One women’s magazine is promoting women voters – a certain brand of women voters, that is.
In anticipation of the November 6 midterm elections, Marie Claire listed “50 Influential Women on Why They’re Voting in the 2018 Midterm Elections” on Sunday.
The women’s magazine prided itself on featuring women voting for “diverse” reasons, but, at the same time, failed to display women of diverse ideological or political stances. While it included Democratic politicians, like Hillary Clinton, and leaders of abortion groups, like Planned Parenthood’s new president, Marie Claire excluded Republican and pro-life women.
That’s no small issue, considering that the Hearst publication boasts more than 15 million readers, in addition to more than 9 million online readers each month. But assistant digital editor Rachel Epstein made no mention of the discrepancy in her introduction.
“Marie Claire asked 50 influential women—celebrities, politicians, business leaders, and activists—to share their personal ‘why’ with us,” began Epstein, with “reasons for casting a ballot in the 2018 midterm elections” that “are as diverse and varied as they are.”
Except for that they were neither diverse nor varied; they were predictable. That became clear from beginning of the list, where Marie Claire placed former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“These are divisive times, but I believe with all of my heart that human beings have a yearning for freedom and dignity embedded in all of us,” Clinton told Marie Claire. “It’s that fundamental quality that pulls us toward progress—but not if we don’t participate.”
Divisive times indeed – but readers wouldn’t know that from Marie Claire’s list where everyone seemed united. The six other politicians included were also big name Democrats:
Democratic U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
Former Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
Former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
All seven of those women had something else in common: they staunchly support abortion. So when Marie Claire added statements from leaders of abortion organizations, they fit right in.
Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, argued, “We need elected officials who are unapologetic about defending women’s fundamental rights and are committed to fighting for our futures and our values.”
Thanks to Marie Claire, no pro-life voice challenged Hogue by urging she also votes to defend women’s rights and futures – beginning in the womb.
Instead the president of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, chimed in that “When voting, I’ll think about my son and the world I want for him.” Dr. Leana Wen added that world was one where “safe, legal abortion” is part of a “fundamental human right.”
EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock, whose organization promotes candidates who support abortion, continued, “I’m voting because we have to stand up to Donald Trump and this Republican party.” While she would vote “for America and American women,” she insisted she would also “vote straight down the ticket for Democrats—particularly Democratic women.”
Encouraging millions of young women to vote is good. Encouraging them to vote a certain way, or implying that only a certain type of woman is an influential voter is damaging to American democracy.
It’s not that Republican politicians don’t exist – they do. Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington are just a couple of them. Pro-life leaders exist too. Women lead the national pro-life movement, from Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and March for Life President Jeanne Mancini to Live Action Founder and President Lila Rose and Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins.
All Marie Claire had to do was ask them. But the only area the magazine showed any balance was with media figures, by including former first daughter and Today Show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager and former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson.
This isn’t a new move for women’s magazines. As CatholicVote.org has documented, the media, particularly women’s media, regularly exclude pro-life women while claiming to represent or cater to all women.
This magazine is doing a disservice not only to notable women and its readership, but also to itself, by donning blinders. Supporting women means recognizing the inherent dignity of each woman while appreciating differences and encouraging dialogue. Until that happens, Marie Claire will miss the opportunity to see the diversity it claims to champion: There are millions of pro-life women voters — and each one of them is influential.