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Costa: Whine, Women and Conservatives

Thursday, April 03, 2014

 

We just closed out Women’s History Month 2014! Although there is hint of springtime swirling in the April air it seems the gains of women over time and through the efforts of activism and feminism don’t sit well with all the gals, particularly the conservatives. Just last week the Heritage Foundation hosted a forum entitled, “Evaluating Feminism, Its Failures, and Its Future.” and conservative, female speakers took the chance to stick their collective thumbs in the eye of feminism. At the conference the conservative columnist Mona Charen chided, “Millions of women have taken feminist advice, and it has led to unparalleled misery.”

Did she really say that?

Oh, yes she did!

I feel a little like De Niro, “Are you talkin to me?” Rather presumptuous to speak so boldly for millions of women, no?

Take that you feminist…

The assault on feminism was on full view and the barbs flew with sharpened tips aimed directly at the efforts of girls to move forward. No secret here, I am a “Lean In”, “Ban Bossy” kind of gal.

The likes of Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, Mika Brzezinski and Maria Shriver are some of the women who make the authoritative case for the empowerment of girls and women. Setting the example of how to pay it forward by mentoring and assisting girls and even women who have been carelessly passed over in life. It was made clear that for many of the conservative women at the Heritage forum, gender is irrelevant on many levels.

Conservative Columnist Mona Charen stated, “It doesn’t interest me whether a person who happens to share my chromosomes sits in the Oval Office. It doesn’t interest me how many women members of the Senate there are.”

And while that may be fine for her, it is not fine for me, as the policies which impact women are drafted and carried out in both institutions. And, more and more women are a big part of the results at the ballot box, so perhaps that is what has the “Heritage gals” all in a lather. The topics of date rape, marriage and real family values rolled right off the tongues of the panelists.

You would think that after the comments of Representative Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock revolving around rape the conservatives particularly conservative women would stay out of that fray. But, at the Heritage Forum, Mona Charen jumped in with both feet, putting forth criticism of college campus behavior, when she stated in part, “where hooking up is considered normal and date rape is difficult to prevent.” Mona FYI, I am pretty sure date rape is still the fault of the rapist. But, I guess that is why according the the Heritage gals, you simply must be married, you know the good old fashioned nuptials, It’s a cure all.

Hitch yourself to success

I found so much of the commentary coming from the forum stunning. Unfortunately, at the heart of these positions is politics. President Obama carried unmarried women in the last election by 36 percentage points. So logically, if more chicks tie the knot, they may move toward the right. Right? Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and Heritage panelist said in part, “Marriage has enabled elites to have a lot of money and stability. We should show concern in extending marriage to everybody so that everybody can benefit. Everybody go out right now, if you’re not married, go get married and that will solve all these problems.” So girls throw away the books, grab your high heels and go snag yourself a hubby. Just think you can mix the martinis, whip up a Chateaubriand and greet your mad man at the door. Problems solved!

If this is the position of conservative women, I feel as if I just stepped into the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman as Peabody barks, “Sherman set the Wayback Machine for 1959. “You know it was a time when men were men and women were home, (barefoot and pregnant). “Peabody where are you taking us?” I query. “211 Pine Street, Mayfield, Ohio." He replies “Oh no will Eddie Haskell be there? Please Peabody take us forward to 714 Delaware Street, I know Roseanne can help!”

The time to go back is done, we must move forward empowering our girls and celebrating our victories. Make no mistake along the road I have encountered women who lay land mines, set up fellow females and are just plain jerks, luckily the older I get the less they exist. Feminism is doing something right. For me a favorite Sandberg quote is still:

“There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” - Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

 

Carol Costa is a public relations and community outreach specialist; she has experience in both the public and private sectors. She is the Chairwoman of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee and has extensive community affairs and public relations experience. She previously served in the Rhode Island Judiciary for nearly 17 years. Carol also enjoyed a successful development stint at the Diocese of Providence as Associate Director for Catholic Education and is currently the Executive Director of the Warren Housing Authority. Her work has been published in several local outlets including GoLocal, Valley Breeze, The Rhode Island Catholic, and Currents Magazine.

 

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