Friday, August 19, 2011

What Elle Magazine Got Wrong About Feminism And Conservative Women

Interesting article in Elle magazine by Nina Burleigh (who infamously said of Clinton, "I'd be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal") called The Best and the Rightest about conservative women, which featured Ashley Sewell (aka TXTrendyChick).  It's a 4 page article, but the paragraph that stuck out most for me was this one:

The young women I interviewed for this article share almost every goal of feminism. They want to be—and in many cases, already believe themselves to be—“empowered”: educationally, financially, sexually. But they resist any effort to put advancing their fellow women front and center. That means opposing everything from gender-based affirmative action, such as government-mandated quotas for female athletes under Title IX, to equal-pay-for-equal-work laws. So on the one hand they may lament that there are only a handful of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies and only 17 female U.S. Senators—“It does matter,” Sewell says. “A woman’s perspective is different from a man’s.” But on the other hand, they’re not going to take to the ramparts to try to increase the numbers.

To the author, the only way to advance our fellow women is through laws and government mandates like affirmative action, quotas, and wage legislation.  How is that in any way empowering?  It doesn't even occur to her that you can advance women without government help.  Conservative women are not empowered by government handouts.  We want to do things on our own, not have the government give them to us.  Of course we want women to go into whatever field they want and can succeed in, play whatever sport they enjoy, and be paid based on merit, not gender.  But instead of government mandates or forcing public tax dollars on specious programs that are prone to mission creep, we turn to families, churches, and local communities to make this happen; we choose to support charities or volunteering to mentor girls.  It is ridiculous to say we "resist any effort to put advancing [our] fellow women front and center."

We also don't want our success to come at the expense of others, such as when men's sports programs are canceled because there aren't enough women's ones to match them as a result of Title IX.  It shouldn't be a zero sum game, everyone should have the chance to succeed based on desire and merit - not gender, ethnicity, etc.  The fact that women and men are different and have different interests or skills is another important factor that the author misses.  And women shouldn't be advanced just based on the fact that they're women, they have to be the best. 

I don't know what the author means by "take to the ramparts" regarding the lower numbers of women as CEOs and Senators, but it sounds like she wants us to raise hell and shakedown companies to hire based on gender or force laws requiring minimum numbers of women in government.  We're not going to elect women just because they are women, they have to share our values and be the best candidate in the race.

Meanwhile, the author ignores groups like Smart Girl Politics, which I (along with Ashley Sewell and Dana Loesch, who is mentioned in the piece, too) am a member of, a community that encourages conservative women leaders to run for office and gives them the tools, training and support they need to make it happen.  2010 was the "Year of the Conservative Woman" with record numbers running for public office.  A woman just won the Iowa straw poll, and a second woman might be entering the presidential race soon.  These are glaring omissions.

Finally, it is interesting that in her list of "almost every goal of feminism" the author does not refer to abortion, which, ironically, to second and third wave liberal feminists, is the litmus test for bearing the title.  I attribute this to the author trying to get rid of feminism's current connotations as a dirty word along with an attempt to make the conservative women profiled in the article appear hypocritical.  On the other hand, it could be a nod to the fourth wave conservative and pro-life efforts to break the glass ceiling and finally allow diversity of thought in modern feminism.

The new movement of pro-woman, pro-life, embodied by the group Feminists for Life, is an encouraging shift from the radical feminism that has dominated since the 1960's.  We want equal rights with men, but how is abortion an equal right?  Rights do not extend to the destruction of another human, no matter what the law says.

It is important to remember that the abortion on demand version of feminism is a relatively recent development.  The suffragettes, the original "first wave" feminists, opposed abortion (all following quotes from FFL). Elizabeth Cady Stanton explicitly contrasted abortion as antithetical to the rights of women: "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

She also used the "evil" of abortion to make the case for women's right to vote, with suffrage being the remedy to abortion: "There must be a remedy even for such a crying evil as this. But where shall it be found, at least where begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women?" 

