Kimberly Guilfoyle expressed her frustrations on Fox News over the amount of young women voting Democrat. She asked that young women be “excused from juries” because “they don’t get it.” Apparently, we’re hot and healthy and should be excused, so we can go back on Match.com and Tinder.
It was clear from the video clips that her colleagues may not have been happy with her comments, and I’m not going to suggest that her sentiments reflect the beliefs of the bigger conservative population.
Perhaps she’s aware that she should have thought before she had spoken on a news network because Guilfoyle’s comments are dangerous.
I’ve spent the last month reading and rereading Betty Friedan’s "The Feminine Mystique." Though meant largely as a criticism of American society’s treatment of women and femininity in the mid-twentieth century, much of it still resonated with me and how I understand myself as a woman.
One of Friedan’s greatest points in the book is with the concept of “femininity.” She suggests that “femininity” has become equated with childishness, aloofness and naïve kindness. Women are often told that in order to be “feminine” and, thus, desirable, they must be these things.
When intellectually capable human beings are told to achieve less than their capability, the only result is sadness and misery. Her claims were backed up by the overwhelming amount of women seeking psychological counseling for depression during the era of the “perfect housewife.”
I’m not saying Guilfoyle’s comments are going to send thousands of women to therapy. I am suggesting that Guilfoyle’s comments are a remnant of the broken idea of the false femininity Friedan discusses.
Why care about anything? You’re pretty. Go on Tinder. Why be involved in politics? Go find a husband. Why bother yourself by doing your civic duty and sitting on a jury? Go shopping. As if shopping, dating and looking beautiful are enough to fulfill the intellectual needs and desires of a human being.
The problem is, this concoction of femininity is forced down young girls’ throats from an early age. I remember myself as a child in middle school, choosing not to raise my hand in class even though I knew the answer because I was afraid to be called a “know-it-all.”
I remember fearing to be called “bossy” for being a classroom leader, when the boys didn’t have that same anxiety. I recall even now, as a young professional with a master’s degree, being told that my job must be easy for me because “I’m beautiful.”
As if all my career requires of me is batting my eyelashes and smiling.
I was lucky; I had a family growing up that refused to set the standard of achievement any lower for me because I was born a daughter. I had parents who told me to find the “gems” inside of my own being that were worthy of intellectual pursuit. If you engage yourself intellectually, they told me, and apply that knowledge to a career, you can help the world.
No one told me to ignore the problems and just grow up and wait. No one told me to just sit and look pretty.
If Guilfoyle is frustrated over the amount of women voting against her desired political party, she would do better to advocate for intellectualism, art and integrity in schools across the country.
She would do better to conduct surveys of young women across college campuses in America, to recognize their interests and their desires. She would do better to take all of her findings and reexamine why voting and political trends are not to her liking.
If the issue is as she says -- a lack of wisdom --, she would do better to advocate for that level of intellectualism and wisdom to be instilled at a very young age. My family did it, and many of my friends’ families made sure that happened, as well.
The only thing to come from telling young women to just stop and invest in dating, being pretty and shopping is resentment, anger and sadness.
It’s my hope that Fox News apologizes. I am confident that the majority of the platform they claim to represent does not share Guilfoyle’s sentiments. If my feeling is true, I should be expecting an apology from the network.