The #WomensMarch Was a Fundamentally Divisive Exercise in Identity Politics

People gather for the Women's March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

I was a bit out of the loop yesterday and over the weekend because we had a death in the family. I had things on my mind other than politics.

Well, mostly. I spent a lot of time thinking about the #WomensMarch stuff, and talking about it with some of the smart, successful women I’m lucky to have in my life. I have a couple of points about it I think worth making.

First, it was interesting to me that organizers and participants talked about the events both locally and nationally as having coalesced around the idea of unity. As though rank identity politics were somehow a unifying concept.

Making political points based on things like race or gender is a fundamentally divisive practice.

All the more so when the idea is promoted that people must see the world a certain way because of their skin color, gender, etc., etc.

Which brings me to my second point: The #WomensMarch was not representative of all women.

They argued that no movement which claims to represent the broad interests of women can be valid if it excludes the viewpoints of the thousands of women here in North Dakota, and the millions nationally, who are pro-life.

When I was talking about the marches with the women in my life, one point they brought up was that pro-life groups were specifically prohibited from participation (though I guess some pro-lifers joined in anyway). They argued that no movement which claims to represent the broad interests of women can be valid if it excludes the viewpoints of the thousands of women here in North Dakota, and the millions nationally, who are pro-life.

Or women who are pro-Trump, for that matter. I didn’t vote for Trump (I didn’t vote for anyone for President), but I was surprised to learn after the election how many women I know did vote for him despite his crude comments about women and the fact that his opponent was female. Millions of women found Trump to be, at the very least, the lesser of two evils on the national ballot. But the #WomensMarch promoted the idea women have a much more monolithic point of view on our president.

The women I spoke to about the march told me these things made them feel boxed in. As if the message to them was that they are somehow traitors to their gender if they don’t subscribe to feminist orthodoxies on issues like abortion and partisan politics.

They also felt insulted that women marching in the streets with faux vaginas on their heads were representative of their interests.

This is an unfortunate but not at all uncommon tactic on the left. They tout themselves as the champions of women and racial minorities, but then expect women and minority groups to adhere to a specific set of political beliefs.

It is, quite frankly, insulting. Yet unavoidable in the world of identity politics.

In politics, being a citizen able to speak and act freely is the only identity which should matter.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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