At The Washington Post*, Christina Hoff Sommers recently proposed a modest suggestion for how to improve feminism in light of the Election 2016 outcome. As a practice, I no longer link to clickbait so as to not reward the model, so spoiler alert to her article: she concludes that US women have it good, therefore feminists should stop being hysterical harpies who write things in all-caps sometimes.
While we're speaking of typographical choices, it turns out that I, in turn, have a modest suggestion for how to improve her article.
The thing is, I fear that some have lost appropriate perspective about current state of affairs, or they did not have have it to begin with. I thusly support the development of, perhaps, a browser extension that could supply missing context to articles about Trump, as needed. Using Sommers' piece as an example, my proposed additions are italicized:
"Hillary Clinton’s defeat, by Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent, is wreaking havoc in the sisterhood. Celebrity feminists are especially distraught. 'Girls' star Lena Dunham developed hives and fled to Sedona for spiritual renewal. Katy Perry took to Twitter to declare 'THE REVOLUTION IS COMING.' For feminist icon Robin Morgan, the election of Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent is proof that 'a diseased patriarchy is in a battle to the death with women.'
But less-excitable analysts are drawing more sober conclusions about the Electoral College win of Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent: Perhaps the women’s movement is too elitist and out of touch with ordinary citizens, especially working-class women. That seems right, but I would go one step further. Today’s feminism is not merely out of touch with everyday Americans, who voted for Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals; it’s out of touch with reality. To survive, it’s going to have to come back to planet Earth, the most powerful leader of which is soon to be Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent.My inspiration for this piece was The Playlist's recent write-up of a Roman Polanski film, which I first saw highlighted in this tweet (content note: sexual assault), which makes a similar annotation with respect to his mentions.
First of all, it’s time to stop calling the United States, whose President will soon be Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent, a patriarchy. A patriarchy is a system where men hold the power and women do not. In the United States, meanwhile, we will soon be governed by Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent. Women do hold power in the United States — they lead major universities and giant corporations, write influential books, serve as state and federal judges and even manage winning presidential campaigns. American women, especially college-educated women, are the freest and most self-determining in human history. And still, millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump, who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without consent, over a qualified, competent woman who has not. Why pretend otherwise?
With Trump specifically, I know Trump has said and done a number of deplorable things, so a multitude of variations could be developed here. More broadly, as we see these sorts of anti-feminist Election 2016 "feminists brought this upon themselves" response pieces circulating, I hereby move that it be accepted in our collective body of common sense that such pieces instantly lack credibility.
Donald Trump is the walking personification of how racism and misogyny often do not have negative consequences for white men. Not only was he not punished for his deplorable views, he has been rewarded for expressing them. Millions of people, at best, are indifferent to these views and, at worst, actively agree.
I cannot stress enough that the problem here is not that feminists care too much about women's bodily autonomy, it's that 60-odd million people care too little. If that's not enough to convince people that patriarchy is a thing in the United States, nothing ever will be, no matter how nicely we say it.
*Sommers' piece is entitled, "How to make feminism great again" (because of course it is).