Feminist Foe or Friend?

By: Mia Pitts-Hope

When you go to google and type in feminism the google search will produce a concise and straightforward definition; “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” 

You get some book recommendations and a plethora of articles to read and enlighten yourself with. When Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court on October 26, 2020, I searched the word “feminism.”

Twitter flooded with compliments and grievances with the new appointment. On one hand, there seemed to be a sense of victory. The victory that a woman was stepping into the role of replacing the honorable Ruth Ginsburg. She appears with such stature of qualifications, pride, and a sense of belonging when going through the court hearings.

The Spotlight

Yet, upon reading her credentials it drew a serious focus on what this could mean for the feminism movement. The grievances were coming to light. Amy Coney Barret’s appointment brings sadness to many with feelings that Ruth’s legacy can be undone by the new appointment. The freedoms that many women felt that they have are questioned and they feel as though it hangs in the balance. Her agendas have been primarily focused on Roe v. Wade, healthcare, gun rights, the death penalty, and discrimination

In a New York Times article, there’s a passage that seems to be prevalent. “Professor Fitzpatrick said he was certain of one thing. “I’m sure she thinks that Roe v. Wade is not a well-reasoned Supreme Court decision.” “The hard question is whether she would be willing to overturn it.”

This can be very concerning to women with the feminist agenda. It matters to them to have that choice of what to do with their own bodies.

Views On Discrimination

When it comes to her views on discrimination, the same article brings her words to the center. “She said she would have overturned a trial court ruling blocking the Trump administration’s efforts to tighten the “public charge” rule. This allows officials to deny permanent legal status, also known as a green card, to immigrants who are likely to need public assistance.”

What does this mean for the feminist movement? There has been an ever-present development of defining the difference between white feminism and feminism that includes all women. True feminism holds the power to change and shape society as such to advance women’s rights and inclusion. Yet there is this new emergence of racial tension and discrimination in the feminism circle. This takes the form of white feminism. “White Feminism exists to promote the comfort and safety of middle-class and affluent white women. At its core, it is a racist ideology that claims to speak for all women. Yet, it ignores the needs of women of color and suppressing our voices when our agendas and priorities don’t align. It recognizes the voice of women of color only to further its own aims and appear inclusive.”

With the new appointment, I believe it calls into question how we can view Amy Coney Barret. Is she a true feminist, not a feminist at all or does she continue to push the white feminist agenda? Can we live with this? Can we hold her accountable? Will the leaders of the feminist movement use this as an example of what to steer away from? One thing we can take from this is a success. We may not know what is to come, but we know what has arrived; women in high positions.