Susan B. Anthony addressed what are now common modern day excuses for abortion and decried men's role in pressuring women to abort, "No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!"

Finally, Alice Paul, author of the original 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, powerfully said, "Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women." 

These feminist foremothers knew - as today's pro-life feminists know - that, as opposed to helping women, abortion hurts and degrades women.  This is true feminism and I hope the "Fourth wave" wins out.

So the author of the Elle article is right that conservative women "share almost every goal of feminism," she is just wrong on which aspects of it we truly resist and how we advance women.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Choice: After IVF, Woman aborts one twin because idea of managing two infants "terrified her"

Horrifying NYT article on pregnancy "reduction" - killing at least one but not all of the multiple babies growing in your womb.  I've only gotten through the first couple paragraphs but already the woman featured is a grotesque stereotype of all that is wrong with "choice" in America.  My reaction in black bold:

The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy

As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. [Typical. She doesn't want to see the truth of the life of her children and face the reality of killing one of them. Another reason why pro-aborts HATE allowing women considering abortion to see ultrasounds] Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, [Thinking is bad. It might lead to some uncomfortable feelings] though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, [This is just beyond comprehension. Killing a desperately wanted, healthy child that you've spent countless time, energy, and money to have.] almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief [Sick] and intense guilt.[Good. Hint: Shame and guilt mean you've done something wrong.]

“Things would have been different if we were 15 years younger or if we hadn’t had children already or if we were more financially secure [These are the same excuses most older women who abort make ... except they didn't spend 6 years TRYING to get pregnant! It is despicably selfish to kill your child because it is inconvenient to you.],” she said later. “If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. [A profound paradox. She is messing with nature, she has already disturbed it.] But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. [This is a horrific consequence of our scientific advancement - the idea that we are our own Gods, we control nature, both its creation and destruction, because we own it. It's like all the dire slippery slope arguments and science fiction-like warnings are coming true.] The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, [Children are becoming commodities whose values are only determined by the immediate needs and whims of their owners.  It's like going to Costco and buying the jumbo 2 pack of mayo.  You don't need the second one, it will only go bad and that would be messy and inconvenient, so you toss it in the trash. There is no moral difference between mayo and baby - hey, they both come from eggs.] and this became yet another thing we could control.” [And that's what it is all about these days.  The obsessive need for control.  And choice.  And power.  Holding a life in the balance must be the ultimate power trip.]
Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. [Maybe she shouldn't have been trying to get pregnant!!!  You'd think after 6 years of trying, she'd have thought this through a little more. And what makes her thing she can manage ONE infant at this point in her life?] She and her husband already had grade-school-age children, and she took pride in being a good mother. She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children. Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. [Another common abortion excuse - as if your love is a zero sum game, there's a limited amount of love to go around and giving one child love, means you're taking away some from another. I'm not a mother yet, but every one I've ever met has said that they love all of their children equally and in different ways. There is always more room in a mother's heart. Also, she is robbing her own kids of their brother or sister.  This is a particularly grievous loss to the surviving twinn] Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent. [WHY?!  Why, why, WHY?! I thought she was 15 years too old, had other children, and wasn't financially secure? What is the reasoning behind her need for another child?!] “This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,” [This woman is living in a sick world where death is better than having a busy mother. I guess telling herself that is the only way she can sleep at night.] she told me, referring to the reduction. She and her husband worked out this moral calculation on their own [I also hate that we live in a world where people get to make their own moral calculations about life and death.  Life is life, no matter what, it's not something that's definition should be allowed to vary from person to person.  The woman whose "moral calculation" is that abortion is ok up until the minute of birth - or even after - is not equal or as morally valid as one who knows that life begins at conception.  You get to have your own opinions, but not your own facts.], and they intend to never tell anyone about it. Jenny is certain that no one, not even her closest friends, would understand, and she doesn’t want to be the object of their curiosity or feel the sting of their judgment.  ["Jenny," wherever you are, I hope you feel the sting of my judgment!]

SICK SICK SICK.  My heart weeps for her, her children, and the future.