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Where Have All the Feminists Gone?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

For years, feminist groups have had the reputation of working hard to protect women and advancing the desire to protect women’s dignity, safety, and privacy. Suddenly, though, in the face of politically correct locker room and shower policies, they are nowhere to be found, despite the obvious risks to women and girls. Have they ever really been “pro-woman” after all?


Feminist leaders in groups like National Organization for Women have sounded the alarm time and again about the threat of predatory men and the prevalence of sexual assault and rape in schools. They have aired statistics that 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 8 high school girls have been sexually assaulted. Their groups have led seminars and set up fundraising campaigns to raise awareness, all in an effort to teach women to look for warning signs and to protect their privacy and safety. But now, crickets.

Instead, some of these groups are applauding President Obama’s mandate that women share locker rooms and showers with biological males, which would violate every foundational feminist belief in a right to bodily privacy and safety, threatening to put women in precarious situations in the most vulnerable and private of places. Feminists should be outraged. Has the irony been lost on them?

Women are receiving mixed messages. On one hand, NOW, for example, has set up campaigns to “Take Rape Seriously” and remind visitors to its website that every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. On the other hand, NOW applauds the president’s policy that, first, undermines what it means to be a woman by demanding the acceptance of biological men as women and, secondly, mandates unfettered access for biological males to women’s showers and locker rooms, despite the stories of victimized women who have legitimate concerns.


And if you think the mandate stops at bathrooms only, think again. The mandate allows biological males to have access to girls’ locker rooms, shower facilities, dorm rooms, and overnight sleeping arrangements on field trips. Who’s waging a so-called “war on women” now? The feminists who should oppose this most strongly are either silent about this actual war on women or are participants in waging it themselves.

The radical feminist activists fighting for grown men to use little girls’ locker rooms and showers are so hostile they’ll even condemn one of their own for exposing their hypocrisy. Activist Cheryl Courtney-Evans, who is a biological male, recently told a female liberal Democrat to “STFU” for voicing her opposition to the new bathroom policies. That woman was Maya Dillard Smith, a black Democrat that graduated from Harvard and was serving as the interim director of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Smith resigned after her own two daughters encountered men in a women’s restroom and understandably became “visibly frightened.” Until she resigned, she was one of the youngest ACLU directors in the nation and one of only three African Americans that the ACLU employed in such a role.

Private facilities for each sex are respectful and accommodate the privacy concerns of all children. As North Carolina’s HB2 and other laws propose, single-stall bathrooms can be made available for those who choose not to use one that corresponds to their biological sex. This alternative should be common ground that can end this debate. But it is clear finding a solution which allows the preservation of everyone’s safety and privacy is not the end goal of the activists behind the administration’s mandate. Their argument is not about tolerance; it’s about forcing one group’s view of gender identity upon everyone else.


Alliance Defending Freedom has filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education on behalf of affected students and parents and even a school district. Stories of young women wearing their gym clothes under their other clothes all day long to avoid changing in front of male students continue to surface, as well as girls being late to class so they could wait to unclothe. Some female students are avoiding the restroom altogether, and others are waiting as long as possible to use the restroom so they won’t have to share it with their biologically male classmates.

Is this what feminists had in mind in an attempt to create an “equal playing field” for girls at school? After all the work of feminists in favor of Title IX to require equity in girls’ sports teams, what happens to girls’ sports teams across the country when girls are literally avoiding the locker room and when boys can take over their teams by identifying as girls – no questions asked? If the answer is that we must respect the feelings of the few, then why aren’t these girls’ feelings being considered?

Americans should be demanding a reasonable discussion on this issue. An alliance of groups is working to highlight the concerns of these students and parents. Feminists would join in if they were being consistent with their claim to care deeply about women’s safety and privacy as a vital human necessity. Is this not, once again, men in positions of power telling women what we should and shouldn’t be willing to accept?


Sadly, I think it’s pretty clear we can expect more of the same from the so-called defenders of women: crickets.

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