Column: For Feminists, Women's
· November 8, 1991, 5:00 am
ain Concern We were waiting for Sarah Weddington, the winning attorney in the famed Roe vs. Wade case. She was late and people from the audience were invited to speak on the issue of abortion. After a couple of pro-choice speakers I was asked to share my views. I did not have an eloquent speech on the virtues of the pro-life movement. I just had a little story to tell about my grandmother. It was in 1937. She was pregnant again and awfully sick. She had troubles with her previous pregnancies, coming to the edge of death in her last one. On top of this, of all her pregnancies, only one child managed to live. So this time she and my grandfather decided together to visit a doctor in the big town to see if she should just not try this time. When they consulted with the doctor they got a different response than they expected. He advised them that there is a purpose in everything God does. And that she should not give up on a life God has created despite the possible dire consequences. I never met my grandparents so I don't know how religious they were, but apparently they believed that they had created a life and had an obligation to give it a chance. The result was my father. The reaction to my story surprised me. Certain feminists in the room apparently did not appreciate it and began to badger me about how insensitive I was to women's rights. I was surprised not only at the intensity with which they attacked me, but the range of personal charges they leveled at me as a supporter of the pro-life movement. This was my abrupt introduction to radical feminism. Since then I have not stopped hearing the ludicrous claims of feminists throughout the years. In all this time I have not heard strong criticism of their views because people see feminists as representative of all women. You are told that if you are against the feminist platform, then you are against the rights of women. Nothing could be further from the truth. It would be an insult to all women to assume that they are represented by a few extreme feminists. A recent example of this type of feminism-gone-overboard is the blind support given to Anita Hill in the recent Congressional hearings. Throughout the hearings feminists appeared on talk shows claiming that what happened to Anita Hill was a classic example of sexual harrasment and this case represented the plight of all women in the work force. In the end when Judge Thomas was confirmed, they claimed that the men in power positions were not taking sexual harassment seriously enough. Then after the proceedings, a sign went up on our very own Locust Walk that claimed that, "Women were categorically denied on October 15th." Did I miss the day when Anita Hill was elected as the representative of all women? Did I miss the day when we removed the innocent until proven guilty idea from American jurisprudence? It is completely ignorant to assume that the claims of one woman represent the claims of all women in sexual harassment cases. The point of those hearings was not to judge the validity of sexual harassment charges in general, it was to judge whether Anita Hill's particular charges against Clarence Thomas were valid or not. There is no question that sexual harassment should be taken seriously, but that does not mean that every person accused of this offense is guilty. There are many crimes we take seriously, and in every one of those cases we still have a trial to determine if the accused is guilty or not. If the feminists were not busy making Anita Hill their patron saint and instead had time to listen to the hearings they would have heard one witness testify that she acted euphoric when she talked about Judge Thomas' nomination, while another witness said she acted sick to her stomach. That does not sound like a woman who knows what she is talking about. They would have heard that she changed jobs to stay with him even though it was very clear that she could keep her old job. They would have heard that she invited him to speak at her college, that she called him more than eleven times on business and personal matters, that she had breakfast with him, that she gave him a ride to the airport, and that by all accounts she had an on-going friendship with him after she stopped working for him. That does not sound like a woman who has suffered sexual harassment and a great amount of grief at the hands of this man. They would have heard every other woman who worked with him at the time testify that he never came even remotely close to actions that would constitute sexual harassment, that, in fact, he made speeches in their work place condemning such actions, fired an individual for sexually harrasing a woman, and was a model of professionalism in his dealings with women in the work place. That does not sound like a man who would joke about the size of his penis to a woman he worked with. And nowhere in the proceedings would they have found irrefutable evidence that showed that Judge Clarence Thomas was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charges of sexual harrasment. But feminists were not looking for the truth of the matter. They were looking for the heroic woman who would stop the confirmation of the judge that would cast the deciding conservative vote against Roe vs. Wade. The thinking is that Roe vs. Wade has to be preserved at all costs because it is the one decision that protects the rights of women to control their own bodies. After all, it's not like the anti-choice men really care about the life of the fetus, they just use that as a guise for taking away women's rights. Wrong again. People who argue to stop abortions do not really have a secret agenda to take away the rights of women. They truly believe that the life process starts at conception rather than a vague and continually changing definition of viability outside the womb that the court has arbitrarily set. They truly believe the fetus is alive, and that removing it would be the equivalent of killing a living person. That is a heart-felt view on what they see as a life-and-death situation. It is not something to be derided as an attempt to subjugate women. Many women participate in the pro-life campaign, but they are constantly being protrayed by the feminist movement as traitors or ignorant women who have let themselves be manipulated by men. These type of characterizations are ludicrous and should not be tolerated, especially by women. Feminists do not have the right to speak for all women on any issue, especially not the critical issues of abortion and the Anita Hill controversy. Nor do they have the right to intimidate women who disagree with them as they try to do when it comes to the issue of abortion. These women do not have a hold on the absolute truth when it comes to women's rights, and they should be challenged. Cenk Uygur is a senior Management major from New Brunswick, New Jersey. How You Like Me Now, Baby? appears alternate Fridays.