Making the tired case that she and President Trump are victims, President Trump’s senior counselor Kellyanne Conway equated criticism of her – the woman standing by the man who is taking away women’s medical rights even though he himself took full advantage of the sexual revolution- with undercutting modern feminism.
“If you want to disagree on policy, if you disagree on tax reform or health care reform or immigration or you’re for abortion and I’m not, then say that,” Conway said in Iowa on Saturday, speaking at the conservative Family Leadership Summit. “Disagree that way, that’s what America is. But so much of the criticism of me is so gender based.”
Conway claimed that the “condemnation of her as a political operative or White House aide has been about ‘how I look or what I wear or how I speak.'”
Conway said this “totally undercuts modern feminism.”
Back in February, Conway distanced herself from feminism.
Speaking at CPAC, Conway said, “Well, I believe this generation, particularly the younger people don’t really like labels. And we don’t – we’re not necessarily joiners or liking to label ourselves. And I – that – that’s great in its own right. So I don’t know about calling yourself a feminist.”
Conway pandered to the patriarchy whose goals she works to advance by playing The Cool Girl, claiming that feminism is anti-male, and she is not anti-male.
“I also, for me, its difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion in this context. And I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion, so. There’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices. Mercedes, I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances.”
No, feminism is not about making your own choices and feminism is also not “anti-male”. Feminism is about equality and freedom from gender restraints for both genders. It is pro-woman equality because women do not have political, economic, or social equality with men. To pretend otherwise is to lie.
No one is “pro-abortion, ” and anyone who makes that claim is moving the goal posts in an intellectually dishonest way. Feminists are inherently pro-medical rights for women, which is to say pro-liberty and pro-individual freedom.
Contrary to modern day conservative beliefs, feminists do not think the government should tell women when they should have babies or use their bodies as state property. This has nothing to do with classical feminism versus modern feminism, and everything to do with a conservative cultural appropriation of feminism for anti-feminist causes.
Kellyanne Conway is standing by a man, President Trump, who equated his struggle to avoid getting sexually transmitted diseases as his “personal Vietnam.” This is a man who has cheated on his many wives and was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. Donald Trump doesn’t support workers rights or the LGBTQ community or egalitarianism in any form. Women to Trump are objects to be used and thrown away.
Trump is, as a brand, the opposite of feminism. Kellyanne Conway can’t grab the mantle of feminism to use when it’s convenient, to use as Ivanka Trump was told to, to sell something that advances one person’s pocketbook.
Trump as President is actively working to undermine women’s medical rights and access. As Michelle Goldberg wrote in The New York Times of Donald Trump’s attacks on women’s sexual and reproductive rights, “American women are being stripped of their sexual and reproductive autonomy not by a moralizing puritan but by an erotically incontinent libertine.”
Feminism is not about a personal choice in the sense that anyone making a personal choice gets to call themselves a feminist. If your choice harms women or fails to actively support and enhance their goals to achieve political, social, and financial equality, then you are not a feminist.
Kellyanne Conway is criticized most often for her personal choice to be a propaganda machine for Donald Trump to such an extent that she isn’t even in the same room with truth or reality. She has told so many lies on TV that some networks refuse to have her on.
The Republican pollster was once roundly mocked once for her clothing, but that wasn’t the usual criticism of women’s clothing as we saw with Hillary Clinton. It was because she wore what looked to be a costume to the inauguration. No one was asking why Conway wears pantsuits instead of skirts. They were asking why she wore a Halloween costume to an inauguration.
Conway told these lies in Iowa today to feed conservatives another false justification for why they can’t trust the media and to explain (falsely) why she, and by proxy President Trump, are being attacked. She is feeding conservatives another resentment chewy toy; this time, it’s that the criticism is anti-feminist.
The fact that the movement buying this lie is an enemy to feminism won’t matter to them one bit.
But it should matter to reality. You don’t get to claim something is wrong because it’s anti-feminist when you attack feminism and undermine its goals and values.
Conway, who blamed “the resistance” for the shooting in Virginia, also told conservatives on Saturday that political rancor could be overcome by policy.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.