One year ago, the Women’s March on Washington drew crowds of over three million people to protest the election of President Donald Trump, and to advocate for a slew of issues believed to be threatened by him.
Marchers of every age, race, gender and religion showed up in “pussy hats” with homemade signs all across the country. One pervasively popular sign was “Free Melania.”
These signs, despite marchers’ best intentions, are sexist. They suggest that the women of the White House, including Melania, are trapped in their jobs, lives and marriages because of their crippling complacency. They fail to acknowledge the countless times the first lady has spoken in defense of her husband, including after his infamous comments about grabbing women by the genitals.
And yet, misplaced pity by liberal media outlets for the women of the first family – and conservative women in general – has been a common trend ever since.
In the fall of 2017, almost a year after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election, former first lady Michelle Obama didn’t hold back on her view of female Trump supporters, stating that Clinton’s loss of female voters was not a reflection of Clinton so much as a reflection of the failure of American women: “Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against her own voice. What does it mean for us as women that we look at these two candidates, as women, and many of us said, ‘That guy, he’s better for me, his voice is more true to me.’ Well, to me, that just says you don’t like your voice, you like the thing you’re told to like,” said Obama in a conference, according to CNN.
What Obama got wrong, and what Clinton got wrong for the entirety of her failed campaign, is the assumption that women as a whole have only one voice. In reality, women vote for their favored political party over their gender identity; there will never be any one voice that speaks for all women. It’s sexist to paint women as a single, monolithic group.
Often, feminist activists who pride themselves in being a champion for women fail to acknowledge the 41 percent of American women who consider themselves pro-life (Marist Poll), or the 42 percent of American women who voted for Trump (CNN), or otherwise disagree with the mainstream media’s political agenda in any fashion.
According to the Pew Research Center, 38 percent of women are registered Republicans. They aren’t the majority, but dismissing them, as Obama did, will only lead to more trouble for the Democratic Party and the feminist movement.
To write conservative women off as submissive – in the same tone in which Clinton referred to Trump supporters as “deplorable” – is to discredit conservative women who read the news and research the candidates (like everyone else did) and simply came to different conclusions about what they value.
Conservative women are not to be ignored; the results of the 2016 election only prove what a significant impact they can have on our country’s future.
If women really want to see a change for the better, it’s time to stop dismissing our political differences, and instead, acknowledge them and use them as assets.
Caroline Knight is a junior at Durango High School and co-head editor at El Diablo, the DHS student newspaper. Her parents are Preston and Renée Knight of Durango.