In Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Feminists Rain Shards on the Crowd
By Liza Peoples '20
Feminism has become such an intrinsic characteristic of NCS’s collective identity that few consider any alternative reality outside of our bubble. A 2018 CBS news poll indicates that 46% of women ages 18 to 35 self-identify as feminists, and a YouGov poll shows that only 38% of women overall accept the label, both results that tend towards overestimation. Even so, one would be hard pressed to find individuals who truly don’t believe in female-male equality: They surely exist, but don’t represent most of the population.
Feminism, as Merriam-Webster defines it, is the belief in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Its first wave began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls convention for female voting rights, a milestone achieved more than seven decades later in 1920. The second wave, inspired by the civil rights movement of the 60s, focused on birth control and sex discrimination laws. The current third wave, shaped by the birth of intersectional feminism, has strayed far beyond traditional feminism and strongly associated itself with the leftist agenda.
The annual Women’s March has been a central event for the movement since its initiation in 2017. Although supposedly a march for “women’s rights,” this event has entirely missed the mark, and might more accurately be characterized as an anti-Trump rally. Many, including myself, don’t find themselves represented at the event, demonstrated by some of the key focuses of the 2020 march: reproductive health, rights and justice, climate justice, and immigration. Some of the March’s partners include Planned Parenthood and the #voteprochoice organization. I cannot support a movement that doesn’t protect the rights and lives of the youngest women in our society. These marches and protests are always littered with signs trumpeting “my body my choice” and “stay out of my body.” Well, “feminists,” a fetus is not your body. At 14 weeks, the baby’s heart pumps four quarts of blood; at 9-10 weeks, the teeth form and fingernails begin to develop. At 4 weeks the eyes, legs, and hands begin to take shape and brain waves are detectable. At 3 weeks, the backbone and spinal column form, and at day 22 the heart is already beating. Yet the feminist movement claims that I as a woman am somehow “against women’s bodily autonomy” for believing that such murder is not acceptable and should not receive support or funding from our government.
The march is a huge missed opportunity to join together and advocate for issues we all agree on: improvement to the foster care system, improved access to resources for single parents, and other similar campaigns. However, just as it has failed to breach consensus topics, the event’s goals exclude women who don’t want further government regulation in the environmental sector and still believe that illegal immigration is detrimental. The term “intersectionality” in the modern feminist movement goes far beyond the inclusion of all physical identities; instead, it connects the empowerment of women to the promotion of liberal policy.
The event also partners with Supermajority, an organization founded by Cecile Richards, a former president of Planned Parenthood, and Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter. People can be involved in multiple causes, but among these leadership figures there is a clear lack of pro-life women, pro-2A women, and women who support law enforcement and strong borders. Today’s feminist movement lacks such intellectual diversity and leaves many feeling unwelcome and unrepresented by their goals.
Furthermore, the movement has faced negative press due to the foul qualities of its leaders, including Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist, and Tarika Mallory, a gun control activist. Both stepped down in 2019 following their anti-Semitic comments and refusal to denounce their association with the Nation of Islam organization led by Louis Farrakhan—the man who made this sickening statement during a speech in February of just last year: “Pedophilia and sexual perversion institutionalized in Hollywood and the entertainment industries can be traced to Talmudic principles and Jewish influence. Not Jewish influence, Satanic influence under the name of Jew.” Do we as women really want to stand behind a movement that is so closely intertwined with such vile, false, and patently anti-Semitic hatred? What is worse, this organization was largely responsible for providing the “security” at the 2018 Women’s March. There is no question as to why some participants could have felt unsafe at that event.
There is nothing wrong with having an agenda, but a movement shouldn’t claim to be something it is not. The feminist movement should not claim to fight for all women on an egalitarian platform, while simultaneously advocating for reform on issues that aren’t universal among women. In breaking the glass ceiling, so to speak, the modern feminist movement rains shards on the rest of us.
Ballard, Jamie. “American Women Are More Likely to Identify as Feminists Now than in 2016.” YouGov, YouGov PLC, 9 Aug. 2018, today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/08/09/feminism-american-women-2018
De Pinto, Jennifer. “Women Weigh in on Women in Politics and on Ivanka Trump.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 2018, www.cbsnews.com/news/women-weigh-in-on-women-in-politics-and-on-ivanka-trump/
“Feminism.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism
“Louis Farrakhan.” Southern Poverty Law Center, 2019, www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extermist-files/individual/louis-farrakhan
Stockman, Farah. “Three Leaders of Women’s March Group Step Down After Controversies.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/us/womens-march-anti-semitism.html
Stockman, Farah. “Women’s March Roiled by Accusation of Anti-Semitism.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Dec. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/12/23/us/womens-march-anti-semitism.html