Unless you spent the month of January under a rock, you know it’s been a very busy month for feminism. At the Golden Globes, Oprah gave a stirring speech regarding sexual assault and the fact that it’s time for Americans and Hollywood to say that enough is enough. Women across America demonstrated on January 20th in the name of women’s empowerment and largely in favor of liberal-leaning feminist causes. The seven day sentencing of Larry Nassar included impactful statements from any victim who asked to speak and concluded in a 40-175 year prison sentence for the serial sexual assaulter.

One episode of misogyny was allowed to fly under the radar, though. Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury, insinuated that Ambassador Nikki Haley was having an affair with President Donald Trump. He implied in the book that Haley had many private meetings with Trump. Wolff then stated on Bill Maher that he could not put it in the book because he did not have clear evidence, but he was sure the President was having an affair. Did feminists roundly criticize Wolff? Nope. Hollywood, Hillary Clinton, and the media celebrated Wolff at the 60th Grammy Awards on Sunday by reading excerpts of the book. When Haley tweeted that the reading of the book ruined the awards night for her, the media criticized her for tone deafness instead of acknowledging why she would have disapproval of such a performance. It’s time for so-called feminists to start defending and working with conservative women who experience sexism too.

Feminists should be embarrassed that they let a disgusting, misogynistic, and baseless attack on Nikki Haley completely fly under their radar. It’s fine to disagree with Nikki Haley on politics. You can argue that she supports President Trump’s policies and you might not support those policies, therefore you do not support her politically. That’s okay, but it’s harmful to let those political differences cloud your feminism. I was embarrassed last week when a Missouri Senate candidate compared Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren to Disney villains because of the way they dress. I think it’s embarrassing when Republicans mock Katy Perry as “before and after feminism” because she got a hair cut. No, I don’t think that we need to weaponize women’s looks and sexuality in order to express our political differences. I think that other women who call themselves feminists should think the same way. Whether it’s Nikki Haley or Samantha Power being accused of an affair with their boss, we should defend her. That’s what feminism should be about.

Modern feminism also isn’t doing a good job of including all women. The same issues affect us all: the economy, equal pay, immigration, sexual assault, family planning, and societal expectations; we may differ on how to handle these issues, but we can all acknowledge they exist. Although I personally did support President Trump during the 2016 Election, many Republican and conservative women did not. One pro-life group, the New Wave Feminists, was barred as a sponsor of the 2017 Women’s March simply due to its pro-life views. This is a clear exclusion of an important viewpoint that many women hold, even though many feminists may disagree. If we really want to enact change for women on all fronts, we need to acknowledge that someone who disagrees with us on one issue is still in agreement on all other issues. We shouldn’t be letting issues like abortion divide us when it comes to fighting against sexual assault and fighting for women’s empowerment. The Women’s March should have included these women who wanted to support women’s empowerment too.

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I will note that this is not just an issue with liberal feminists. Sometimes, conservatives espouse double standards and hypocrisy as well. In fact, both sides have shown hypocrisy in the current national conversation surrounding sexual harassment and assault. We shouldn’t be determining whether victims should only be believed if their politics oppose ours. Feminism shouldn’t only be used when it is politically convenient. Feminism is important all the time, regardless of whether it is convenient for us to defend the victim of sexism or assault. Politics should not trump human morality and decency.

Women have made amazing progress in the avenues of equality at home, in politics, and the workplace, but every woman can still describe a time when she was dismissed, belittled, or harassed due to her womanhood. Some feminists believe that the government needs to step in and push for further progress. Other feminists believe that women in the private sector and as individuals can change society and culture for the better. This doesn’t make one group less feminist than the other. It’s time for feminists to put their money where their mouth is. Support all women against harassment, sexism, and inequality, not just when those women have the same politics.

Cat B
FFL Contributor