Just a couple weeks ago, millions of women gathered worldwide for the “Women’s March.” This march could have been a great opportunity to pursue women’s empowerment, a movement that could have encouraged women to form their own opinions on political issues and to make independent decisions instead of following the crowd. It could have supported women who held opinions that differ from popular culture. However, the exact opposite took place.
This was not a march for women, but an attempt to push a radical left agenda that advocated against Trump, for abortion and for a large welfare state. Everyone who disagreed was publicly shamed and labeled anti-women, despite the fact that over half of the female population disagreed with at least one of these policy positions.
These women were the biggest victims of the march because only a single disagreement caused the women protesting on the side of the radical left to disregard them as real women. Women who believed that Trump should be president or were anti-abortion were accused of having internalized misogyny and being a slave of the patriarchy. A woman who forms her own opinions and breaks from the popular beliefs that were represented by the march is considered a slave. Unfortunately, this mindset is not isolated.
Modern third-wave feminism has come a long way since the second-wave feminism movement of the 1970s. Starting in the 1990s, the focus began to shift from empowering women to using the guise of women’s rights to promote a political agenda.
At this unfortunate inflection point, with the onset of identity politics, feminism has begun to disempower women. How dare a woman stray from the mob mentality and be an independent thinker. This shame is constantly pushed onto women.
Unrestricted abortions, subsidized contraception and, now, even free tampons are all considered women’s rights in popular culture. Feminism has begun to preach the ideology that says that if a woman disagrees with one of these policies, then she herself must be against women’s rights. These mindsets are remarkably regressive considering the fact that they originate from a “Women’s March” filled with “feminists.”
Only a few months ago feminist filmmaker Cassie Jaye, released her documentary The Red Pill, which focuses on the men’s rights activist movement. Her findings were surprising: what first began as a movie to expose the horrible misogyny of these activists quickly became a movie sympathetic to the activists’ cause. After finishing the film, Jaye was excited to bring her findings back to her feminist friends, but she found that her friends turned on her. The revelations she made in her film did not matter—the only thing that mattered was that they believed Jaye’s politics were wrong.
At that point she lost many friends and people who were her longtime allies, who also began to publicly slander her. From that point on, Jaye no longer used the feminist moniker to describe herself. Feminism, to her, was no longer a movement for female empowerment.
This is the unfortunate state of modern feminism. It is a movement that has betrayed all that it has stood for in the past—it has betrayed women. It comes as no surprise that a growing number of women, such as Jaye, are no longer labelling themselves as feminists. Despite the efforts of truly intelligent women, such as author Christina Hoff Sommers and critic Camille Paglia, to save the feminist label, further efforts are becoming a lost cause as the modern feminist movement continues to morph into a movement of the political left.
In order to truly empower women, women should be encouraged to form their own opinions on issues rather than being put down for having differing opinions. Women should be encouraged to pursue the lifestyle of their own choice and not be pressured into full-time employment.
A stay-at-home mom should be respected just as much as a female lawyer. A woman should not be shamed for expressing her femininity. Only then can true female empowerment be reached. A woman should be respected for the choices she makes under her own willpower, not shamed for resisting the influence of mob mentality.
Eric is a Public Affairs student who is active in organizations including the Baruch College Republicans and the Honors Student Council. Outside of college, he recently founded a nonprofit, Doxa, which aims to increase “debate, discourse and citizenship.”