When you hear about a woman being publicly scolded by her patronizing male boss for supporting a woman's right to body autonomy,your knee-jerk reaction may be to come to her defense.In the case ofTomi Lahren,a woman品牌的批评as "white-power Barbie," things aren't quite so simple.
For those unfamiliar with Lahren,here's a quick primer: She's a 24-year-old commentator on Glenn Beck's conservative network,the Blaze,where she hosts her eponymous show,Tomi.She's earned a lot of attention on social media over the past year for a variety of incendiary comments,fromcomparingBlack Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan tosayingthat the left talks too much about "weather" (i.e.,climate change).She called participants in January's Women's March "sore losers." As aconventionally attractive young blondhurling diatribes against what she sees as political correctness,she has become extremely popular with conservatives—and fueled the anger of outraged liberals on the Web.
Then Lahren made headlines for voicing an unexpected opinion—appearing onThe Viewandannouncingshe was pro-choice."You know what?I'm for limited government,so stay out of my guns,and you can stay out of my body as well," shesaid.
Needless to say,conservatives on social mediawent wild.Her boss,Beck himself,weighed in onhis networkand onTwitter,saying that he didn't care about Lahren's opinion so much as what he saw as a lack of "intellectual rigor" in her reasoning.On Monday the Blazeannouncedthat Lahren had been suspended for "at least a week," and while no reason was given,the timing can't have been coincidence.
In the fallout of this whole saga,liberal women have been caught between schadenfreude and indifference,trying to figure out how much,if any,sympathy they should have for a fellow woman dealing with a major backlash.Does anyone owe her the kind of support she's been loath to show others?
Let me help solve this for you: Tomi Lahren doesn't need your pity,and you're not a bad feminist for leaving Lahren on her own.
For starters,Lahren is very much her own woman and has carved a successful path for herself as a conservative commentator where fights and incendiary commentary is part and parcel of what she does.She can absolutely handle some Internet outrage directed her way.In fact,she'll probably be more than fine: Conservative news site The Daily Callerhas even reportedthat her name has been "floated" over at Fox News,so she may even end up reaching a larger audience than ever before.Courting controversy is part of these job descriptions,and the ability to bounce back is a key component of it.
More important,being a good feminist doesn't have to mean standing up for all women.Lahren herself has said she's fiercely antifeminist,calling the movement "passive aggressively anti-men" and "mean." (She's also made it clear she hates abortion even though she accepts it as a reality;she'sstill usedantiabortion rhetoric in the past,calling it "murdering a fetus" and "killing [a] child.")
Sure,definitions of feminism may vary,but at its core the modern movement places an enormous emphasis on inclusion,equity,and equality.You don't have to high-five Lahren for having the tiniest bit of common ground with you;this only serves to normalize other bigoted remarks she's made in the service of "seeing the argument from all sides." Instead of fretting over how to support Lahren,consider giving a signal boost to folks who could really use it—from women of color struggling to make it in the world of media to the local organizers Lahren feels so comfortable insulting.Hand the microphone to women who will use that platform to do good and further the causes of others who are struggling instead of themselves.
Lily Hermanis a New York–based writer and editor.In recent months her work has been featured inTeen Vogue,Forbes,Time,Newsweek,Cosmopolitan,Mashable,and more.You can follow her on Twitter at@lkherman.