It’s Impossible to Watch Amy Coney Barrett Without Thinking of Christine Blasey Ford

Two years later, another woman faces the Senate Judiciary Committee, with a very different reception from the GOP

Christine Blasey Ford chats with her attorneys as she testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Amy Coney Barrett, a “tireless mother of seven,” as Chuck Grassley and other Republican senators insist on pointing out, has spent all week sitting in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, secure in her nomination to the Supreme Court. Watching the process play out has been a startling contrast to the Kavanaugh hearings two short years ago.

Judge Barrett is a “typical right-wing womanwrites Jill Filipovic, “someone who undermines feminism, even when she herself has benefited from it. There’s no doubt the GOP will trumpet the fact Barrett is a woman and try to use her gender to bulldoze over feminist concerns: “How can you say she’s anti-woman? She’s a woman.”

Last year, GEN reached out to 10 women about their reflections on the one-year anniversary of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony and the explosive effect it had on Capitol Hill—and on their own psyches. Here’s some of what they had to say:

Caille Millner, author, deputy opinion editor and columnist at the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’

The hearings made me much more aware of how resentful men feel towards women who demand the right to have a voice in public life. I think men understand this idea intellectually, but when men actually have to listen to our voices and our expertise, I think that’s the part that so many of them don’t understand emotionally. Culture always moves a lot more slowly than circumstances do.

Tarana Burke, civil rights activist, creator of the hashtag #MeToo

I watched the whole Senate panel as she spoke, from the Republican side all the way to the Democrat side. And I kept thinking about how lonely it must be for her to be so alone in this moment, right? I didn’t feel like anybody was there for her.

Samhita Mukhopadhyay, executive editor, ‘Teen Vogue’

It’s flippant to say this is just the same old misogyny we’ve always seen… But there is also this wave of enthusiasm for a racialized kind of male identity — like the rise of the alt-right. These guys are not old, they’re young. I think there’s a heightened interest in recreating and rebuilding what many men feel they’ve lost: a white male supremacist culture.

Lisa Birnbach, author ‘The Official Preppy Handbook’

What a pathetic event that hearing was. It felt like a convention of old, angry white guys. Brett Kavanaugh himself struck me as self-righteous, entitled, careless; somebody who obviously had anger problems. He wasn’t even hiding it. And these Republican lawmakers were apologizing to him for leaving a little ugly stain on his perfectly wonderful reputation.

Deputy Editor, GEN. Previously an editor for Topic, Longreads, The New Republic, and Lapham’s Quarterly.

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