Amy Coney Barrett is just the kind of woman American feminists should adore. But they refuse to acknowledge Barrett's success, though she is only the fifth woman to be nominated as a US Supreme Court Justice. Her resume speaks to her dedication to career, and the prominence she's earned in her field is a testament to hard work, sacrifice, and determination. Undoubtedly, she's given up things to get to where she is professionally. And while these are all things feminists can get behind, there are a few things they can't.
Barrett is a mom, and sees that calling as higher than anything else. She's a woman who is guided by faith, while contemporary feminism decries Christianity as misogynistic and repressive. But the worst sin of all is that Barrett is not on board with abortion.
Bitch Media co-founder Andi Zeisler tweeted out a "short list of things that are not synonymous with feminism." They are: "being a woman, having a successful career, being a mother, having women friends, doing a job women weren't always allowed to do." But the kicker, for Zeisler, is "legislating away another woman's bodily autonomy."
In 2016, Barrett said on abortion: "I think don't think the core case—Roe's core holding that, you know, women have a right to an abortion—I don't think that would change. But I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, how many restrictions can be put on clinics—I think that would change."
When she was asked about the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which is what holds abortion rights in the US, she noted that precedent, or what's called stare decisis, would not be determinative of her rulings.
In a case before her on the 7th Circuit, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. v. Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, et al., Barrett was tasked with ruling on what would happen to fetal remains. However, the original case was about the right to abortions for the purposes of eugenics, such as if an abortion was sought due to the fetus not being of the desired sex, race, or ability, such as parents choosing to abort after learning a child would have Down Syndrome.
When she made her ruling on the remains, she added an opinion on the eugenics component of the case, saying that "none of the Court's abortion decisions holds that states are powerless to prevent abortions designed to choose the sex, race, and other attributes of children."
For Zeisler and other American feminists who lament Barrett's nomination, this is equivalent to "legislating away another woman's bodily autonomy," and it isn't just reason to not support her nomination—which, fair if that's your view—but is a reason to not let her be part of the feminist club.
Zeisler wrote that those on the right only acknowledge feminism "when they demand that the movement accommodate women whose social and political positions are antithetical to it." But as a woman who considered herself a feminist since just about birth, I can honestly say that feminism has abandoned women, not the other way around.
Feminism should be about gaining equality under the law for women regardless of their political views. It should not be particularly concerned with the political views of women. The attainment of equality itself perpetuates a situation where women don't have to feel like their equality is predicated on ideological compliance. But instead, contemporary American feminism only supports women that toe progressive line.
However, American feminism has perpetuated some rather anti-women ideals of late. Feminists have embraced the idea that a woman is not defined by her sex, but by feelings that make her feel like she is a woman. This is how the concept that men who claim to be women are believed by feminists to actually be women. American feminists have dispensed with the idea that biological sex has anything at all to do with being female, and let men into the club, but Barrett somehow is way out of bounds.
American feminism has divorced women from their bodies in the area of motherhood, as well, and has looked down on those women who choose to mother instead of achieve professionally. Barrett—who has done both—has done both too well, and without enough complaints, for feminists to accept her as the success of early feminist principles that she is.
As regards sex, American feminism has sold women the idea that they have the same penchant for casual sex and sex outside of any commitment that men do. This has been shown to be not true again and again. In her book The End of Gender, Debra Soh notes that despite their best efforts, many young women who engage on a path of sex without emotional attachment regret that course of action and feel disconnected from their bodies because of it. For women, neurologically, sex and emotional consequence are linked. But for feminists, screwing like men do is the goal.
Believing that life is a gift, as Barrett does, is anathema to the contemporary American feminist mission, because feminism is not about women or supporting women, it's about pushing an anti-female ideology that separates women from their emotions, their natural tendencies, and their bodies.
In the old terms, Barrett is the ultimate feminist. She speaks her mind regardless of her detractors, loves and mothers her kids with her whole heart, and passionately pursued a successful career all the way to a Supreme Court nom. Barrett doesn't do what she's told, and that's what feminists really can't stand.