Conservatives try to claim the term feminist as their own

For decades, the label feminist has been the exclusive property of women on the political left, with victimhood and abortion rights as feminism’s primary tenets, and the promulgation of grievances against the patriarchy its modus operandi. This election cycle a large cadre of traditional women have entered the the political arena and are challenging the sisterhood of bra-burners on their own turf, bringing what Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, calls “authentic feminism” to the national stage.

As many commentators have noted, 2010 is shaping up to be the year of the Republican woman. According to Center for American Women and Politics, 14 Republican women have thrown their girdles into the ring for the U.S. Senate and 94 for the House of Representatives. According to CAWP director Debbie Walsh, 60 of the 106 females who are challenging House incumbents are Republicans.

With all these changes occurring on the national stage, behind the scenes, there is an active revolution brewing on the part of conservative women to claim the word “feminist” as their own.

“Moving up to the primary endorsement process, we intentionally started a conversation about women’s rights and what is at the center of it, what shouldn’t be at the center,” Dannenfelser told The Daily Caller. “The women’s movement in its current form has abortion at the core and that is why we have started a dialogue about what true feminism is. It is not because I have ever labeled myself a feminist, but we really felt we needed to take them on on their own ground.”

“There is a conscious effort being made on the part of a lot of conservative women politicians to be using this word, feminist,” Carrie Lukas, vice-president and director of policy for the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, told The Daily Caller. “But they are offering a very different brand of liberation than what is usually associated with the term, which has really become, over the last few decades, associated with groups like NOW [National Organization for Women], which are essentially indistinguishable from the Democratic Party and are more about big government than women.”

NOW executive vice-president, Bonnie Grabenhofer, told The Daily Caller that to her, “feminism is a social justice movement aimed at getting social, political, and economic equality for women. We work for the advancement of women on multiple fronts.”

Dannenfelser says that the advancement that women’s groups like NOW provide is very selective and she credits Sarah Palin with leading the way for conservative women in politics today.

“The old guard feminists say they have opened the door for women, but when ladies like us show up, they just want to slam the door in our face,” she said. “But Palin shoved it open and was the first women of her kind on the national stage. She created opportunities for more women to run.”

According to Grabenhofer, Palin doesn’t qualify as a feminist.

“I do not consider Sarah Palin to be a feminist,” she said. “She has benefitted from the work of feminists but she has not worked to advance the rights of women. She works against the progressive ideas meant to help.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Stofflet-Jackson/1384825028 neomom

    Sorry NOW…The Mama Grizzlies are here now. We aren’t victims, we can have successful careers, and we can nurture our children.

    Its called “multi-tasking”. Try it some time.

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  • Momma M

    The National Organization of Women is yet another radical group – lumped together with the likes of the NAACP and ACLU. While these organizations may have started with good intentions, they quickly grew too big for their britches. They’ve come to believe we’re too stupid to know what’s good for us, that we’re too racist, or sexist or something for our own good, we’ve been told which words to use, what to think and how to react.

    Some blacks are now not black enough- Way to advance colored people!

    Some women aren’t feminist enough- Way to support a woman’s right to live her dream!

    Only enlightened liberals are smart enough– Way to show your ignorance!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Davidson/1579728276 Aaron Davidson

    Liberal feminists just used the term to advance a leftist political agenda with little care as to the actual problems women face. The abortion issue never should have been at the forefront of the movement, but they put it there to purposefully exclude conservative women.

    Sarah Palin is a former governor, author, talk show host, a political activist, and a mother. Her stance on abortion should be irrelevant. Women still earn less than men for the same job worked, are less likely to be promoted to management positions in most industries, and are less likely to major in the hard sciences. Women are also still treated like sex objects in the media and like dogs in pornography. We readily accept jokes about how women can’t drive and how outspoken women are just “bitches” without a second thought. These issues are vastly more important than the abortion issue. NOW has failed as a women’s rights organization because it is nothing more than a social justice propaganda machine for the Democratic party. They don’t really care about the aforementioned issues because they aren’t really feminists.

  • TxGold

    Liberals didn’t know that women could be feminist without being biatches.

  • Mainstream America

    After spending years making feminist into a bad word, literally mangling it into femiNAZI, I wonder how right wing talk show hosts will handle this change.

    • thephranc

      Better than you will.

    • des1

      I’m wondering how misogynistic Liberals will handle it? We all know how much you guys love attacking women when they stray off the plantation.

    • theprofessor

      The liberal feminists made BEING a feminist a bad thing long before right-wing talk radio was popular.

  • redass

    The GOP women are a rather attractive group also.I haven’t seen any Rose Di Laurios or Barbara Mikulskis look alikes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lars-Svensen/100001028197161 Lars Svensen

    The old frumpy, fractious, frigid, foul-mouthed “feminists” find the new, fair, fragrant, fashionable, fearless female freedom fighters such as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, & Pamela Gorman frightening and…feminine.

  • des1

    I find it interesting that nobody loves to bash women who claim to be feminists more than liberal men. Weird how much they seem to despise women who don’t think the way these men have decided they should….