If you’re a woman still anguishing over “what to tell our daughters” about the 2016 election, I suggest you point to Kellyanne Conway: the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign. This smart, tough, cool mom of four was the winning campaign manager for the most brutal presidential race in history—and she kept a steely smile on her face the whole time. She’s now poised to become either White House press secretary, or the most sought-after political consultant in the world.
After taking the helm of the listless Trump campaign in August, Conway helped shape a more disciplined candidate, with a message focused on a stronger economy and national defense. Conway is like the pretty brainiac who tamed the school jock, got him to shut up in class, and made him carry her books. Hell, she even got him to study once in a while. She’s the kind of example I want for my own daughters on how to handle an egotistical, sometimes boorish male boss: with firmness, class, and calm.
But Conway didn’t just take on Trump. She faced down an antagonistic, male-dominated media that had declared war acting as a de facto arm of the Clinton campaign. One of the few bright spots leading up to Election Day was watching political commentators lose their cool and credibility trying to rile Conway. It didn’t work (and still isn’t). This lawyer, pollster, and business owner should be the new hero of the post-feminism era: a super mom who rose to the top of her field and is now, unquestionably, the most influential woman in Washington.
Why Don’t Feminists Love Conway?
But modern-day feminists are still wringing out their “I’m With Her” crying towels and snubbing Conway’s historic victory because, well, she’s a Republican.
Without any sense of irony, they ignore the achievements of a self-made woman (Conway), while lamenting the loss of a candidate who earned fame and power largely because of her husband. If she were a Democrat, Conway would be the toast of women’s groups across the country, feted in the media, splashed across the pages of Vogue and Cosmo. She would be touted as a future candidate herself. Maybe even Lena Dunham would’ve thrown out a tweet or two after her Election Night shower-cry.
But I suspect there’s even more to this than partisan politics. After all, you can’t accuse a man of misogyny—which literally means “hatred of women”—if he puts a female in charge of the riskiest, most important endeavor of his life. Trump can’t be a sexist pig who hates women if he fires two men and replaces them with a woman, right? Acknowledging, even celebrating, Conway’s success would undermine that entire plotline.
Conway Undermined Trump’s Misogynist Image
The Trump-is-a-misogynist meme was the cornerstone of Clinton’s campaign message: a Google search of “Trump” plus “misogynist” yields 579,000 results—not counting the approximately five billion tweets making the same accusation.
The day of the election, The Telegraph UK published a lengthy list of allegedly sexist Trumpisms dating back to the 1980s. Some were not bad (in 1994, he said he gets mad if dinner isn’t on the table when he gets home, so what did that make my grandfather). Many were cringe-worthy—particularly remarks he made as a guest on the Howard Stern show, perhaps one of Trump’s worst judgment calls of all time. Some were downright slap-worthy, and nothing you would want to hear from your husband or son or boss. But when people put a microphone in front of your face for three decades, you’re bound to have to live down a trove of dumb comments.
But raw, even offensive remarks do not a misogynist make. Yet the pearl clutching by the female left went into overdrive after Trump was elected, with women weeping and fearing for their daughters—as if Trump is a one-man Boko Haram ready to swipe them out of their classrooms and turn them into drink cart girls.
Now that President-Elect Trump is appointing women to key posts such as UN Ambassador, Secretary of Education, and Deputy National Security Advisor, their anger is rising rather than abating. If anything, this election has further revealed the hypocrisy of the left—particularly modern-day feminists—who despite all their talk of empowerment, are now exposed as a weak and whiny sisterhood of victims.
So what do we tell our daughters? Be less like Lena and more like Kellyanne.