A powerful narrative common in American life now seeks to convince women not only that we ought to have identical views, regardless of personal experience, religious faith, or political philosophy, but that our common identity is forged by victimhood.
Despite all the progress that women have made, including sharing in a pre-pandemic unemployment rate that was the lowest since the 1960s, earning the majority of higher degrees, and making up the majority of the voting electorate, this narrative insists that women see themselves first and foremost as hapless casualties of exterior forces that they do not control.
Nowhere was this more clear than in the aftermath of the vice presidential debate, when columnists and blue check marks on Twitter wrung their hands over Vice President Mike Pence’s “mansplaining.” There were interruptions in the heated dispute over who was better suited for the second-most powerful position in the world. California Sen. Kamala Harris is on the Democratic ticket, seeking to govern the most formidable country in the history of the world, but the debate coverage made her into a victim incapable of handling even the politest of political jostling.
Similarly, the Women’s March does not have a clear-cut agenda of policy solutions that represent the views of all women. Such an agenda is impossible in the face of genuine diversity of opinion among those of us with XX chromosomes. Indeed, the political opinions of women in America roughly split into a third liberal, a third centrist, and a third conservative, just like the rest of the country. Instead of an actual agenda for the betterment of all women’s lives, the Women’s March is shaped by a sense of victimhood, which those who purport to speak for an entire sex claim that all women share. The expressed views of millions of women are shunned.
That’s why my organization, Independent Women’s Voice, is organizing a counter-event, the March for All Women “I’m With Her” rally, on Oct. 17. It will feature the female voices unwelcome at the march that claims to speak for them. It will celebrate, instead of hypocritically condemn, the achievements of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who, despite her impeccable credentials, could only have found herself nominated to this high office in a country and era that extends to women a cornucopia of opportunities.
Barrett has a long and distinguished legal career, including her service as a clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She has worked in a private practice in Washington, D.C., as a professor at an elite law school, and is currently a federal circuit judge. She built that career not by eschewing the family life that the majority of women still say they want, but she did so alongside her family as a wife and mother of seven. That will make her the first sitting justice with school-age children.
In her opening statement at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, she delivered a sidelong but nevertheless devastating critique of the “lean in” mentality, noting that while many treat their careers in law as “all-consuming,” excluding feminine interests and devotion to family lead to “a shallow and unfulfilling life.”
Barrett is a living rebuttal to the stifling, one-dimensional view of women expressed by the organizers of the Women’s March. If she is confirmed, she would be the fifth female justice to sit on the Supreme Court and the first dedicated female originalist on the bench. Along with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, she will represent the ideological diversity that is truly reflective of the voices of women. We are not victims. We are full participants in our republic, all the way up to and including on the Supreme Court.
Inez Feltscher Stepman is a senior policy analyst for the Independent Women’s Voice. She is also a Claremont Institute Lincoln fellow, a contributor to the Federalist, and a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.