There is probably no single media source that has done more damage to feminism than the NY Times since the emergence of the women’s movement in the 1960s. The most egregious misrepresentations are of the movement as man-hating spinsters & lesbians, middle-class & white professionals. The characterization of the movement as middle-class white women only rings true of the celebrity (as opposed to activist) leadership of the movement, most of whom were associated with the Democratic Party.
It was massively deplorable when women from leading feminist groups like the National Organization for Women, Equality Now, & Feminist Majority Foundation (publishers of Ms. Magazine) led the campaign in support of the US-NATO war in Afghanistan under the guise of liberating women from the Taliban. ‘Liberating’ by bombing the country to smithereens? Such prominent feminists as Gloria Steinem, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Dolores Huerta, Lilly Tomlin, Eleanor Smeal made public statements & videos & signed ads in major media calling for the US military to ‘liberate’ Afghan women with bombs. There was never a more detestable capitulation to the Muslim-hating ‘war on terror’ nor a greater betrayal of feminist principles than their war mongering represented.
Now Susan Chira, a senior staff writer for the NY Times with questionable politics, has resurrected that history as if it were not an ignominious chapter in American feminist history. In a March 22, 2019 article titled “Women Here are Very, Very Worried,” she actually dares enumerate social gains for Afghan women as a result of the nearly 18-year war. Color her shameless since her source is the war mongering Feminist Majority Foundation. According to them, “In the 17 years since the invasion, education for girls has spread; today they make up about 40 percent of the country’s elementary school students & about 35 percent of its middle & high school students…. Women now make up nearly a third of civil servants…& have been encouraged to become police officers & judges. And a network of women’s shelters has been established across the country.” What Chira neglects to mention is the MOAB bomber in the room: that so-called liberation of Afghan women has involved the bombing deaths of thousands of Afghan men, women, & children; the destruction of fields, homes, schools, mosques, hospitals; the disabling of thousands from landmine explosions; widespread child labor; massive displacement to refugee camps & other countries; monstrous war crimes against civilians & prisoners, including torture of detainees in CIA prisons. To back her argument that the war has served Afghan women, she quotes a couple Afghan feminists more concerned about the Taliban than about US bombing.
There’s a lot of rubbish written about so-called white or western feminism. The correct terminology is pro-war, rightwing feminism which has nothing to do with ethnicity. War mongering feminism puts the interests of class & US dominance in the world over that of women & children. These feminists do not speak for the majority of feminists in the US & around the world. They speak for the ruling elite since feminist contingents in antiwar protests were common until the movement was debased by capitulating to the Muslim-hating ‘war on terror’.
This photo of Gloria Steinem with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a 2016 Hillary Clinton rally says all you have to know about war mongering feminism. It apparently gave war monger Steinem no discomfort to stand with Albright, not just a war monger but a war criminal who said the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were ‘worth it’ to achieve US policy goals in Iraq. If feminism does not stand against war, it stands for nothing.
(Photo from Huntington Post)