In early 2018, the current President of the United States, Donald Trump, was featured in an interview with British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan. They covered many topics in the interview, including gun control, foreign relations, and feminism. When Donald Trump was asked about the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up campaign, he stated “I am for them,” but said very little further about his support on the topic. He did, however, state that women’s support for him was on the rise.
Following that, Morgan directly asked Trump if he was a feminist. Trump’s response following that was contradictory to say the least. He states “I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone” (via Piers Morgan interview). Following this statement, the interview shifted to another topic, although I am sure it left many of those watching (with any working knowledge of the feminist movement) scratching their heads.
This simple statement says a lot about public opinion of the feminist movement from those who aren’t feminists themselves. Universally speaking, feminism is, as defined by bell hooks in her book Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, “to be “feminist” in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.” Now this definition, although far more versed than the Presidents assertion, essentially expresses the same thing; equality for women, for men, for everyone.
So why would President Trump openly not identify with that movement? Why would he say that calling himself a feminist would be “going too far”? What part of this movement is too far? Equality for men? For women? For everyone?
This statement in itself shows why those who say that they oppose the feminist movement cannot no longer use “I support everyone” as an excuse for why not. If you truly and openly support all people rights and the fight for equality, then yes, you should be a feminist. Otherwise, you are doing the exact opposite and discrediting a movement that looks to fight for these rights. By saying that you “support everyone” as an excuse, you are in turn trying to say that the feminist movement is not those things, which could not be farther from the truth. The feminist movement is NOT a movement hellbent on eradicating the male population of their rights, nor is it trying to place males as second-class citizens. This is a slightly embarrassing misconception for the President of the United states to imply.
So, there is only one legitimate response to this statement that could make any difference; President Trump, as well as anyone else who holds the ideals he believes, needs to get educated and stop holding onto these patriarchal and unfair viewpoints towards feminism and to stop sugar-coating these male-controlled ideals.