When a prominent magazine issues a list titled, “The 100 Most Influential People in the World,” you expect to be…oh, I don’t know…inspired? by the people on it. Instead, I came away wondering why the majority of women Time magazine claims “inspire us, entertain us, challenge us, and change our world” made me feel more embarrassed than proud of the impact many women are having on the world.
Yes, there were a few women on the list truly admirable and it would seem most of them live outside the United States. Like Maryam Durani, an Afghani woman whose radio broadcasts calling for women’s rights in her country has earned her assassination attempts by the Taliban. And Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a filmmaker who documented acid throwing attacks on Pakistani women. And Manal al-Sharif, the Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia, who videotaped herself driving in a place where it’s illegal for women to drive. Though she was jailed for nine days and publicly shamed, her defiance started a movement.
Then we get to the rest of the women Time considers influential. And I couldn’t help but notice just how different the contributions of women from developed nations were from those of the amazing Middle Eastern women listed. In addition to the usual “first woman to head” major corporations, countries, and universities, the list included:
- Two comediennes I had never heard of before;
- Sarah Burton—designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding gown;
- Sara Blakely—creator of Spanx, a modern-day girdle;
- E.L. James—whose books are famous for explicit sex scenes featuring sadomasochistic bondage;
- Claire Danes–not for herself, but for her fictional character on TV: a CIA agent who does drugs and sleeps with married men;
- Anjali Gopalan Naz—who works to convince gays and lesbians in India that condoms will protect them from AIDS; and (my personal favorite)
- Cecile Richards—president of Planned Parenthood.
From what I can tell, Time considers a woman influential if she can 1) claw her way to the top of the corporate world or political scene; 2) crack a good joke; 3) help women to look skinny and sexy; and 4) help women kill their babies. It’s hard to feel feminism has made vast strides when this is who we’re holding up as influential women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton would be so proud.
The most offensive addition, of course, is Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood. If Time had any integrity, Richards wouldn’t even be on the list, since the majority of Americans voted against her in the magazine’s online poll. But I digress.
As a friend said, “I thought influence was supposed to mean something positive.” Richards’ online biographer, the much ballyhooed Sandra Fluke, called the woman who heads our nation’s largest abortion provider “a role model for all of us.” To me, calling Cecile Richards a role model for women is like calling Snoop Dogg a role model for clean living.
With Richards at the helm, Planned Parenthood has:
- Protected criminals who engage in sex trafficking of young girls;
- Lied about providing mammograms to procure funding from breast cancer organizations;
- Infiltrated youth organizations such as the Girl Scouts to promote sex to children as young as nine;
- Fought against parents (half of whom are women!) having a say in their teen daughters’ abortions;
- Fought against women having the right to see an ultrasound prior to having an abortion; and
- Aborted nearly 350,000 children per year.
There’s so much more, but I have kids to raise and you’ll be here all day if I kept going.
The tide seems to be turning on Richard’s organization; there are federal, state, and local investigations going on into Planned Parenthoods, which is one of the reasons breast cancer giant Susan G. Komen pulled funding to it. In the wake of the Kermit Gosnell nightmare, some have even criminally charged the local Planned Parenthood for aborting babies that could have survived outside the womb, which is unprecedented.
With all the negative publicity, Richards has done her best to paint the nation’s largest abortion provider as a David going up against the Goliath of conservative groups. It has especially targeted the Church by trying to frame the ObamaCare contraception mandate as a “War on Women” instead of the religious liberty issue it is. Which is, of course, why Time ignored the public and named Richards to the list anyway. Planned Parenthood’s exposure as a business that won’t hesitate to sacrifice the very women it claims to help is causing many Americans to realize “there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.” It’s clear Time’s nod to Richards was nothing but damage control.
There are millions of women out there who are truly influencing our world for good. And not one of them has blood on her hands.