It makes sense that the old guard would think their age would be the most effective mode of attack. And why wouldn’t they? Women have long been expected to be smart, but keep their heads down; to learn from people who supposedly know better, but wait (and wait...and wait) until someone tells them it’s their turn. Then, after years of gaining experience, they can find themselves being considered past their expiration date. (One of the main arguments against Rep. Nancy Pelosi becoming House Speaker again was that at 78, she was too old
, and had been around the chamber too long even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is almost the same age, and has served as Senate leader longer than any other Republican.) This generation isn’t playing by those rules: Millennial women have been skirting norms by working more, earning higher degrees than their male peers, marrying later (if at all), having kids later (if at all), and demanding action on everything from the wage gap to sexual assault and harassment. Now in Congress, millennial women in politics are creating their own rules, too. If the old script dictated that women — especially young women, especially young women of colour — were the last to be heard and the first to be told to wait their turn, the new script, one being written even as I type this, calls for those very same women to stand up, speak out, and clap back.