As you may have seen in the news, the 2018 Women’s March took place nearly two weeks ago, from Jan. 20 – 21. It has raised skepticism as to how effective the feminist message has truly been, specifically related to the sexual assault scandals that have snowballed for several months.
As I scroll through my feed on social media and observe my younger female (and even male) friends holding signs that say “Public Cervix Announcement — F*** Off” and “Not Your B****,” the question of whether these statements produce allies or enemies of the feminist cause is viable, especially when disussing the subject of sexual assault.
Women gathering to fight the evils of sexism and sexual misconduct in the workplace, while wearing apparel with blatant images of uteruses and/or minimal clothing at gatherings, brings into question whether women are giving offenders any reason to show contriteness for their own vulgarity. Moreover, it may prove that women can be almost as tasteless as the insensitive men who have been sexually suggestive.
Actresses at this year’s Golden Globes came together in the campaign #WhyIWearBlack to fight against sexual misconduct in Hollywood — beginning with Hollywood royalty Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen Hollywood elite actresses, and spanning to Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer, and Aziz Ansari — in an effort to expose the uncouth tycoons. The only thing missing from this seemingly wholesome movement is the answer to the question of whether some women were complicit in sexual advances in order to further their careers, whether they had known about previous behavior before the expose, and whether their movies instigated inappropriate behavior.
Are women arguing that they can act sexually explicit and expect men to not respond either verbally or physically? Are women unwilling to make changes that could decrease incidents of inappropriate behavior? Are women doing everything in their power to minimize the causes of sexual harassment? These are questions for all women, yourself included, to mull over.
The modern feminist movement entails much more than mere protection from male predators in the workplace. Modern feminism enters into the discussion of reproductive rights. Feminists do not want a man’s say or any rivaling opinion over what is right/wrong for their body, from anyone. Period.
Observing the number of Hillsdale students traveling to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, a particular statistic caught my attention: 25 million women aborted since 1973, who could have been president. Perhaps this explains the void in female power that women seek to fill.
The Women’s March relayed women’s thirst for personal power but also their lack of accountability. This was disturbing and must be addressed. American women have rights, but women in some foreign countries and girls in the womb do not. Women are not defined by the way they are treated by men in the workplace but how they professionally present themselves in their workplaces. A woman does have power over what she does with her body, but she cannot necessarily claim power over the body of the individual who grows within her.
The Women’s March sought to empower women, but ultimately the fight appeared to be over the notion of whether a woman should be answerable for her actions. The message entailed the short-sighted desire for a woman’s full control over her body, free from consequences.
Creating a movement where women can encourage respectability in one another, respond to inappropriate behavior with decency and grace, and show the maturity that predators lack is the most empowering response women can make. The most empowering action women can take is to protect not only women preyed upon in the public workplace but also the dignity of the future world-changers in the wombs of women.
This movement can pave a path for all women by moving toward recognizing and building up women in other countries who lack the basic right to enter workplaces or preserve the life of her child.
The Women’s March exhibits a misdirected generation of women who do not recognize the power they possess to facilitate change both here and abroad.
Isabella Redjai is a freshman studying English.