Can You Be A So-Called Pro-Lifer And Be A Feminist? Yes.

It was inevitable that an upset would momentarily take the spotlight off the power of the Women's March and place it on the archaic belief that feminists are just mean girls. The organizers of this great Women's March, that takes place the day after the inauguration of our first Russian President, originally included some anti-Trump groups who are, interestingly, anti-abortion. They were included as partners in the March, but almost as soon as they were included they were ousted when the information became public.

A mini drama unfolded and then a hashtag trended on twitter that was lauded by deplorables ( a word Hillary Clinton used to describe the white nationalist element of the Trump base) because it gave the Trumpers an opportunity to denigrate the Women's March. Purity is the enemy of forward progress.

I've done my share of pro-choice marching since 1980 and I have written the letters, donated the money and basically been on the pro-choice front lines for decades, but in my opinion the ousting of one particular anti-abortion group, "New Wave Feminists," was a mistake. (They refer to themselves as pro-life, but if I use that I'll be chastised, too.)

They were given the old heave-ho after a selective feminist media frenzy attacked the March organizers for partnering with these anti-abortion groups. "New Wave Feminists" were an official partner for almost a week and then they were not.

This morning I spoke with the head of "New Wave Feminists," Destiny Herndon-de la Rosa, and she stated that her group is not, in fact, conservative. She added that has always been an "anti-Trumper" and a political "independent." She said her group does not advocate overturning Roe vs. Wade, "We are only making criminals out of women if we try to overturn Roe."

Destiny commented on the GOP when she brought up, what she called a "Phyllis Schlafly position  "that abortion should be a partisan issue." She described that sentiment as the most "detrimental thing we ever did." It is her belief that this paved a strong path to a "Trump administration." That seems like a big leap, yet I agree.

All Trump had to utter were a few choice anti-abortion lines such as "I am pro-life" and that he believed there had to be "punishment" for women who got abortions in order to get anti-choicers to vote for him. (That authoritarian streak gets him a lot of mileage.) Trump was never outspokenly anti-choice, in fact it is common knowledge that he is pro-choice.

His words and this hyper-partisan atmosphere about women's body parts helped oust our first female President who is unequivocally pro-choice.

The GOP holds great power over the issue of abortion and that is a feminist issue.

If we are to continue to be seen as parts (pussy grabbing) and not whole women, we will stay on this narrow road to political equality.

This is where we are now in the United States, a dangerously partisan environment where everyone takes extreme sides. Running on a parallel track is the growing realization that women are having a difficult time reaching for political equality, especially in the White House, where we have a zero rating.

Hillary understood the need for common ground. She always worked across the partisan divide to get things done. As FLOTUS she worked tirelessly for children and in the 1990s, with Congressman Tom Delay, she was instrumental in spearheading and passing the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Tom Delay was anti-choice. (In 2003 Delay had a zero rating from NARAL.)

Finding common ground, where we can, moves women and children forward. 

-Jennifer Hall Lee

 


 

Why It's A Women's March For Our Country

 

Hillary Clinton, courtesy U.S. State Department

 

It's a Women's March because the women of the USA just lost their first female President - a woman who spent her life fighting for women and children. We have another generation of girls growing up into women without seeing a woman in the Oval Office. This has an affect on women. The male lock box of Oval Office power holds our country back. Boys and men see the ultimate seat of power in our nation as male. This has an affect on them. It's a march for the country because America is behind many other nations in terms of political equality for women. This affects our society economically and socially. We are fighting for our country because the way our first female president lost was due to a rogue FBI director and a foreign power. Freedom of the press and our civil liberties are at risk. We are fighting for our country because this new administration does not have respect for our institutions that help to keep our democratic republic stable. - Jennifer Hall Lee

Progressive Sexism Holds Women Back from the Oval Office

Van Jones did it again, but he didn't say oops. With one sentence he dismissed Hillary's progressive work and brought back mid-20th century sexism to the forefront. In reference to the 2016 election he said that the "Clinton days are over." Note to Jones, the Clinton family wasn't running for President, Hillary was.

Hillary is a singular person distinct from her marriage. Does Van Jones see Hillary as a wife before he sees her as a person? Yes, it's possible. (I was surprised to hear his words as I have been impressed by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights which he co-founded. Ella Baker is a woman whose accomplishments haven't been as widely recognized as they should.)

His dismissal of Hillary is not a stand alone statement. In 2016 he referred to Hillary as a "workaholic do-gooder chick." This was during the historic primary where she broke the unspoken gendered political wall that barred women from being major party nominees. Surprisingly, Van Jones admitted this during the Democratic convention. He said it was at this point that he saw all the  "dots put together in the right way." I'm not sure if the dots were new information for Van Jones (they shouldn't have been), but there is far more he could have said about the political work of Hillary Clinton.

His words are an example of progressive sexism which is a tool used unconsciously by people on the left who see women's rights and children's rights as offshoots or subsets of the main male frame of politics. Their thinking is patriarchal.

Hillary did things no first lady has ever done. She blasted through multiple barriers for women in politics starting from the place as first lady. She turned a nationally recognized role as helpmate into a role as global warrior for women's rights. Many women can now follow in her shoes. To marginalize her as just part of a marriage is pre-women's liberation movement sexism at best. At worst it is the maintenance of patriarchal gender roles that keep the Oval Office solidly male.

In 2016 Hillary didn't run just to win. She did it to bring her significant skills to lead a nation and help change the world. Her life's work is an example of politics that includes women and children.

I was recently in Pakistan at the International Islamic University, Islamabad and female students (on the female campus) wanted to discuss the election. They were amazed that Hillary wasn't elected and added that they had been "rooting for her." Some were forlorn, others shocked, one was smiling in an embarrassed way. I could see that she was sad, yet perplexed at how Hillary did not win. She was looking at me as if to say, "Can't the American people see that we needed her?" I assured her that the majority of the voters could see them.

The words that come from the U.S. Presidency, and the President-elect, are heard around the world. (Think about this when you read his tweets and remember the "pussy" talk.)

Electing a woman such as Hillary to the Oval Office would have been a great change that would bring the issues of children and women to the forefront, globally. That changes our foreign policy and domestic policy. That "do-gooder chick" would have changed the lives of women world-wide.

Don't believe me? Study the nations where women are subjugated and notice that those countries are hotbeds for terrorism and violence. In those areas children's lives are marginalized and destroyed. We have never had a president speak to them in a way that Hillary would have spoken: as part of the mainframe of global politics.

This type of work is far more than just being a workaholic or a chick. Hillary wasn't just part of a Clinton family. Van Jones' words dismiss her truly progressive work. Perhaps he didn't connect the dots, but First Lady Michelle Obama most certainly did when she said about Hillary, "...we want a president who values and honors women, who teaches our daughters and our sons that women are full and equal human being worth, deserving of love and respect."

A woman in the Oval Office is needed now. 

Progressive sexism is real and it keeps the U.S. presidency solidly male.