Kay S. Hymowitz: Republicans crush liberals at being feminist

25 Jan

Media analysis time, children! 

Kay S. Hymowitz, writing for the magazine of the conservative Manhattan Institute, wants us whiny liberal feminists to know that Palin is going to balls-up the women’s movement whether we like it or not. YOU HAVE BEEN TARGETED, WHINY LIBERALS.

No, actually Palin isn’t. Hymowitz tries to argue in her article that Palin is changing the women’s movement by making the women’s movement not about women but rather issues like tax reduction, government interference and budget deficits, things that sound suspiciously like the regular old Republican agenda.

Ergo, Sarah Palin is a Republican panderer who is just pro-herself. But she is a woman, so you can see how people get confused.

Let’s see how Hymowitz tries to argue it anyway, so we can laugh at her. HERE WE GO.

Why are conservative feminists smashing the shit out of liberal feminists?

The established feminist infrastructure had begun to sway long before 2008, but the arrival of Palin an friends crystallized the movement’s conflicts. For one thing, the Palinites had little interest in women’s issues, conventionally understood.

Oh right. This is what they call post-feminism, right? We now live in a post-feminist world, where we are all so feminist that feminists have “little interest” in women’s issues.

Feminists like to say that they’re a diverse group, and it’s true that there have been areas of dispute in the past (on the subjects of lesbianism and pornography, for example), but overall, it was usually easy to separate those who supported “women’s issues” from those who didn’t. The newcomers, however, weren’t talking about child care, parental leave, equal-pay initiatives, or any other issue on the familiar agenda. They were talking about government debt and patronage, about TARP and bailouts and excessive regulation.

So basically, in the Hymowitz Analysis of the New Conservative Feminism, liberal feminism is passé because it’s still fucking worrying about women. The new women, the real women, are marked by having opinions about things that men also have opinions about. BEHOLD EQUALITY.

Hymowitz doesn’t talk about how these newcomer feminist conservatives feel about women who aren’t “Mama Grizzlies.” I guess membership in their club is still dependent on being a mom, since that’s the ultimate street cred and “moral authority,” as she puts it.

Actually, maternal feminism is nothing new. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, temperance fighters—and, to a lesser extent, suffragettes—viewed their role as wives and mothers as the source of their moral authority in public debates. But something important sets today’s maternal feminism apart from the earlier strain: it casts budgeting and governance as maternal issues.

Actually, this is a dumb gimmick to pander to mommy voters. Budgeting and governance are human being citizen issues.

How can both sides claim the feminist mantle with such different understandings of government’s function and of women’s progress?

Here’s how: Sarah Palin has claimed the word “feminist” because she doesn’t understand what it means. As with everything else, she thinks it’s about her. Sarah Palin is just pro-herself, and she happens to have a vagina so she dug around somewhere in the back of her squirrel brain and remembered the word “feminist” from a first-year college survey course she dropped out of and decided it applied to herself because she remembered it meant something about “opinionated.”

AND THAT, folks, is why we do not ever need to have this debate again. Sarah Palin is not a feminist. As Hymowitz so eloquently puts it, Palin has no opinions about issues that actually specifically affect women.* She has only opinions about how awesome her opinions are.





*Unless you count abortion, in which case she thinks women are “brave” when they keep unintended pregnancies and deserve to die if they don’t.


2 Responses to “Kay S. Hymowitz: Republicans crush liberals at being feminist”


  1. WaPo columnist: women no longer want equality, just guns « pukingponies - February 22, 2011

    […] Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker is the latest whack job conservative lady to hop on the “left-wing feminism is dead” bandwagon and try to claim “true feminism” for the right. Women’s liberation worked in ways […]

  2. Women have more degrees, blah blah, this is about men « pukingponies - April 27, 2011

    […] the people who are paid to be insane about women’s advancement are still in their caves still busily formulating […]

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