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Feminists explain why Gina Haspel’s CIA directorship is not a feminist win
Sorry, but torture is not a cornerstone of feminism.
At least, that’s the kind of celebrating that conservatives expected from brazen feminists after Haspel’s promotion.
Haspel’s track record is significantly less than “less than perfect”—it’s downright murderous. For example, prior to Trump bringing Haspel on as deputy director, she ran the CIA’s first overseas detention site in Thailand, where detainees were waterboarded incessantly, one to the point of having to be resuscitated and losing sight, according to the New Yorker. Haspel’s name was even on the firing orders for recordings of torture sessions to be destroyed.
But, you know, being a woman, other women, and especially feminists, should be overjoyed at the thought of someone like Haspel, who, again, is a woman, leading the CIA. A torturous woman, yes. But a woman, nonetheless!
Across Twitter, men emboldened in their vindication of proving feminists as hypocrites pointed out that women weren’t celebrating the soon-to-be-first female CIA director. Yep, shame on feminists for not cheering on a woman breaking the glass ceiling, while simultaneously breaking the spirits of detainees.
A lot of people I would expect to see celebrating the first woman to lead the CIA are curiously silent r/n— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 13, 2018
Feminists: WOMEN DESERVE MORE RIGHTS & MORE JOBS!!— Jack Murphy (@RealJack) March 13, 2018
Kellyanne Conway and Gina Haspel shatter glass ceilings...
Feminists: THEY DON’T MATTER!!
Hillary basically says white women were too dumb to vote on their own...
Feminists: THANK YOU HILLARY FOR FIGHTING FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS!!
Trump promotes a woman to lead the CIA. Gina Haskell will be the first woman to lead CIA.— The Gay Trumpocrat (@PaulObrienUSA) March 13, 2018
Can't wait to hear the feminists cheer this great development for women.
Lol oh... that's right... it's not about women succeeding. It's about liberal women succeeding.
The “progressive” media completely ignored it, but Trump just announced the new CIA director…Gina Haspel!— Jack Ralph (@NevadaJack2) March 13, 2018
In fact she is the first ever FEMALE CIA director, but the media doesn’t seem to give a damn. https://t.co/BQeiZAWnqm
Some even argued that, hey, Trump’s nomination shows that he isn’t a misogynist who said he can sexually assault women whenever he wants because he’s famous. Look at you, feminists! Totally owned!
Hillary Clinton yesterday: Trump supporters are against women having jobs.— Steven Miller (@StephenMilIer) March 13, 2018
Today: Trump nominates first woman to serve as CIA director.
Known misogynist and woman hater Donald Trump appoints a woman to head up the CIA for the first time in history.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) March 13, 2018
Hillary Clinton in India yesterday: Women were too dumb to vote for me.— Duane Patterson (@Radioblogger) March 13, 2018
Donald Trump today. Gina Haspel will become the first woman to run the CIA.
Showing his continued dedication to empowering women, President Trump just appointed the first woman CIA director.— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) March 13, 2018
Even President Trump himself congratulated himself yesterday for his historic hiring of a woman.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Alas, women actually had to answer to this call for faux celebration, writing several pieces explaining that yes, Haspel’s newfound leadership might be historic, but it certainly is not feminist.
“Her gender shouldn’t give her a pass on two major issues that will now be hers to explain and defend,” Julitette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Obama, wrote for CNN. Those two major issues, Kayyem expanded, are her history of torture and standing up for CIA agents against the threat of Russia.
“My feminism does not demand that a woman have an equal opportunity to torture, alongside men. Torture is no less wrong because a woman, not a man, carries it out,” Mona Eltahawy explained in a piece for the New York Times. “My feminism, instead, works to dismantle patriarchy and its violence—whether it is sanctioned by the state, as torture is, or practiced at home, in the form of intimate partner or domestic violence.”
“In a sane society, Haspel would be in prison. In ours, she’s been elevated to the highest reaches of government,” writer Jill Filipovic wrote for Cosmopolitan. “Feminists will no doubt be labeled hypocrites for refusing to celebrate Haspel’s new role—aren’t we in favor of women in power? Yes, we are. But we are in favor of equality between women and men. And a man or a woman with Haspel’s history would be an equally egregious choice for this position, and equally worthy of disdain.”
Across Twitter, feminists were not about to let people using women as props for historic gains to get away with their false understanding of what it means to be a feminist.
What a proud moment for all the liberal feminists that the US' first woman CIA director, Gina Haspel, broke the glass ceiling by overseeing the torture of suspected terrorists, with such gender-inclusive brutal interrogation techniques as waterboarding & putting people in coffins— Amal Saad (@amalsaad_lb) March 13, 2018
Since we’re supposed to be celebrating the first woman torturer to potentially lead the CIA because she’s a woman, I threw confetti and stabbed a Barbie doll with a kitchen knife.— Kashana (@kashanacauley) March 13, 2018
Man Misunderstands Feminism, news at Every Fucking Time O'Clock https://t.co/fHde683nZM— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) March 13, 2018
The left says they want more women in power, but as soon as Trump nominates Aileen Wuornos they reveal their hypocrisy. https://t.co/9Fsm0VTOJL— Joshua Holland (@JoshuaHol) March 13, 2018
not only has gina haspel broken the cia's glass ceiling, she's using the shards to jam into the flesh of inmates detained indefinitely without trial!— Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 13, 2018
"yasss torture queen" just doesn't roll off the tongue, you immoral ghoul— Danny Blockchain Page Bitcoin (@DannyPage) March 13, 2018
interesting how the libs aren't celebrating the first woman to lead the CIA, they just can't get over the fact that she did a little bit of [checks notes] torture.— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) March 13, 2018
Sorry, Trump. Having a woman on your team might be historic, but Haspel’s track record—be it belonging to her, or a male colleague—certainly isn’t worth celebrating.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.