A movement predicated upon support for women, has disowned half of its constituency.
Beyoncé sings about it, Hillary Clinton ran a presidential campaign based around it, and my classmates fill their twitter accounts with messages preaching it. As a young woman growing up in the era of “Girl Power” and “Nasty Women,” I have been surrounded by these messages most of my young adult life. This group of Social Justice Warriors has taught me quite a bit about what it means to be a strong woman, as well as why I do not identify as a modern feminist.
Feminism is defined by the Webster dictionary as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” This is clearly something we can all get behind. Yet feminists today tend not to practice what they preach. I have never once believed myself to be less than a man because of my sex, yet was told as much constantly in my college classes. Several of my professors have claimed that I am oppressed simply because I have two X chromosomes. They said I must overcome that adversity to become a respected woman in this supposed “man’s world.”
Had I been raised to think that way, I would probably suffer from a perpetual victim complex, which seems to be commonplace amongst modern feminists. I have never felt the need to prove myself to anyone, because I have never believed I needed to. Mirroring the same attitude, I have listened to my classmates stand up and cry of “injustices” they have faced in their young lives simply because they are female. I do not sympathize with their complaints of struggle, because they are largely without merit. Were they not prohibited from voting, driving a car, or opening a bank account without a man’s permission, I would wholeheartedly stand in their corner. Fortunately though, it is 2017 not 1917.
Another issue I have with the modern feminist movement is that their message only seems to pertain to those who agree with their narrative. I do not feel as though I have a place in the current feminist movement. Feminism left me. Lena Dunham and Chelsea Clinton have pushed back against all who comment on their appearance, and in the same breath preach that their bodies do not define them and that beauty should not distract from their accomplishments. Again, this is an idea that I think most of civil society can get behind. But why is this idea not reciprocated for women on the other side of the political spectrum?
“I will not let my vote be controlled by my reproductive organs, or by this phantom “oppression” feminists harp about.”
Erin Gloria Ryan, a writer for The Daily Beast and proud feminist, commented on Kellyanne Conway’s appearance. She mocked Conway’s appearance in interviews, specifically how tired she usually looks. Regardless of their political leanings, shouldn’t all women be treated with the same respect these feminists wish to receive? That’s the “golden rule” and everyone learned it in Elementary School. If Conway was not employed by the Trump administration or happened to be an outspoken advocate for abortion, I guarantee she would not fall victim to ad hominem attacks from feminists, and instead defended by them. .
While conservative women are abandoned by their leftist counterparts in terms of support, they are often times ignored. Prior to the primary elections, a professor of mine explained to my class that Hillary Clinton was shattering glass ceilings on behalf of women everywhere, and in ways unrivaled by any other. She was running for president in a major political party, which she received so much praise for that a reasonable person might have believed her credentials included saving puppies from burning buildings while simultaneously finding the cure for cancer. Except Hillary Clinton was not the only woman standing on stages during those debates.
Carly Fiorina blew up during her first debate performance, and become a household name to those who cared enough to pay attention. But apparently her definition of feminism was not good enough, which meant she was not worth mentioning. There are countless women on the “Right” who are perfect examples of strong women. Many of whom are some of the youngest, and first minority, women to hold elected office across the country. Yet they fail to fit the feminist’s mold of acceptable women, so they might as well not exist. Women like Mia Love and Elise Stefanik are not recognized in my college classes because they do not “embody the feminist movement,”and I believe that is a big contributor to why modern feminism is losing credibility.
Modern feminism has become something that only supports women who hold their preconceived policy positions, which is quite exclusive. The feminists I interact with daily allow their lives to be defined by the “women’s issues” they focus on, but I see all issues as “women’s issues.” I will not let my vote be controlled by my reproductive organs, or by this phantom “oppression” feminists harp about. Feminism should be about, just as the definition states, equality for all people regardless of gender or ideology. However, feminism has become another discriminatory force used to suppress diversity of thought. Feminists should start practicing what they preach, if they want to see all women united around its cause.
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