With the presidential election already properly underway, Senate Republicans have wasted no time dashing the illegitimate affirmation course of to raise Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court docket. And because the rating Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein shocked lots of her colleagues and constituents when she applauded Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham for holding “one of the best sets of hearings I’ve participated in” and hugged him on the shut of the affirmation hearings.
There may be nothing inherently feminist about being a girl.
On Oct. 22, the Judiciary Committee will vote on whether or not to maneuver Barrett ahead for a full vote on the Senate flooring. Barrett’s affirmation might jeopardize reproductive rights and entry to abortion care, contraception, and even in vitro fertilization, amongst different well being care — particularly for girls of colour and folks with the least sources. Contemplating the devastating influence Barrett’s affirmation would have on reproductive well being and different points disproportionately impacting girls and LGBTQ people, each Barrett and Feinstein make it clear that ladies having energy — and particularly white girls, who’ve traditionally performed an energetic function within the oppression of ladies of colour — is not essentially feminism, and even near it. All through historical past, white girls leaders and political figures have wielded energy to disclaim girls of colour suffrage, and even weaponize contraception and reproductive rights actions to police the copy of ladies and households of colour.
Ever because the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying final month, the affirmation technique of Decide Barrett has served as a harsh reminder that feminism is not all the things a girl does as a result of she is a girl. It is a political ideology of equality and justice for many who are oppressed by the exact same white supremacist patriarchy that Decide Barrett — and by supporting Barrett, Senator Feinstein — search to uphold.
Barrett’s authorized profession and advocacy consists of signing a letter in support of ending Roe v. Wade, and voting to overturn a district court ruling that found a Wisconsin county “answerable for tens of millions in damages to a girl who alleged she had been repeatedly raped by a jail guard.” Barrett’s opposition to reproductive rights matches her dismissive views of sexual violence; in each instances, Barrett is clearly unconcerned with respecting folks’s security and bodily autonomy. And regardless of Feinstein’s self-identification as “pro-choice,” she’s damaged with the Democratic Get together to increase help to the affirmation course of. Barrett and Feinstein mirror the pitfalls and racist, misogynist harms of conservative, white feminism, which frames symbols and symbolic illustration alone as empowering — even when the person girls who’re empowered use their energy to assault the rights of probably the most marginalized girls.
As we have seen with conservative branding of Barrett because the “Infamous ACB,” a spin on the enduring “Infamous RBG” meme, treating girls in politics and typically as interchangeable no matter their completely different ideologies is deeply sexist. There’s nothing inherently feminist about being a girl — and in Barrett’s case, there’s nothing inherently feminist about being a mom or historically profitable working mom. That is very true once you would use your energy to remove the power to decide on or reject parenthood from others, and uphold boundaries that stop girls of colour or poor girls from experiencing the identical success.
In fact, the glorification of Barrett’s motherhood as a white girl by each Republicans and Sen. Feinstein additionally highlights a racist double normal in whose motherhood is glorified, and whose is punished by insurance policies like welfare caps on what number of youngsters folks receiving public help can have, and racist stereotypes of the “welfare queen” and “anchor infants.” Ladies of colour, and particularly Black and Brown girls, have all the time been discouraged by the federal government from having households on their very own phrases, and those that have greater households like Barrett’s are sometimes actively punished.
Finally, motherhood, working parenthood, and conventional success do not make a girl a feminist, or empowering to girls and ladies who lack their energy and privilege. By praising Barrett and celebrating Barrett’s household — all whereas supporting a affirmation course of that may hurt girls and households of colour — Feinstein reminds us how white feminist requires “girls to help girls” are sometimes restricted to elite white girls solely supporting one another, on the expense of everybody else.
Picture Supply: Getty / Pool