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This 19 Y.O. Woman Who Gets Publicly Shamed By Congressman Matt Gaetz Uses The Attention To Raise $2.2M In Abortion Funds
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Good News, People2 months ago

This 19 Y.O. Woman Who Gets Publicly Shamed By Congressman Matt Gaetz Uses The Attention To Raise $2.2M In Abortion Funds

Childhood was a time when you craved growing up and exploring everything that was to come with glorious adulthood. Now that I’ve spent quite a few years as an adult, every passing day is making me crave a one-way ticket into the uncharted emptiness of space, with hopes of finding a new planet to restart everything on. From an impending global climate catastrophe, wars happening right around the corner, and politicians deciding to send us all back to the 1950s, it’s becoming difficult to see the silver lining.

We must start fighting for what is right. Stand up to bigotry, sexism, and our literal extinction (I’m looking at you, Kylie Jenner. Enjoy your 3 minutes in the sky, while the rest of us are shamed into recycling and cutting down CO2 emissions?) One such person fighting is Olivia Julianna, who describes herself as “Greg Abbott’s arch enemy, a 19-year-old activist fighting against the TX GOP.”

Dear readers, we’ll be diving into the topics and notions of the male gaze, sexualization, objectification and abortion rights, so I do hope you pay attention as context is very important to understand the situation at hand. Without further ado, let’s get started.

More info: Twitter | Gen-Z for Choice Abortion Fund

Congressman Matt Gaetz went under fire by a 19-year-old activist, named Olivia Julianna, after he insulted and fat-shamed pro-abortion protesters

Image credits: atrupar

At the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida, congressman Matt Gaetz decided to blast abortion activists in a rant, which was then shared on Twitter. “Have you watched these pro-abortion, pro-murder rallies? The people are just disgusting,” Gaetz said. “Like, why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”

“These people are odious on the inside and out,” he continued. “They’re like 5’2, 350 pounds and they’re like ‘give me my abortions or I’ll get up and march and protest’ and I’m thinking: ‘March? You look like you got ankles weaker than the legal reasoning behind Roe v. Wade.’ A few of them need to get up and march. They need to get up and march for like an hour a day, swing those arms, get the blood pumping, maybe mix in a salad.”

What we see here, ladies and gentlemen, is an attempt to diminish the value and competency of people fighting for abortion rights by insulting their looks and sexual desirability, as if that is a critical point in the argument of the issue. Does that mean that if all protesters looked like the ‘ideal woman,’ their concerns would be considered as more worthy of address? We’ll dive a little deeper into this question later in the article.

She wrote on Twitter: “I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place”

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

Not surprisingly, these remarks didn’t go unnoticed, and Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old activist, decided to respond to him on Twitter. “It has come to my attention that Matt Gaetz – alleged pedophile – has said that it’s always the ‘odious… 5’2 350 pound’ women that ‘nobody wants to impregnate’ who rally for abortion,” she wrote. “I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place.”

“I was not surprised at the level of just outright misogyny and fatphobia that was being perpetuated,” Olivia told TODAY. “So I tweeted a statement out being, like, a little sassy.”

This set off Gaetz, who shared a picture of Olivia on Twitter, with the caption “Dander raised,” in an effort to shame the woman

Image credits: mattgaetz

Gaetz is currently being federally investigated for sex trafficking, but has denied these claims and, as of yet, has not been charged. It seemed that Olivia’s tweet triggered something in him, as he then took her Twitter profile picture and shared it with a caption “Dander raised,” in what appeared to be an effort to shame the young woman.

Thankfully, the exchange didn’t end there. Instead of backing down, Olivia replied: “Am I not a little too old for you Matt? I know you have a thing for targeting teenagers but 19 is on the cusp don’t you think?” She then followed up with: “My rule is if you’re going to attack me for my looks you better be hotter than me. And to be blunt Matt Gaetz is one of the ugliest things to crawl out of the pits of Florida.”

But Olivia came back strong, calling out the congressman in multiple tweets

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

She told TODAY that “He just decided to go straight into body-shaming me.” But within the chaos of it all, she saw an opportunity to use the garnering attention for a good cause. Olivia decided to announce a fundraising campaign on behalf of the nonprofit Gen-Z for Change, a youth-led group that aims to create tangible change on “issues that disproportionately affect young people,” one of which involves distributing money to 50 different abortion funds across the US.

“The overturning of Roe V. Wade is heartbreaking, devastating, and dangerous. Like millions of Americans, Gen-Z for Change finds it absolutely unacceptable that people are being stripped of a basic human right, control over their own body,” the fundraiser stated. “Let’s be clear: Abortion is healthcare. Healthcare is a human right. […] The time is now. This is no longer a theory or prediction. We will not stop fighting, we will not stop organizing, we will not stop protesting until every single individual in this country is empowered, protected, and given CHOICE.”

At the point of writing, Olivia helped raise over $2.2M to aid abortion rights, all thanks to the bullying of Matt Gaetz. She even made him a card, stating: “Well @mattgaetz, I have to hand it to you. I didn’t think you cared about us abortion rights activists, but your spotlight on me has helped raise $50K for abortion funds in the last 24 hours!”

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

Olivia decided to use the growing attention for a good cause, asking people to donate to the Gen-Z for Change Abortion Fund

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

“This is absolutely the most insane amount of donations we have had thus far from individuals, especially in such a short frame of time,” the young activist told The Washington Post. “On a broader scale, this highlights the extreme power of social media mobilization, and it shows Republican politicians that their cheap attacks and political theater will no longer be tolerated.”

Although this story seems to have a happy ending, I think it’s about time to discuss the underlying issue within all this; an issue that will take generations to weed out fully. Sexualization and desirability and their role within modern society. Who do those notions serve? What are the criteria and who decides upon them? So many questions to ask, so many sides to see, but let’s focus on the issue of sexual objectification and the male gaze, especially in the context of abuse.

