As we head into a new year, there is a looking forward, but also a looking back. What did 2017 bring us? For one thing, “feminism” was named the “word of the year” by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and interest in the word peaked particularly around certain events billed as “feminist”, including the Women’s March and #MeToo movement.
New York Post journalist Nicole Russell rightly feels disappointed at what “feminism” accomplished last year, and concludes this:
“Now modern feminists wield their gender like a weapon not to create equality but to demand entitlement, not to improve or increase all women’s rights, but only the rights of women with whom they align politically.”
In America, the Women’s March organizers refused to welcome pro-life groups as sponsors after online backlash labelled pro-life groups as anti-women. We saw the political pressure a feminist claim can bring in Canada as well. MP Rachael Harder was held back from a position as Head of the Status of Women Committee when Liberal and NDP MPs – fellow women – judged her unable to adequately represent women since she does not advocate for abortion. Our tax dollars were spent liberally in a “feminist international assistance policy” that focused on access to abortion as a crucial change to be brought to nations who do not even want abortion.
Feminism, as Russell keenly pointed out, is no longer a movement by women for the empowerment of women. It has become a movement of women with a particular, dogged focus on abortion access. Women themselves are told they do not qualify as representatives of their sex, and that they are unwelcome at “feminist” events. Meanwhile, men who toe the line of reproductive freedom at the great cost of pre-born human life are called feminists instead.
When women are no longer willing to consider other women’s voices as valid, they add, whether they want to or not, to a culture that needed #MeToo. The #MeToo movement is rightly about speaking up and eliminating shame, or at least placing that shame squarely where it belongs. Yet the “feminist” term attached to the movement is the same one from the Women’s March that tells other women that their voices are not valid, that they should be quiet and take orders.
Women claiming the banner of feminism are creating a space where political, ideological and star power are used to trample, shame and devalue those who disagree.
Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life, writes, “Properly defined, feminism is a philosophy that embraces basic rights for all human beings without exception…. Feminism rejects the use of force to dominate, control or destroy anyone.”
Moving forward into 2018, let’s hold on to this feminism, a feminism that does not need to tear down or destroy in order to feel built up. Let’s advocate for a feminism that doesn’t dominate, but cooperates. This feminism values life in all its stages, even at great personal inconvenience.