August 5, 2017


Conservative Millennial Women Are Here For Female Empowerment--Just Don't Call Them Feminists (SAMANTHA LEACH, AUGUST 4, 2017Glamour)

[B]y the end of lunch I found myself engaged in complex conversations about their hopes for female empowerment within the conservative party.

"I want equality of opportunity, and they want equality of outcome," said Emily Hall, the president of her NeW chapter at Harvard, when I called her a week later, curious to hear more about her problem conservative women have with modern feminism. The "they" she's referring to, in case you haven't caught on, are liberal women.

Hall's point is the backbone of what Agness calls "opportunity feminism," which touts the belief that as long as women have the ability to enter fields like STEM, it doesn't matter how many actually do.

Another fundamental problem NeW attendees expressed with the feminist movement is its focus on women's reproductive rights, particularly--of course--abortion.

Jessica Martinez, the founder of her NeW chapter at UNC Charlotte, told me, "I have a strong Christian faith. I understand women want the right to do whatever they want with their body, but if it's at the cost of another's life, even though they don't consider it a life--if it has a heartbeat--then I [abortion] to be illegal." Other women admitted the left's laser-focus on Planned Parenthood was the primary reason they didn't participate in January's Women's March.

Outside divisive issues like abortion, another common complaint women at the conference shared with me was what they perceive to be the left's "victimhood" culture. "Feminism is focusing on an intersectionality that seems to be a competition to see who's the biggest victim," Hall said. "I think feminism should focus on empowering women, not just focusing on the ways that they've been disadvantaged."  [...]

Yet, even though these women don't identify with feminism as I define it, I came to find that they can still be--for lack of a better phrase--woke as hell. For example, Martinez told me about how, as a conservative Hispanic woman, she's fighting for Republicans to embrace more diversity in the party. Another attendee, Amy Dunham, a rising senior at the University of Alabama, proudly told me that she's studying engineering and plans to work in STEM. In one of the most emotional moments of the conference, a sexual assault survivor and advocate stood up and questioned whether she could defend Trump after the comments he's made towards women. Later, I saw many of the attendees thank her, and others tell her about their own work in sexual assault awareness community.

Now that I had a better understanding of the problems millennial conservative women have with feminism, I still wanted to know what their ideal movement would look like, and how it would better serve women. When I asked Hall how she'd envision it, she told me this: "[It would] include all women and [our] male allies as well, because I think that the vast majority of people, women and men, absolutely support political and otherwise equality of women. I think we should capitalize on the support of [the] many people [who] want women to be equal. I think it would be important to make that feminism into a network of women who are empowering women to run for office. Something that crosses ideological lines."

Posted by at August 5, 2017 7:45 AM