We were disappointed, albeit not shocked, to see that you had published a staff editorial on February 2nd,2017 entitled “Alternative Feminism: Finding Female Role Models On The Right”.
In your editorial, you asserted that “Rejecting Conway simply because she labels herself as a conservative seems irresponsible given her achievements on behalf of women. It would be narrow minded of us to refrain from celebrating the achievements of women who don’t embrace our political views, especially if our feminism purports to be inclusive.”
First, we do, rightfully, reject Kellyanne Conway. We do not reject Conway simply because she labels herself as a conservative. We reject the idea that Conway is a feminist and that she is an individual who should be lauded under any circumstance, because she is xenophobic, Islamophobic, racist, sexist, vitriolic, and a liar who uses her platform to empower a predatory white supremacist. While feminism must certainly be inclusive, it should not be inclusive of a woman who uses her privilege and power to consistently marginalize and oppress individuals who do not share her privilege. Put bluntly, we do not believe that in virtue of our being feminists we ought to, on perverted principle, embrace a woman who actively seeks to harm us.
Second, we reject your characterization of Donald Trump. To describe Donald Trump as someone who “has been famously labeled as a misogynist and accused of sexual harassment in both his professional and personal engagements,” while not factually incorrect, does not accurately represent his offenses.
Donald Trump is a serial sexual offender who brags about sexually assaulting women and gets away with it. He has been “famously labeled as a misogynist” because of his repulsive behavior. It is irresponsible to not point out the magnitude of his behavior. This exemplifies the type of shoddy journalism that has been a huge contributor to why such an abhorrent individual is currently occupying our highest office.
To assert that your staff (and presumably your audience) “should admire her for her conviction and accomplishments in a patriarchal party” demonstrates to us that you do not understand the fundamentals of feminism and feminist theory. Not to mention that the entire political system in this country is patriarchal.
You asserted that, “Becoming contrary to Conway as an act of instinct would undermine any rationality behind the feminist views that we work so hard to propagate.” We should be instinctively contrary to Conway. We should quickly and instinctively be contrary to any and all forms of white supremacy.
Furthermore, we urge your staff to recall the beginnings of feminism. We urge you to recall that feminism is a movement that was sparked by women’s instinctive recognition that they had been systematically mistreated. Early feminists’ plea for equality was met with dismissal and accusations of emotional instability. We rationally reject Kellyanne Conway on the same grounds that our foremothers rationally rejected gross discrimination.
Let us fix your headline – “Alternative Feminism; Why We Will Never Stand With Kellyanne Conway.”
Your mischaracterization of feminism is unfortunate. Claiming Kellyanne Conway as a role model is claiming and celebrating a racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, vitriolic liar. Kellyanne Conway is not a woman working for the rights of other women. Further, in ignoring her wildly racist rhetoric, your article and your publication as a whole, tacitly supports white supremacy.
The Wellesley News, along with the broader Wellesley College Community, must use the legitimacy that this institution awards us to decolonize our learning environments, and preconceptions, along with our rhetoric. Common feminist narratives more often than not, exclude those who are the most marginalized in our highly neoliberal realities. This issue is not as much about Trump as it is about how we are reacting to, responding to, and legitimizing his presidency. This article actively legitimizes white supremacy, and bolsters Conway's destructive behavior. Here at Wellesley, we must do the work of putting our privilege to action. We must continually reframe feminism to include the women of color who have done all of the work, and received less that the reward.
Going forward, in the era of the Trump Administration, we expect and demand more rigor and thoughtf rom our news platform and community.
Ananya Ghemawat ‘17
Jalena Keane-Lee ‘17
Amina Ziad ‘17
Adele Watkins ‘17
Sahar Moheize ‘17
Anjali Benjamin-Webb ‘19
Dina Al-Zu’bi ‘19
Ixchel López ‘19