This past weekend, men and women in major American cities and across the globe marched to protest President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, supposed misogyny, and policies which protestors see as anti-woman. While much of Trump’s campaign rhetoric was outrageous, as were some of his past antics according to recordings that surfaced during the campaign, there’s a certain irony to the degree of outrage the protests represent. After all, even if Trump fulfills the campaign promises liberal feminists find odious, those marching—especially overseas—have not been motivated to raise their voices over far more serious oppression of women abroad.
In Turkey, for example, most progressives have met the 1,400 percent increase in the murder rate of women with stony silence. Honor killing remains a problem in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the New York Times reported an anti-Trump women’s march. And, in Riyadh, where another women’s march reportedly occurred, women are not generally allowed outside unless a male guardian accompanies them or gives permission and are libel to face stoning if convicted of adultery. Forced female genital mutilation in Egypt, Somalia, and sub-Saharan Africa doesn’t seem to motivate Western feminists in any great number. Few Australians came out into the streets when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chose to appease Iran’s murderous regime. Rape remains endemic in South Africa.
And, while intersectionality becomes trendy on American campuses, it has done far less to advance global feminism than undercut it, as social justice warriors remain silent on the disempowerment of women by Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hezbollah, and other movements that have successfully painted themselves as aggrieved and without power on college campuses.
Marching might feel good but, in the scheme of things, it is about as effective as former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power’s tweets castigating Russia, Syria, and other countries for gross violations of human rights. To pretend that American women face the same perils that women in many African, Asian, or South American countries not only arrogant but it is also misguided because it takes the focus off the worst abuses where sustained international condemnation could produce results. Alas, it seems that feminism in the United States increasingly has much more to do with politics than with resolving problems many women face.