There are two causes that have always been close to my heart—being a Republican and being a feminist.
Personally, I never found these belief systems to be at odds with each other. But since U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett (“ACB”) was confirmed, I’ve noticed an influx of memes, GIFs, articles and posts with the sentiment that Barrett, and other Republican women like her, cannot claim the title of “feminist.”
For the most part, Barrett’s critics take issue with her being pro-life. They accuse her of not supporting women because she works to “restrict their rights,” and does nothing to “assist marginalized females.” By their logic, anyone who is pro-life (or Republican) cannot be a feminist.
Democrats and progressives cannot claim feminism solely for themselves. In fact, attempting to do so is inherently anti-feminist. One of the most important features of the feminist movement, in my opinion, is empowering women to do what is best for them, whatever those choices may be.
Women should feel supported in deciding if they want to be a lawyer or a stay-at-home mom. Either decision should be celebrated by fellow feminists.
As Louisa May Alcott wrote in “Little Women”: “Just because my dreams are different from yours doesn’t make them unimportant.”
That attitude should be the guiding principle of the feminist movement, not one of hostility, argument and reclamation of an inclusive term.
I am a Republican. I am pro-life. And I am a feminist.
Maggie Cleary, Culpeper
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