In today’s world, feminism seems to be synonymous with the support of contraception, pro-choice legislation, and sexual freedom for women. But how did this feminist movement begin? According to 2016 Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, feminism “began as a rallying cry to empower women … But over the years, feminism has devolved into a left-leaning political ideology where women are pitted against men and used as a political weapon to win elections.”
I agree with Fiorina, particularly in that feminism has become a polarizing issue with men and women. However, I believe the feminist movement has also pitted women against each other.
Take, for instance, Elisabeth Badinter, french author and historian who believes that “educated women who become stay-at-home moms have lost their minds.” Or Elizabeth Hurtzel, who wrote in a recent article that “1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible,” and that “being a mother isn’t a real job–and the men who run the world know it.” Chrissy Stockton, who writes under the pseudonym “Amy Glass,” argued that you will never “be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.”
Why is there criticism of women for making a choice to stay at home and raise their children in the way they see fit? Feminists preach the importance of a woman’s right to her body. Liberals staunchly believe in a woman’s right to choose over whether or not she chooses to keep the baby inside of her and staunchly oppose those who do not support abortion. So why is it okay to condemn women for their choice on how to raise their child and how to live their life after giving birth?
If you can argue that being pro choice is based off of having control over your own body, then how can you turn around and argue that raising your child the way you see fit isn’t a decision based off of having control over your life?
Fiorina offers an alternative to this. She believes that “a feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses. … A woman may choose to have five children and home-school them. She may choose to become a CEO, or run for President.”
I find that the majority of the feminism conversations are centered around sex and contraception; as if those are the only issues facing women today. I care about empowering women, but not solely through those means, which speaks to my feelings of disconnect with the feminist movement today. I do, however, feel connected to the feminist movement and ideals that Fiorina is spreading on her campaign trail.
Fiorina has the view of feminism that the women in this country need: a bi-partisan opinion that brings us back to the basics of what women in America want, which is empowerment and the opportunity to reach the social and economic equality that we have yet to achieve.