And the list of stories goes on and on. The media just can't control themselves these days when it comes to women in politics, especially in California, where the big names on the November ballot are 3/4 women. Other areas are catching on as well: Nikki Haley has snatched the Republican party gubernatorial bid in South Carolina, Michele Bachmann continues to gain popularity in Minnesota, and the infamous Sarah Palin is surrounded by rumors of a 2012 presidential race. What do all these women have in common? Thanks to Sarah Palin, they are all now being labeled as "feminists" by the mass media and spurring a new "conservative feminist" movement among American women. It may sound like a good idea, but I do not see these women as even remotely inspiring and do not believe that they have what it takes to make it in the political system in the long term.
This new movement of "conservative feminists" has been criticized by their original, more liberal counterparts, for opposing traditional feminist values. While abortion rights and sexual freedom for women was a huge topic of feminism in the 70s, this new wave of politicians is strictly pro-life as well as rigid in their opposition to gay marriage. Starting to sound like a trend? That's because it is. Conservatives are struggling to make their voices heard and pushing an old-fashioned religious agenda to do it. The Republican party and "Tea Party" which these women represent are already losing public approval because of the myriad religion-based social views they promote. Critics of the "conservative feminists" have come out in the media saying that these women should not be labeling themselves as women's rights activists when they obviously oppose a woman's right to make decisions regarding family planning, reproductive health, and sexuality.
I agree with the critics--it was pure idiocy on Sarah Palin's part to attempt to associate herself with a group of people that despises her views, but what more could we expect from her anyway? While several women feel empowered by the pep-rally-esque "conservative feminism" movement, I'm definitely not buying it, and I hope you aren't either. These women have no political talent or experience, just heaps of money from business ventures, family, et cetera. They come with baggage for miles (Meg Whitman's Goldman Sachs controversy/eBay employee shoving/parenting issues, Nikki Haley's alleged sex scandals, Sarah Palin's resignation as Governor/family issues). They usually refuse to speak in public, but if they do, they never have anything to say besides canned campaign speeches and cute phrases. And worst of all, they base their political ideology on the specific religious beliefs of Christianity and look down on women who believe in true civil rights for all people. Also, don't think I'm only against conservative she-politicians, the liberal ones can be just as bad (ie Hillary, Barbara Boxer), but at least they're not clogging up news sites making fools of themselves every other day.
Don't get me wrong--I'm very proud of how far women have come in the US. We now make up a vast percentage of business executives, attorneys, and other high-power careers. We have the freedom to an education, a vote, and a choice to abort. And yes, we can run for public office. We can basically do whatever we want! But the "conservative feminist" movement is an example of over-reaching. These women are incapable of handling themselves with dignity in public or in the press, and can barely muster up the words to describe their views on any other policies besides anti-abortion and anti-gay. In my opinion, they are an embarrassment to smart, politics-savvy women who just aren't in a position to be elected. Feminism is a trend, just a hat that these female politicians have decided to put on just to get easy media airtime. Just because women can run for office doesn't mean all of them should. The same goes for male candidates! And personally, I won't vote for any woman in politics until one stands out as the best that our gender has to offer. I assure you it won't happen in 2010.