Rising Conservative Feminists Aren’t Stupid

Have you read my colleague Donna Trussell’s recent post titled The New Stepford Wife Party, Starring Sarah Palin (Also Gidget)? Donna is not the only writer who is skeptical of modern conservative feminists. With all due respect to Donna, I find them insulting and quite honestly, I’m offended.

First, let’s explain the references because maybe you don’t know what the Stepford Wives or Gidget are. The Stepford Wives is a 2004 remake of a 1975 movie by the same name based on a very popular novel. The original novel and movie had tremendous impact on American culture. The remake was a failure despite featuring Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick. Perhaps because it didn’t resonate with modern audiences. Gidget was a classic TV show in 1965 starring Sally Field who most people know today as either the matriach on the TV show Brothers and Sisters or her popular Boniva commercials to stop and prevent bone loss.

I am a political conservative and just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I’m stupid or unenlightened. Don’t underestimate and don’t belittle us. I am fully aware that neither liberals nor conservatives have a monopoly on the truth.

Probability rather than certainty is the province of argument after all. I am against abortion on demand but I’ll listen and give you the benefit of the doubt. If you craft your argument on abortion well enough, you might get me to consider something I hadn’t previously considered. That’s a victory even if you haven’t persuaded me to change my position.

So you don’t get the power of Sarah Palin and you can’t fathom how people would rally around Christine O’Donnell. I’ll grant that they aren’t Ivy League educated women nor did they make millions of dollars before age 40 by inventing the cure for cancer while helping make sure no child in America went hungry. It would be nice if they had of course.

Karl Rove attacked O’Donnell shortly after her primary victory in an interview with Sean Hannity and questioned, “How come it took nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree?” This criticism doesn’t deter supporters because many people can relate to having a difficult time paying back student loans and to meeting the goals they set for themselves. After all the New York Times reported on September 13 that the latest data reveals the student loan default rate is up 7 percent.

I’ve got a few months before I reach 40, but I haven’t met those goals yet either. Should I just shut up then? I admire that these women go on despite their less than perfect resumes and are so passionate about serving their country that they are willing to subject themselves to such hateful media scrutiny.

They are powerful feminist politicians. Yes, I understand that the feminist adjective makes many liberals cringe.

 My colleague Luista Lopez Torregrosa’s wrote recently that “conservative women like Jeri Thompson and Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell…are now forging their own brand of feminism and speaking out like progressive feminists have been doing for so long.”

Feminism is not a political party distinction. Women’s roles in the workplace have greatly changed over the past 40 years. Particularly in today’s economy, many women are now the primary bread-winners in homes across America.

Today’s women have many choices. Some work full time outside of the home, many opt to be stay at home parents and still others do a combination of both. And some choose to go into politics. The fact that we have these choices is a credit to the women’s liberation movement. The reality that there is still such an inequality of pay between men and women is why feminism is more important than ever.

Rather than marginalize the free-thinking women who embrace conservative thought and disagree that abortion is fundamental to feminism, these modern conservative feminists embrace the ideal of promoting respect for women, equal opportunities and equal pay. And guess what? We’d love to vote for a woman who reflects this line of thinking.

These rising conservative American feminist politicians aren’t going away. Isn’t it time we took them seriously?


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