This. This interview pulled at almost every one of my emotions—laughter, confusion, anger, frustration, and sadness BUT, it missed happiness. Watch the video, but if you can’t now here is a quick synopsis, although I guarantee you will want to watch it by the time you finish reading this blog just to see if they really said that.
The nationally televised program Fox & Friends featured the three hosts of Politichicks.tv, Ann-Marie Murrell, Morgan Brittany, and Gina Loudon on their Tuesday September 2, 2014 show to promote their new book “What Women Really Want.” In the four minute interview, the authors gave their take on how the feminist movement has demoralized the U.S. culture and how they are “redefining feminism” based on what women really want (hence the presumptuous title).
Hang on to your intellectual cells, because you may lose a few while watching the video. Luckily, I have compiled their key points below, with a few of my thoughts of course.
The three women authors claim that the feminist movement has not been about equality but instead has set its sights on sexualizing women’s bodies. In one sentence they claim to be dispelling the lies of the deceiving feminists of the past: “Nothing to do with equality.” At this point, I cringed and bit my tongue—I think there may have been steam coming out on the top of my head too (not sure though, too irritated to look). It gets worse. They go on to say, hey, we already have the vote and have equality in the workplace…we’re equal! Well, damn! How come no one told me? Oh, that’s right because it’s not true!
Let’s be clear here, yes women have the right to vote in the U.S. but let’s not forget why—it’s thanks to decades of feminist activism, from Seneca Falls, Lucy Stone and the other National Woman’s Rights Conventions in the late 1840s and 1850s to Susan B. Anthony and the thirty thousand woman march in 1915, the 19th amendment was possible only because of the feminist movement. Let’s also be clear that some political equality—like the right to vote—does not equate to equality in other areas of women’s lives, especially in the home, school, office, in the bedroom and on the streets. Gaining the right to vote has not stopped 1 in 5 women from being raped and assaulted; going to the ballet box has not stopped the rude and often vulgar names I get called while walking to the metro; and being counted as 1:1 with my male counterpart in the national elections does not mean that my male boss will pay me 1:1 to the male employee sitting next to me for the same job.
According to the American Association of University Women, women are paid 77% of what men were paid in 2002 and in 2012; it’s even worse in some states, like Wyoming, where women were paid just 64% of what men were paid. For women of color, the gap is worse, with Hispanic women—that means me!—being paid 53% of what white men were paid.
Which brings me to my next thought—or to be honest my first thought in the first 30 seconds of the interview. Clearly, my life’s trajectory and these four women’s are polar opposites. They are thin, white, straight haired, and privileged. How do I know they are privileged? Simple, the three women are promoting a rather non-news worthy book on a national television show (connections? Yes.). But also, one women said she “worked for Bobby Kennedy” a former presidential candidate—not an easy job to land. I don’t disregard their experiences as false, but I do think they are frighteningly misinformed and incredibly ignorant to deny their racial and economic privilege and assume that this unique position they have lived in gives them a better understanding of what women really want, as their book title reads. According to the authors, they spoke to thousands of women across the country but I would bet that they preached to the choir and heard a lot of their own views repeated back to them—which in itself is a scary thought. Yikes, let’s move on.
But alas, it was the last four points that were made that really had my head spinning and blood boiling.
Is it really a problem for well educated women, even with a law degree, to stay home with their kids…yes, what about them? The host asks this question, then the three authors all nod their heads with a roaring yes, women absolutely do. Funny, they act as if that’s not what feminism is all about—to choose what you want to do as a woman without backlash or condemnation. If a woman wants to get a law degree, kick some criminal ass and then stay at home as a mother, great. If she wants to have kids early, then go back to school and get her degree, great. If she doesn’t want kids and spends her time travelling the world with her partner, great. These women have chosen their path, without backlash from their families or coworkers, and without condemnation of their friends. That is the whole freaking point of feminism—having the freedom to choose your path, not feeling ashamed or belittled or scared to choose what makes sense for you and makes you happy. The fact that the guests on the show don’t or refuse to see this is insulting. If you are going to try to redefine feminism, for God’s sake, please understand what it means first or at least try before going on national television.
They want less government in their lives, they want to make their own decisions, they want freedom to choose for their children and their families. Really? Coming from a U.S. conservative this is laughable and insulting at the same time since it is the conservative base that tried passing a law that would force women in Virginia to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion. Women deserve to have their rights respected by everyone, unfortunately some people don’t agree or don’t seem to act this way, which is exactly why we need laws that women can use as a tool for holding these idiots accountable. This is what women need from government. We do want less government in our business and the right to choose what we want for our bodies and family—I want to scream this because I don’t think the three authors have made this connection: I DON’T WANT THE CONSERVATIVES TO DECIDE WHAT I DO WITH MY BODY. This is a decision for my family. The government’s job is to make sure no one gets to decide for us. Since one of the women on the couch is credited as one of the founding members of the U.S. tea party, I know for a fact that they didn’t think to include access to birth control and safe abortion; likewise, I assume they are conveniently leaving out childcare too, especially, how it was the women’s movement that moved mountains for childcare oversight laws that ensure safe and healthy centers and care givers.
Women want real men. Oh God. I won’t touch this one because I would need another three pages to do so, but I will ask, what is a real man? Who defines it?
Politicizing our bodies and what happens in the bedroom is all that “feminist movement” has successfully done. Hold up, first of all, why air quote feminist movement, does she think it’s imaginary? Like a unicorn? Secondly, politicizing our bodies is a bad thing? Does this Dr. Loudon (PhD in psychology) even know what this is and how it has impacted her life? Think domestic violence— had the oh-so fictitious feminist movement not politicized what happens to women’s bodies in the home, then laws sanctioning domestic violence and martial rape would not exist. Breaking the taboo of women’s sexuality is exactly what was needed to begin shedding misconceptions and outright lies about women’s sexual and bodily agency.
Thinking through all that was said and where it was said, I can’t stress enough how dangerous this is. You may be asking yourself, how could a four minute book promotion be dangerous? Well my friends, this is scary because they will be heard and listened to be thousands of women and men in the US. They will influence thousands. They have been given a rare opportunity in the U.S., to speak about women, feminism and equality for four minutes on a national televised platform, and no matter how big the bag of bullshit was, they did it well. They were charismatic, light, and their messaging was spot on—they used what the conservative base in this country already think and fear, that feminists hate men, are anti-feminine, and are overly sexualized and therefore immoral. They are speaking to the choir and the choir is signing their praise. As one commenter said, “these ladies do their job well—misinformation at its finest.”
Photo credit: Asian Scientist