In a matter of days, they had raised over $2.2M and are still counting. The money will be split between 50 different abortion funds across the US

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

Let’s start with some statistics. According to RAINN, there are 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States on average, with 82% of all juvenile victims being female. Females aged 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Thus, the number of children conceived from rape each year might range from 7,750 – 12,500. 

Considering this, the right to have an abortion after conception post-assault should be the bare minimum that any woman could have access to. But to go back to Gaetz’s statement: “The women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.” 

We enter the topic of looks – the male gaze – and victim blaming. As explained by Very Well Mind, the male gaze describes a way of portraying and looking at women that empowers men while sexualizing and diminishing women. Essentially, the male gaze sees the female body as something for the heterosexual male (or patriarchal society as a whole) to use to further their goals, a thing to ogle at, have, consume, discard. 

“Well @mattgaetz, I didn’t think you cared about abortion rights, but your spotlight on me has helped raise $50K in the last 24 hours!” Olivia tweeted

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

If one does not fit into the ideal model suggested by American society – youthful, slim but curvy, firm, and fit – then she is cast out as unwantable, but that doesn’t stop the abuse. “Isn’t it great to be wanted? As if their violence were a sign of hope. As if it were just a misguided expression of attraction,” one woman shared on Medium.

Nora Whelan states that women and femme people live along a spectrum of dehumanization based on size, color, ability status, sexuality, income level, and are “not only assumed by predators to be easy targets – we’re also disregarded as unreliable witnesses by courts of law and public opinion.”

“Feigning or otherwise expressing revulsion towards fat women in order to wriggle out of sexual harassment or assault allegations isn’t a particularly novel trick, but in a world still run by men who either actually hate our bodies or are too insecure to own their attraction to them, an effective one,” she explains.

The irony of Gaetz’s statement is that a lot of women who’ve been sexually assaulted take to overeating as a means of coping with trauma and as a way of becoming someone who will hopefully never experience assault again. Olga Khazan explored this notion, stating that childhood sexual abuse often turns food into an obsession for its victims, with many willfully putting on weight to desexualize themselves.

In support of this theory, researchers have found that some women with sexual assault histories have a different size body than the one they had at the onset or time of sexual victimization. The belief that anyone who isn’t ‘Hollywood beautiful’ is somehow less f***able and, thus, is less likely to be the victim of sexual assault, is a clear-cut way for these people to be marginalized and re-victimized.

It is a small win in the ongoing battle for equal rights. Olivia has one final message – “Don’t mess with Texas women and don’t underestimate Gen Z!”

Image credits: 0liviajulianna

So no, Matt Gaetz, women should not be grateful for harassment, regardless of their size. As if male desire is precious and sexual objectification is a peak achievement in a woman’s life. Making violence against fat, trans, and other marginalized women a thing of the past starts with each of us and, from our entertainment, to our workplaces, to our health care system and politicians.

“I would like Matt Gaetz to know he picked the wrong activist,” she said. “I’ve been mocked, ridiculed and harassed for most of my life. I will not tolerate that kind of behavior anymore. Don’t mess with Texas women and don’t underestimate Gen Z!”

I will leave the link to the fundraiser here, as well as some resources for available abortion clinics and options.

The exchange has opened the door for discussion and shone a light on very serious issues. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

Image credits: JohnFetterman

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Image credits: JoshShapiroPA

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Image credits: RandyHolder205

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Fred L.
Community Member
2 months ago

Why is it that men, all of whom really with the least likelihood of getting pregnant, are the ones most worried about women having the choice to get abortions? Gaetz really is an epitome of his party; retrogressive, stupid and vile.

General Anaesthesia
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

The Republican party needs targets for their NRA-sponsored school shootings. Indeed, retrogressive, stupid, vile and anything but Christian.

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CatWoman312
Community Member
2 months ago

Good for her! When they go after your looks it means they have nothing left to work with. Considering Matt Gatez looks like the type who will slide into your dms and call you a stuck up bîtch if you don’t reply within 5 minutes he can stfu. He needs to worry about not going to jail instead of what women do with their bodies…side note I bet if one of the underaged girls he attempted to groom ended up pregnant he would have paid for an abortion without hesitation

Anne Reid
Community Member
1 month ago

Not only would he have paid, he would have coerced them into abortions to save his image!

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Lexipoo
Community Member
2 months ago

who the HELL put this piece of bull.,s**t into congress?!?!!!

Cyndielouwhoo
Community Member
2 months ago

Have you met Florida?

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Fred L.
Community Member
2 months ago

Why is it that men, all of whom really with the least likelihood of getting pregnant, are the ones most worried about women having the choice to get abortions? Gaetz really is an epitome of his party; retrogressive, stupid and vile.

General Anaesthesia
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

The Republican party needs targets for their NRA-sponsored school shootings. Indeed, retrogressive, stupid, vile and anything but Christian.

Load More Replies...
CatWoman312
Community Member
2 months ago

Good for her! When they go after your looks it means they have nothing left to work with. Considering Matt Gatez looks like the type who will slide into your dms and call you a stuck up bîtch if you don’t reply within 5 minutes he can stfu. He needs to worry about not going to jail instead of what women do with their bodies…side note I bet if one of the underaged girls he attempted to groom ended up pregnant he would have paid for an abortion without hesitation

Anne Reid
Community Member
1 month ago

Not only would he have paid, he would have coerced them into abortions to save his image!

Load More Replies...
Lexipoo
Community Member
2 months ago

who the HELL put this piece of bull.,s**t into congress?!?!!!

Cyndielouwhoo
Community Member
2 months ago

Have you met Florida?

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