Columns / Discourse / January 28, 2015

On feminism

I’ve gotten the impression that many conservatives are against feminism. How do you feel about that?

In all honesty, the idea that conservatives cannot be feminists is a bit offensive and is degrading of my intelligence and merit. The problem with our two-party system is that it implies there are no moderates; it implies that if someone identifies as a Democrat or a Republican, he or she automatically agrees with everything that party is stereotyped to stand for. Not to mention the fact that the GOP is not at all anti-woman. In fact, I would go as far as to say that conservative women who put themselves in the media face more scrutiny than their counterparts on the liberal side. Whether you agree with that or not, as a conservative woman, I am certainly able to feel comfortable calling myself that, and I think it is inappropriate for others to dismiss my ability to think for myself and my opinions as ignorance due to that.

As an example, when John McCain ran for president with Sarah Palin as his VP in ’08, that woman faced more smack talk in the media than any other woman in politics in our lifetimes. No matter how you feel about the former governor of Alaska, no matter how “dumb” you may see her as or how much you don’t respect her, as a feminist, is it acceptable to see one woman be trashed so often on television news resources and online? Would you ever see Hillary Clinton be disrespected in such a way, no matter what your feelings on her are? How about Elizabeth Warren? Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, or any man in politics? If you don’t recognize even one those names, I suggest researching your opinions some more.

To be fair, Hillary Clinton has said her fair share of infuriatingly ignorant statements. My personal (least) favorite is her recent “Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” ploy. This statement makes me so livid that I can feel the anger rising in my chest each time I hear it, but that is beside the true point: how in the world did that not face more scrutiny than it did in reality? Liberal women have it easy; just look to conservatives: the former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, journalist Ann Coulter and every first lady that happened to be married to a conservative president in the last half a century has been exploited in some kind of degrading light because they identify as a conservative and their gender makes them the weakest link. In most cases, these women are made out as “slow;” in other words, the media never holds them in a positive limelight, yet it worships the ground that liberal men walk on.

Women on both sides of the party line are also criticized on both social media and television for what they wear or how they do their hair. Think about it like this: if you were a regular viewer of a newscast that always featured the same partnership of two newscasters, one man and one woman, you may never notice if the man wears the same clothes every day for a week, but you will notice if the woman does the same, no matter where your political beliefs fall. Do you see the problem now?

Respecting women also includes respecting those women with differing opinions than you. Feel free to demote my intelligence if you disagree with my political views, but don’t you dare call yourself a feminist after doing so.


Shannon Caveny

Tags:  Ann Coulter Conservative democrats feminism Hillary Clinton republicans right

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