter, and you are, too. He is a deranged dictator who needs constant supervision from all of us."
An account that has since been suspended...
In the afternoon, as the presidential motorcade left the club, two pedestrians were strolling by. One vigorously offered a thumbs down sign. Minutes later on the motorcade passed the cyclist.
ALL THREE DISPLAYS OF DISSENT WERE FROM WOMEN...
And all three displays hark back the momentous #Women'sMarch that rebelled against Trump's figure of misogyny and obvious sexist attitude.
These recent events also tie into the narrative of brave women who are now fighting corporate structures that are seemingly built to protect sexual predators who abuse their powers.
Starting with Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse scandal in Hollywood to the unearthing of cases of rape that are covered up from within the political party system in Westminster.
THE SAME CORPORATE STRUCTURE THAT HAD JULIE BRISKMAN FIRED
Briskman had been working as a communication and marketing professional for a Virginia-based federal contractor, Akima, for 6 months.
She believed it best to inform the Human Resources division to the online fuss. Employers then called her into a meeting, she stated.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,” explained Briskman.
“Basically, you cannot have lewd or obscene things in your social media.’ So they were calling flipping him off obscene.”
She claimed the firm was displeased she had used the photo as her profile picture on Facebook and twitter, and also informed her it breached the company's policy on social media policy and might damage the business's reputation as a government contractor.
But this had the double-standard when she pointed out that her social media pages do not state her employee, and that the incident took place outside work hours in her own time.
She added an another employee had written a profane insult concerning someone on Facebook, yet had been allowed to keep his job after erasing the post and being reprimanded.
Corporate structures, especially those with power, act in self preservation that goes against liberal attitudes they claim to uphold.
WHAT PEOPLE DO IS SOMETIMES VERY DIFFERENT TO WHAT THEY SAY
And in this post-Trump/post-Brexit world it is brave women that is leading the way towards making positive change to policies and attitudes.
From when Meryl Streep took used the Golden Globes Awards ceremony as a platform to criticise the "performance" of the incoming President elect.
To women protagonists who have since taken charge of the man-made Brexit debacle: from Theresa May's appointment to the astute challenge from Gina Miller in the courts.
And Rose McGowan's brave exposure of Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults, and the victims that have since followed, that have shaken the culture of the Hollywood elite.
These brave actions are defining contemporary culture as we speak and it all adds up to the day that women can have equal rights.
WAIT, WOMEN DON'T HAVE RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES?
Recent generations have seen women go into space, run for Congress, be appointed to the Supreme Court, anchor the news, break Olympic records, be ‘bionic’ women, lead billion dollar companies.
Become successful lawyers, doctors, writers, journalists, artists and rock the world with their music and dance.
Many assume that equal rights for women is Constitutional law, in a nation that has the strongest democracy in the world. However that assumption is misguided, the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women.
Since 1923, activists have been trying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Without the ERA, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that the rights it protects are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex.
This is why 75 percent of elderly Americans living in poverty are women, and the gaps in poverty rates between men and women is wider than anywhere else in the western world.
Without the ERA, women fighting for equal pay have no consistent judicial standard for deciding legal cases. That’s because the state and federal courts reflect confusion and inconsistency around the law.
HOW CAN A COUNTRY THAT PRIDES ITSELF ON BEING A DEMOCRATIC LEADER REFUSE TO PROTECT WOMEN EQUALLY UNDER LAW?
This is an issue that activist groups are aiming to solve.
One such group that is attempting to right this wrong is The Innana Project: a non-profit organisation based in the Washington, DC area that advocates for Equal Protection under the law for women.
Directed by influential lawyer, and feminist, Amee Vanderpool, the organisation aims to affect policy changes through lobbying efforts and legal advocacy within the Justice System.
Once they achieve their goal for Equal Protection they would help ensure fair consideration in court cases concerning the wage gap, and also in cases about domestic violence, rape, forced prostitution and sexual slavery.
Until then the movement for gender equality is strong and is gaining momentum.
BUT THIS ISN'T A MOMENT JUST FOR WOMEN
This is a challenging era where the male identity is being defined by the continued posturing of Trump vs. Kim Jong-un, the sexual predators of Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, and the Brexit buffoonery of Boris Johnson and Michael Farage.
But it doesn't have to be this way...
Yes, men have their part to play also.
When it comes to equal rights gender doesn't matter, only a singular goal to improve the living standards and opportunities for all people.
ANNOUNCING: PIXELREALISM STUDIO'S SUPPORT FOR EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER LAW
As an artist that aims to preserve the present in the fake news era, to create real-time art that speaks to contemporary issues.
'Vagina Versus Trump' is one such example.
An oil painting that was created as a direct response to Donald Trump's controversial relationship with women and was completed just as #WomenMarch built momentum.
Here's what one fan had to say about my work:
This represents the antithesis of feminism along side the alignment of feminist protagonists that is powerful.
'Vagina Versus Trump' introduced to more concepts in political pop art collage, specifically the cultural focus for those in England as opposed to America.
I loved the use of political and pop art imagery combined to portray the artist's intended message. The use of images that represent the antithesis of feminism along side the alignment of feminist protagonists that is powerful.
To me, it represented an internal struggle that women face in representing strong perspectives and society's expectations that are super-imposed upon them. The use of imagery that contains slogans is also powerful for the overall impact of the image.
It provides a snapshot into a moment in history, it represents a strong feminist statement that is often missing in modern art and it uses graphic imagery in a way that gives the piece a kitch-y feel while commenting on modern messages.
I am a new fan of James Jarvis and look forward to displaying his work in the offices of the Inanna Project, a non-profit organization that works for the true economic, legal and social equality for women.
The theme of feminism has appeared across most of my works and its no surprise considering the building momentum towards this social issue.
Being an effective real-time artist means dissecting an important event as it unravels and getting to the core of it's significance.
And a feminist understanding appears again and again.
Rather than being confined to just being immersed in political issues that I comment on. I want to use my work to help raise money for social injustice causes that the Inanna Project represents.
Many brave and strong women are doing their part to correct society's wrong, as they stand up against Donald Trump and the corporate structures that limits the progression.
I hope that my own contribution can, in someway, play its part in "the moment".