In an unintentionally hilarious bit of “journalism,” a feminist writer at Marie Claire brutally lambasted conservative women in what just may be the most ironic attempt at uniting women this week. There’s only one problem: in describing conservative women as protectors of mean old misogynist men driven only by a need to get ahead, the writer Jessica Valenti failed miserably in her sourcing. As The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness put it on Twitter:
"Feminist" pens article "Why Conservative Women Defend Sexist Men" without interviewing a single conservative woman.https://t.co/FJs8lTu2HQ
— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@kelseybolar) November 2, 2017
That’s right. Valenti, defender of womanhood, could not be bothered to actually interview conservative women before writing things like this:
Take [Sarah Huckabee] Sanders and [Kellyanne] Conway, who have both publicly dismissed women who have spoken out about sexual assault. Their defenses are clearly cynical and serve a political purpose, but for conservative women more broadly, going along with the idea that women lie about assault—or blaming women for sexual harassment by claiming that they somehow brought it on themselves—can be a form of self-protection. Believing that other women are “bad”, and that that’s why something terrible happened to them, enables you to convince yourself that you are safe.
Another long-used strategy for women leaders on the right has been amassing power by arguing that other women shouldn’t have any.
Oof, those are some pretty nasty charges to levy against your fellow ladies, Jessica. Especially without talking to any on the right side of the aisle. I mean for all you know, Sanders and Conway have had terrible experiences with liberal men and radical feminists, have felt marginalized by the Jessica Valentis of the world rather than by powerful conservative men, and that’s why they don’t see things the way you do. (Had you interviewed me, for example, that’s what I would have told you.)
Or maybe the suggestion that they can’t get ahead on their own merits, brains, and grit from ladies such as yourself is a bit distasteful to them, so they naturally gravitate toward people — and that includes men — that don’t immediately see them as dependent on men to make their mark like you do. And you do.
Or perhaps the fact that you think these ladies are undignified in the professions they dedicate long hours to (“[T]hey enjoy incredibly successful careers and high profiles at the expense of their dignity.” ), away from husbands and families, leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Maybe your shortchanging them turns these ladies toward conservative ideals that actually place a value on that time and effort rather than cynically calling it a ploy to curry favor with the All Powerful Male you seem convinced rules the world.
Or perhaps conservative women chafe at the idea that their desire not to be perpetually deemed a victim, and their lack of desire to wear vaginas as hats, somehow “paved the way… for sexual assault in the 21st century.” Because it strikes me as obvious that if you’re wearing the female sex on your head, you’re the ones reminding men what’s under your skirt all the time.
In short, Ms. Valenti, if you want to know what makes a woman conservative, a really quick and dirty way to find out is to ask a conservative woman. You may find that they have a belief that other conservatives, both male and female, let them work and live without deciding for them what their motivations are, without constantly trying to turn them into victims, and without calling them enablers of misogyny. It is tragically funny that progressive feminists remain dedicated to a pronounced lack of awareness that they do exactly what they charge conservative, misogynistic men of doing: putting all women into a single box.
And conservative women are smart enough to see that. Which you’d know had you decided to interview one.