“You look like a Hillary girl” echoed down aisle 12 in Harris Teeter as I shopped for enough Lean Cuisines to make it through the work week. I turned to see an older man addressing me, proceeding to ask if I was going to vote for Her in the upcoming election, dumbfounded that I did not compulsively proclaim “I’m with Her”.
Humans of New York’s recent profile on Hillary Clinton elevates her as the face of feminism. She’s an icon to some, but confusing to many. She addresses misogyny when she was in the same stage in her life I find myself in, dealing with young college men threatened by her ambition and potential. For one of the few times in her career, Clinton comes across to the reader as vulnerable—a risk in the eyes of feminists alike.
Pop culture, the daily news, and classic campaign rhetoric all create the notion that being a woman who is strong, independent, and powerful is attainable, but only if the government legislates for it. This same world we’ve created makes the idea of a conservative woman embodying these ideals laughable.
Modern feminists claim that young girls are growing up in disbelief that they too can be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a leader in their community, or president of our country. They are right. We need more women in these positions. Women like Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are more often than not critiqued for how they carry themselves. The media reports commentary that they come across as abrasive, shrewd, lacking charisma or for trying too hard to be “cool”. The more women are respected for their hard work, and not ridiculed for their quirks and femininity, the more young women of the future will go after these roles knowing they can fill them. While modern feminists are right on this, their policies are wrong.
I am a conservative because I know that through my hard work, I too can not only be president of my future children’s PTA, but lead in the work place if I want to do so. The left fails women repeatedly. From making it harder for them to exercise their second amendment rights, to pushing the narrative that government-funded abortions are not only an inherent right, like the First Amendment, but more important than equal access to health clinics for both women and men.
I am a conservative because I know the government can’t fix the system. The government legislating our country with the policies of the left will lead to an overcorrection of gender inequality. We as women don’t need someone to require that we are represented at every level equally in our office environment. Why? Because when these policies are put in place, women will be working against one another—not together. I am a conservative because I want a nation of people united, not divided by their orientation, color of their skin, or sex. All of that is why, while turning back to frozen unsatisfying foods, I looked at the man and said: Feminists can be conservative too.
Emily Bland is a recent alumna of Florida State University class of 2016, where she led a chapter of conservative woman’s organization the Network of enlightened Women and was an active participant of Florida politics. Bland is a young professional working in the DC metro area. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyCBland.