Michelle Obama says that any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against themselves
Here's a contradiction I see at the core of modern feminism: is feminism designed to advocate for all women, or is it an ideological project that doesn't want to engage with what certain women believe? If most women, for example, opposed abortion, would feminism become more intellectually diverse, or would it cast out those women as wrong-thinkers? It seems to me that in 2017, feminism is more about a particular stance on women than representing the voice of all women.
So where do conservative women stand? Well, as enemies. That much is logically incontrovertible in intersectional feminism. Conservative women stand for the opposite of what they want.
Michelle Obama, as a liberal feminist, made this point clear at a recent question and answer session in Boston, with author Roxane Gay.
“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” said Michelle, in a phrase surely to invite thousands of declarations of 'yaas girl' and a thousand eye-rolls all at the same time.
But here's the problem with her statement: how can a woman vote against her own voice? If a woman voted for Donald Trump, clearly she put her voice there. How can anyone claim to argue that that woman voted against her own voice when she explicitly used her political voice in the way she saw fit?
These issues are just too complicated for social-media-style-bite-sized feminism to properly cope with. Elizabeth Bruenig, for example, is an editor at the Washington Post. She is a socialist Christian writer who loves the writings of Saint Augustine and supported Bernie Sanders. And yet, she is pro-life. She explicitly said: "I oppose abortion because I believe it is contrary to Christian ethics."
What becomes of a pro-life socialist? Are they cast out of the feminist movement for not respecting a woman's right to choose? What if a woman felt so strongly about abortion alone that they voted for Donald Trump purely to swing the Supreme Court to outlaw it? After all, if you believe it is murder, it would rank among your top political concerns.
All I'm saying is that these issues are far more complicated and intractable than any social media feminism promoted by Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton or JK Rowling will ever give them credit for.
During the election, many feminists made statements against the political self-determination of women.
Legendary feminist writer Gloria Steinem said that young women only chose Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton because “when you’re young, you’re thinking ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.” Sounds intensely sexist, right?
Madeline Albright, a former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, said "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other," at a Clinton rally, implying that the vote in 2016 was just a matter of helping a woman or betraying her for a man.
Sloppy, reductionist, sexist thinking seems to be very common among feminists who claim to know better. But what do you think? Michelle Obama says she still wants Donald Trump to succeed in office, but that seems like decorum, given that his success would be the dismantling of the Obama years' legislative victories.
If you don't like Trump, you'll have to get more serious than this about politics. Shaming conservative women about their own self-agency is unlikely to work at the ballot.