In Trump, Feminists Find Another Silly Cause
The current iteration of American feminism is hopelessly infected with the disease of triviality. Feminism, as a tool of the greater liberal cause, has been a destructive force in our culture for more years than most of us have been alive, but the feminism of 2016 goes beyond that. It’s not just destructive, it’s actively silly. Much like their compatriots in the Black Lives Matter movement, this generation of progressive women is lost at sea, searching mindlessly for a cause. But in an America where all the laws are fair and all the rights are equal, a worthy cause is hard to come by.
So we get Manspreading: a campaign to alert men to how much space they’re taking up on the subway. We get Anita Sarkeesian, warning America about sexism in video games. We get 500 gender categories and 5,000 possible sexual orientations. We get made-up statistics about a pay gap that doesn’t really exist. We get a presidential candidate who has no better argument for herself than, “I’m a woman.”
These bored feminists have, of course, found a new strain of triviality in Donald Trump. In his lifelong quest to trample the rules of political correctness, Trump has made comments about women that we wouldn’t typically expect from a presidential candidate. That’s not to pretend like it doesn’t matter; depending on your sensibilities and your sense of humor, you may find Trump hilarious or you may find him disgraceful. And the polls show that he has a gender problem that extends well beyond the hardcore feminist types.
But when it comes to those feminists, a little perspective would be nice. Trump’s policy adviser, Stephen Miller, attempted to bring some of that perspective to bear on CNN’s State of the Union show Sunday.
“The political class in Washington D.C. works itself up into a feigned indignation about things that don’t actually affect the lives of the American people,” said Miller, discussing the kerfuffle surrounding Trump’s Heidi/Melania comparison picture. “I think it says a lot about the conscience of Washington D.C. how many hours we’ve spent discussing a retweet.”
Miller went on to bring up the issue of female genital mutilation, which is taking root in the United States thanks to considerable Muslim immigration. “This is a fact: as a result of uncontrolled migration into this country – you can look this up, this is a statistic from Equality Now – half a million U.S. girls in this country are at risk of female genital mutilation.”
The feminists on the panel waved this away, accusing Miller of using the tried-and-true Trump tactic of saying “something outrageous.” Neera Tanden, who runs the Center for American Progress, said she did not believe Miller’s statistic.
Whether she believes it or not, though, it’s true. And it’s one of many important causes that await the interest of today’s American feminists. On a worldwide basis, there are still women suffering under oppressive regimes. If these girls want their lives to mean something, the issues are out there.