Women's History Month 2017: An Opportunity to Reflect and Reverse

Women's History Month 2017 comes at a disappointing time for American women and girls.  I'm talking not about the election of Donald Trump, but about the behavior of some women in response to his election.  From the intolerant, disrespectful Women's March to the ruthless bullying of women who don't support progressive values, today's feminist movement has not only lost its way, but has found itself in an unpleasant place.

Despite the pessimism, 2016 was, in fact, a great year for women.  We saw Carly Fiorina stand out among her male contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, we saw Hillary Clinton become the first woman to win her party's nomination, and Kellyanne Conway became the first woman to head a successful presidential campaign.

All of these women earned their distinctions with their intellects and hard work.  They made history, broke down barriers, and are now evidence we can point to of what is possible for women and girls to achieve.

Unfortunately, 2017 revealed an alarming and unfortunate push on the part of the modern feminist movement to disparage, attack, and ostracize some women for their opinions and their choice to support, or at least vote for, Donald Trump.  Feminism has certainly gone wrong when it advocates against respect and equality for all, especially when it targets women for thinking independently and standing up for their convictions.

The vicious attacks on businesses like L.L. Bean and on Ivanka Trump's brand are certainly sad, given the work women have done to prove their capability and value in the business world.  Quotascarve-outs for women-owned businesses, and "equal pay for equal work" campaigns have been taken up as crusades by left-leaning groups, but Ms. Bean and Ms. Trump have handily proven them unnecessary by competing – and succeeding – in the marketplace.

It's sad to see groups like Grab Your Wallet claim that their war on Donald Trump is a stand against sexism while they take on tactics that aim to destroy women's careers and businesses.  Co-founder of Grab Your Wallet Shannon Coulter told the Bangor Daily News that "everybody is hoping that the company is really seriously evaluating whether or not Linda Bean's presence and contributions to the company are worth the damage she continues to inflict on L.L. Bean's brand and reputation."  Coulter pledged to call an end to the boycott if Ms. Bean is removed from L.L. Bean's board of directors.  How ironic that so-called feminists constantly complain about the lack of women in executive positions.  It's clear they mean only some women.

Even more discouraging are the bizarre sexual portrayals of Kellyanne Conway by Saturday Night Live.  There is certainly no basis for such mean-spirited mocking.  Ms. Conway holds opinions that spark controversy and even anger, but in her numerous interviews, she shows herself to be a strong, well spoken, intelligent woman.  She is most often gracious and polite, but she evinces resolve and strength when challenged. Conway deserves respect – her behavior and accomplishments are exactly the kind of progress the women's movement should want to see.

Ms. Conway's statements and positions are certainly fair game for criticism – just like men, women who put themselves in positions of leadership should be challenged on their views and actions.  That's not sexism; that's equal treatment.  But demeaning a woman on her appearance is inappropriate, and as Fox News's Harris Faulkner pointed out, it sets women back.  Women have fought objectification for decades.  Saturday Night Live mocking Ms. Conway like this is sexist and shameful.

International Women's Day on March 8  was established, according to History.com, "as a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women."  That means all women.  The reality is that 42% of women voted for Donald Trump, and 54% voted for Hillary Clinton.  That leaves approximately 12% 4% [corrected –ed.] who voted for someone else and millions of women who didn't vote at all.  The point is that women are not a monolithic group.  We think independently, make our own decisions, and craft our lives the way we see fit.  And isn't that what feminism is all about?

The meanness we've seen over the last few months is unfortunate and certainly not what the founders of the women's rights movement had in mind when they fought for equality and respect.  This Women History Month can be an opportunity reserve course from the push we've seen by a very vocal faction of women unhappy about the election results.  The "contributions" women have made to society should not be a selective term.  Let's send a message to young girls that they truly can think for themselves – and won't be attacked for it.

Christine A. Goss is founder and president of Pixton Public Relations.

Women's History Month 2017 comes at a disappointing time for American women and girls.  I'm talking not about the election of Donald Trump, but about the behavior of some women in response to his election.  From the intolerant, disrespectful Women's March to the ruthless bullying of women who don't support progressive values, today's feminist movement has not only lost its way, but has found itself in an unpleasant place.

Despite the pessimism, 2016 was, in fact, a great year for women.  We saw Carly Fiorina stand out among her male contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, we saw Hillary Clinton become the first woman to win her party's nomination, and Kellyanne Conway became the first woman to head a successful presidential campaign.

All of these women earned their distinctions with their intellects and hard work.  They made history, broke down barriers, and are now evidence we can point to of what is possible for women and girls to achieve.

Unfortunately, 2017 revealed an alarming and unfortunate push on the part of the modern feminist movement to disparage, attack, and ostracize some women for their opinions and their choice to support, or at least vote for, Donald Trump.  Feminism has certainly gone wrong when it advocates against respect and equality for all, especially when it targets women for thinking independently and standing up for their convictions.

The vicious attacks on businesses like L.L. Bean and on Ivanka Trump's brand are certainly sad, given the work women have done to prove their capability and value in the business world.  Quotascarve-outs for women-owned businesses, and "equal pay for equal work" campaigns have been taken up as crusades by left-leaning groups, but Ms. Bean and Ms. Trump have handily proven them unnecessary by competing – and succeeding – in the marketplace.

It's sad to see groups like Grab Your Wallet claim that their war on Donald Trump is a stand against sexism while they take on tactics that aim to destroy women's careers and businesses.  Co-founder of Grab Your Wallet Shannon Coulter told the Bangor Daily News that "everybody is hoping that the company is really seriously evaluating whether or not Linda Bean's presence and contributions to the company are worth the damage she continues to inflict on L.L. Bean's brand and reputation."  Coulter pledged to call an end to the boycott if Ms. Bean is removed from L.L. Bean's board of directors.  How ironic that so-called feminists constantly complain about the lack of women in executive positions.  It's clear they mean only some women.

Even more discouraging are the bizarre sexual portrayals of Kellyanne Conway by Saturday Night Live.  There is certainly no basis for such mean-spirited mocking.  Ms. Conway holds opinions that spark controversy and even anger, but in her numerous interviews, she shows herself to be a strong, well spoken, intelligent woman.  She is most often gracious and polite, but she evinces resolve and strength when challenged. Conway deserves respect – her behavior and accomplishments are exactly the kind of progress the women's movement should want to see.

Ms. Conway's statements and positions are certainly fair game for criticism – just like men, women who put themselves in positions of leadership should be challenged on their views and actions.  That's not sexism; that's equal treatment.  But demeaning a woman on her appearance is inappropriate, and as Fox News's Harris Faulkner pointed out, it sets women back.  Women have fought objectification for decades.  Saturday Night Live mocking Ms. Conway like this is sexist and shameful.

International Women's Day on March 8  was established, according to History.com, "as a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women."  That means all women.  The reality is that 42% of women voted for Donald Trump, and 54% voted for Hillary Clinton.  That leaves approximately 12% 4% [corrected –ed.] who voted for someone else and millions of women who didn't vote at all.  The point is that women are not a monolithic group.  We think independently, make our own decisions, and craft our lives the way we see fit.  And isn't that what feminism is all about?

The meanness we've seen over the last few months is unfortunate and certainly not what the founders of the women's rights movement had in mind when they fought for equality and respect.  This Women History Month can be an opportunity reserve course from the push we've seen by a very vocal faction of women unhappy about the election results.  The "contributions" women have made to society should not be a selective term.  Let's send a message to young girls that they truly can think for themselves – and won't be attacked for it.

Christine A. Goss is founder and president of Pixton Public Relations.