Feminism is largely viewed as a liberal movement. The Mainstream Media has done an admirable job of making the Left seem friendly to women and their desires while making the Right appear to be detrimental to women’s rights.
Of course, we conservatives know instinctively that this is far from the case. Proving that, however, takes a little effort. We can certainly point to political celebrities such as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman or media stars the likes of Monica Crowley, Laura Ingram or Ann Coulter. On the other hand, giving sporadic examples seems insufficient when we have such a rich history we can examine to show how the Left has co-opted the march towards equal rights for purposes of its own, selfish political agenda.
The truth is feminism has gone full circle. The suffragettes fighting for the right to vote at the dawn of the Twentieth Century and through the Depression Era were very different from modern liberal feminists who appeared during the late 1960′s. The former were focused on gaining equality as stakeholders in the American Dream. The latter had a very different agenda. Their primary concern was the re-engineering of society rather than political equality. These post-1960′s rough edged, exceedingly masculine, progressive feminists reflected the utopianism of leftist ideologies. In short, they embodied a tradition of complaining and whining. Fortunately, that version of feminism is quickly being supplanted by a new, conservative “feminine” movement which embraces the Messianic ideal of the traditional Judeo-Christian ethos and a positive, “can do” attitude.
The Feminist movement which came of age during the late 1920′s to early 1940′s was created out of a need to raise awareness and challenge certain social structures, in order to give women an equal say in the directions our nation would evolve. Many of the pioneers of this brand of feminism were raised in working class immigrant communities, neighborhoods populated by political radicals and leftists focused on issues of social justice, equality and an acute awareness of other people’s suffering. As city dwellers and members of ethnic groups on the outskirts of American society, they addressed urban alienation and confronted racism through the application of community activism.
Many women worked in the needle trades and joined unions like International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union (ILGWU), Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA), United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers Union and Fur and Leather Workers Union. They found that by banding together in larger groups and by organizing their efforts cooperatively, they could make changes which would be impossible for them as individuals. This thinking would soon transfer to their desire to become voters alongside the male half of society.
Subjected to unbearable conditions and influenced by radical community leaders, many joined the Socialist Party and later even the Communist Party. They voted for leftist candidates in both local and national elections. They believed it their calling to attack the class, race and gender inequalities which pervaded this country at the time and worked towards an equal, inclusive unified American society. This is the distinct cultural and political milieu in which activists of that time endeavored to make a difference.
A frank and honest comparison between the original feminist movement which worked against cultural norms and the new conservative feminist movement which is leading string, traditional minded American women away from secular norms shows some striking similarities.
Would the feminists of the 1920′s to 1940′s be considered feminists today? No, probably not. By today’s standards, a feminist is all but honor bound to blame men for all the problems women experience in today’s world. When radical feminists face off against a conservative woman, they do everything possible to strip her of even the appearance of a healthy intellect by declaring to her physical attractiveness or homemaker status to be a weakness. I recently came across a quote by Tylor Marsh, a devoted liberal feminist, in which she states: “I respect the rights of Sarah Palin and conservative women to make decisions that fit their lives and philosophy. Unfortunately, they do not respect mine or the millions of other women who stand up for women’s individual freedoms and the right to self-determination that equals any man.”
The women’s movement was born of a desire to participate as stakeholders in society through the right to vote. In just a matter of decades, what began as a quest for the electoral franchise evolved into what we now know as the feminist movement. Women went from seeking equality to demanding the right to blame. That is not a desire for equality. It is petulant demand to be coddled, to live without responsibility for one’s own life.
By contrast, Sarah Palin motivates us to foster the hope that we can have it all. Mock away if you wish, but living with the hope of improving our circumstances through our own efforts is far more inspiring than being taught to expect catastrophe and assessing blame to someone else.
In universities around the world, young women are indoctrinated to believe that it is impossible for a true feminist to be either religious or feminine. In order to be taken seriously, a woman cannot believe in a Loving and Just Creator. Faith is seen as regressive by the modern women’s liberation movement.
Whereas the liberal feminist movement is repelled by the Bible, the new feminine feminists take the wisdom of the ages, embrace it and leverage it for the good of their families, their communities and their Nation!
The Bible implies that physical beauty is a metaphor for inner beauty because throughout the narrative, women are revered as much for their inherent goodness as they are for their physical attractiveness. No woman epitomizes both intrinsic and exterior beauty more than Queen Esther. Her exquisite beauty, grace and poise set her apart from all the other maidens in Persia. Queen Esther possessed inner beauty through courage, confidence, obedience, honesty, self-sacrifice, wisdom, and a devotion to God. She saved the Jewish people from near certain slaughter and through her courage, she became a true female heroine. This “Daughter of God” transformed from a terrified teenager into a beacon of hope, thereby becoming one of the greatest leaders of her time. Her enemies underestimated her. However, far from being a devilish mastermind Esther was actually a gracious woman. She was kind to her husband, even when he acted harshly. She was an astute observer of human nature which led her to understand how effective flattery would be on her enemy, Haman. She also studied life at court making her banquets the perfect backdrop for her plan.
The radical left has created a stereotypical female package deemed “eligible” to participate in public discourse. Rather than fixating on that external, shallow image, conservative feminists are completely comfortable wrapping themselves in everything feminine, balanced and moral. This is our jumping off point, the platform from which we spring forward to a future in which our capabilities and the content of our character earn us a seat at the table.
Danna Reubin is currently an “Associate Faculty” at SMU and Collin College. Born in South Africa, Danna emigrated to the United States in 1983 after having lived in Tel Aviv for three years previously. Her professional travels have taken her around the globe including destinations such as Russia, Taiwan, Africa and all over North America. An experienced educator, Danna is also an accomplished journalist. She speaks English, Russian and Hebrew. Reubin is a regular contributor to Right Time Radio