Is feminism going Chapter 11?

Last summer, I wrote an article for The Huffington Post titled “Why the ‘Pro-Women’ Movement should and will replace feminism.” Sarah Palin had just declared herself a “conservative feminist,” while endorsing a slew of diverse women candidates and working to get them elected. I found her efforts to get more women into leadership admirable. The women who apparently own the term “feminist” vehemently disagreed with me. Rather than welcome Palin with a sisterly embrace, they pursued her with machetes of words for daring to utter their sacred “F word.”

The vitriolic reaction by the coterie of women who have anointed themselves (some might say, hijacked) the voice of feminism defies both logic and common sense. Put another way, it’s simply bad business. A stated goal of feminism is gender equality. Yet, how can feminism get us there while excluding half the gender? Gender equality is impossible to achieve within a framework in which some women are viewed as less worthy, less equal. Until and unless feminism is willing to meaningfully address this incongruity, feminism may be headed for extinction. Feminism will be replaced by the Pro-Women Movement, which is following a simple business ethos: provide the customer with what she wants. And as with most start-up brands, the Pro-Women Movement was spurred by an unfilled need.

The feminists so eager to exclude conservative women from their clique won the battle — Palin backed off. But, sadly, they lost the war. GOP women decided they didn’t need to be “feminists” after all. On Tuesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann told The Daily Beast that she does not consider herself a feminist, but she is “pro-woman.” Last week, Rep. Kristi Noem told Greta Van Susteren she too is not a feminist, but is “pro-woman.” In fact, Noem took to the House floor with other GOP Congresswomen to let women know that her party is “pro-women” and will fight for women on today’s women’s issues. Noem welcomed all women to join her: a very appealing and positive message which could attract even more women voters in 2012. This after the shocking 16-point migration of women voters to the GOP between 2008 and 2010.

Where did feminism go so terribly wrong?

In the wake of the 2008 presidential election, 20% of women considered themselves feminists. At the same time, there was a historic opportunity to harness the depth of women’s anger in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s and Sarah Palin’s campaigns — to rally all women around their awakening to gender bias in the media, in the workplace and in our society generally. Tina Brown challenged: So passé is “feminism” that the bi-partisan women’s activist group New Agenda, formed by Amy Siskind in August after Hillary’s defeat, is canvassing for new names to re-invigorate the cause (suggestions gratefully received).

Changing the F-word alone would not save feminism. But changing its framework to be inclusive of all women looking for help would have been fruitful for increasing participation in feminism. Legions of women were stark, raving mad at the biased treatment Clinton and Palin received not only in the media, but also from the boys’ club establishment in the DNC and RNC. Women’s anger and passion for change provided fertile ground for social change. Palin supporters took the opportunity to act out their outrage by becoming activists in the Tea Party Movement and bucking the establishment. And so, 2010 became The Year of GOP Women, with a possible follow-up bang in 2012 with a female GOP candidate for president. As Chris Matthews (of all people) noted: “Rep. Bachmann is going to make a real bang in this coming election season … Bet on the pitchforks to take it from the country clubbers.” Those pitchforks are pro-women.

  • Jack Rail

    From the beginning, feminism was an exclusive club for comfortable rich girls, especially comfortable rich Jewish girls, aka JAPs (Jewish American Princess). You could get into the club if you said the right things, endorsed the right causes (mainly abortion), went to the right schools and … were well off. Not necessarily stinking rich, but you did have to move in those circles.

    Feminism has always been a nasty joke on the women not included in its ranks. But for gaining cachet among the smart set, it would never have gotten off the ground — and never did deserve to get off the ground. The women who claimed to be feminists were either neurotic losers such as Andrea Dworkin or got-it-made types such as Betty Friedan, whiners with nothing real to complain about.

    May feminism die a well deserved death.

  • polistra

    You simply can’t repossess a word after it’s been hijacked by the Left. If you want to defend the original concept before the hijacking, you have to find a new word for it.

    This has happened with Environmentalism, which began as another name for Conservation and turned into the Gaian apocalyptic cult. Those who want to use resources carefully but don’t care about CO2 or windmills or solar panels, have successfully brought back the word Conservation, leaving Environmentalism as a pure unconfused term for the Gaian fanatics.

  • ChickFight

    Modern feminism is a Marxist blight. It’s anti-men, anti-mother, anti-femininity, pro-abortion, pro-prostitution, pro–porn, pro-Islam, and they’re even for a modified version of female genital mutilation called ‘cutting’ for the purposes of ‘cultural sensitivity’ to Islamists. They’re nothing but insane leftists who promote gender confusion, promiscuity and epic misandry. Feminism is about denying women’s natures as well as men’s. Since the 70’s they’ve been the single most destructive force against the family. They’re sociopathic zealots who’ve encouraged the deaths of more baby girls than a Chinese dictator. Their heroine is the demonic Margaret Sanger, author of the eugenics movement. As for me and my American Sisters – they are public enemy No.1.

    • clw

      That was so well put that I’m completely speechless. Great Post!

    • azsmitty


  • Jack Rail

    Feminism has forced on us stupid legislation (Title IX, which closed men’s athletic programs around the country with no gain to women at all); bogus legal decisions based on lies about how cheated women are (“girls are shortchanged in school because they speak in a different voice”) (“women earn 75 cents for every dollar a man earns”) and how rotten men are (“beatings of women skyrocket on Superbowl Day”) (“no woman would lie about rape”); and more just plain whining (Hillary and Andrea and Kate et al et al et al) than all other interest groups put together.

    American women as a group have no reason to complain. They have it made. Everyone in the WORLD knows it but American feminists. We are sick to death of whining, self-pitying American women.

  • Cliff Dweller

    feminism.. inclusive? Extinct? Amy.. GO OUTSIDE more often. Find something else to do with your tunnel vision. Feminism is already extinct and is suffering from the feminists and ugly , dirty human beings who brought it this far. Let’s call it what it is. Male hatred. Just be a woman and stop with the nonsens.. Feminism.. inclusive.. geezuz how stupid.

  • Pingback: Why Do Women Run for Office? Because They Are All Feminists – Huffington Post (blog)

  • mam646

    Ms. Siskind failed to note the obvious litmus test for a woman to be able to call herself a “feminist” as per the feminists of today – ABORTION. And it’s also the reason why a sexist pig like Bill Clinton would get a pass from “today’s feminists”… he’s “pro-choice”.

    • Fred2

      It also explains why feminist Democrat woman were just as unwilling to slam pro-abortion Anthony Weiner for virtually cheating on his wife.