The Heritage Foundation’s “news” platform, The Daily Signal, posted a video Saturday featuring a series of conservative women criticizing the Women’s March. The Family Research Council shared the video on its Facebook page with a one-word comment: “Powerful!”
In reality, The Daily Signal video is a deeply disingenuous effort to portray the Women’s March as “exclusionary” because it does not welcome the participation of women who oppose the principles and purposes of the march.
The tone is set by the very first commentator’s blunt charge: “The Women’s March doesn’t represent me because the movement was a fraud from the start.”
There’s nothing to specifically back up the claim of fraud. But subsequent speakers say the march excludes women like them “because the beliefs of my Christian faith do not fit their leftist narrative” and that there is no place for women with anti-choice positions or “traditional” views on marriage, family, and gender identity. Another speaker complains that her voice as “a pro-life, America-first conservative” is not welcome.
If protecting women’s rights—including reproductive choice and the freedom and equality of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women—is central to the mission of the march, why should organizers be expected to give a platform to women opposed to those positions?
In some ways, the speakers get more ridiculous as the video progresses.
One declares flatly that women’s march organizers “don’t actually care about the well-being of women.”
Anti-choice activist Lila Rose says “it”—presumably the march—“says that I have to kill a child, and my right to have this right to kill a child in order to be empowered.” It should go without saying that no march leaders or advocates for reproductive choice say anything like that.
Speaking of reproductive rights, here comes a doozy: “Because I’m a proud pro-life birth mother who believes that reproductive rights means waiting to have sex again until I’m married.” That’s not exactly the generally accepted definition of that term.
“The Women’s March does not represent me because I believe in equal rights, not extra rights,” declares one speaker, repeating a false but familiar conservative trope that advocates for legal equality for women and LGBTQ Americans are somehow looking for “special” or “extra” rights”—though the video does not explain what those bonus rights might be.
A daughter of Cuban immigrants praises free speech, as if the women who gathered on the mall and decided what message they wanted to express with their gathering were not a living example of that very right being expressed.
Several speakers seem to be upset by the suggestion that women face any kind of discrimination or injustice that deserves to be acknowledged and addressed: “Intersectional feminism puts a label on you. It tells you how oppressed you are. It tells you what you’re allowed to say, what you’re allowed to think,” says one.
“The message of the Women’s March has become, ‘you’re a victim if you’re a woman,’ and I in no way, shape or form, feel like I am a victim,” says another. Well, except for being victimized by “exclusionary” Women’s March organizers, I guess.
“The perception is that the women there are angry about some injustice to their gender. And as a mom and as a woman in the workforce, I don’t have anything to be angry about,” says one woman. Hey, good for you, for not having faced harassment or discrimination on the job, but do you really believe that sexism, sexual harassment, and other forms of injustice on the basis of sex are just a leftist myth?
Surprisingly, the video does not make any explicit charge related to anti-Semitism, an issue that has been the focus of discussion and debate among leaders and supporters of the Women’s March. The closest the video gets to engaging substantively—and it’s not very close—is one speaker’s claim that the march organizers are “incapable of condemning hate,” which is simply not true.
The video’s concluding comment is, “What we need is a march for all women.”
Really? I am sure that the Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council are hard at work creating an event for women at which pro-choice and pro-LGBTQ equality speakers will be given equal billing with speakers like those in The Daily Signal video. I’m looking forward to FRC welcoming advocates for a wide range of “values” on the podium of the next Values Voter Summit. And I’m sure they’ll be pushing the National Organization for Marriage to make sure that its annual March for Marriage includes advocates for all kinds of marriages. Wouldn’t want to be “exclusionary,” right?