The 2016 election will go on record as one of the most divisive and unorthodox in recent history. However, women on both ends of the political spectrum are oddly finding common ground, not on a candidate we love, but one we oppose—and she’s a woman.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright basically doomed women to hell recently for not supporting Hillary Clinton, and Gloria Steinem demeaningly suggested that young women oppose Hillary because of their need to please men. In doing so, they’ve unmasked the ugly side of feminism. This hurt Clinton in the New Hampshire voting booth.
Clinton, Albright, and Steinem are part of second-wave feminism, which believes in the supposed “war on women,” an ideological civil war that uses women to push an agenda and says women need government intervention to achieve equality. This government intervention generally means taxpayer–subsidized birth control and on-demand abortion.
Women Don’t Want to Be Herded or Shamed
Unfortunately, the movement that recognized rights for women has morphed into one whose leaders have created a litmus test not just based on leftist policies like limitless abortion but now is stooping to new lows of manipulation and shaming even other liberal women.
Yahoo News quoted one Bernie Sanders supporter as resenting being “herded along just because I’m a woman.” Man, the sisterhood has gotten more and more exclusive because its leaders have lost touch with younger women. Being a scold is not effective leadership.
Perhaps most importantly, this division among liberal women is more proof the second-wave feminists, now in their seventies and eighties, have lost touch. Today, only 18 percent of Americans identify as feminists.
Contrast this with the comments on gender from both former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and her supporters. Carly insisted that she run based on her principles and experience: “Women are the majority of this nation. Women, like men, should be free to think how they want and choose who they want. Hillary Clinton is making a desperate appeal: ‘Vote for me because I’m a woman.’ I have never asked for people to vote for me because I’m a woman, although I’m proud to be a woman. I’m asking people to vote for me because I’m the most qualified candidate to win this job and to do this job.”
Conservative women leaders have specifically said this nation is teetering on the edge of the abyss and our next president should be chosen only because of his or her ability to place our nation on the right path. Gender, race, age, or any other superficial measures can’t be the focus for serious high-information voters.
Women Don’t Need Patronizing Favoritism
Sexism goes both ways. Most self-respecting women candidates would recoil at the idea of being chosen for office simply because of their gender. Gender-baiting is a one-trick pony. It works until it doesn’t—and it’s stopped working.
What’s left is older feminists who are stuck in the past, a world in which women could only succeed with a scale weighted in their favor. Young women enjoy being the majority in our nation to receive undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical degrees. Despite being told they are victims, their life experience is proving a world of opportunity is open to them. Whatever challenges we experience in the workplace aren’t significantly based simply on our sex.
The first-wave feminists were able to win real gains for women: voting rights, property rights, legal protection. The second wave made some gains in employment then lost sight of the goal. Now they more closely resemble the antiquated, humorless moral scolds against whom they clashed than they do the optimistic women who will lead our nation forward based on talent and tenacity.
Susan B. Anthony and the mighty suffragists wouldn’t recognize their movement today. This offers conservatives an opportunity to share our own optimistic message with young women.