By Dave Andrusko
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway is hugely popular in pro-life circles. We love her not only because she provided direction to then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign (and in the process became the first woman to be the campaign manager of a winning presidential endeavor), but also because her pro-life commitment goes back decades. She is one of us.
This, of course, makes her a marked woman in most media circles. She is neither one of the gazillion pro-abortion Democratic women nor is she willing to be silent while hostile interviewers go at her hammer and tong. That is why the attacks on Conway are vicious and will grow even uglier.
Today’s Question and Answer session at the first day of the annual CPAC convention was a welcomed relief. Her chat with Mercedes Schlapp was casual, enlightening, and illuminating. (You can watch the Q&A in its entirety and read the transcript.]
If you read media accounts of their exchange, what made the usual suspects unhappy was Conway’s candor and, more particularly, her keen insights into what Schlapp correctly labeled “conservative feminism.” Consider this exchange…
SCHLAPP: So there was this big women’s march, the Democrats all claim that all women pretty much should be Democrats. I think one of the things you’ve done very effectively is explain how women belong in the conservative movement. That actually there are — what I would call, conservative feminism. How would you explain that?
CONWAY: 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. I also, for me, it’s 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. …
And I believe those are timeless lessons and timeless opportunities for all women in — in similar circumstances and situations. And I would just say, I mean one thing that’s been a little bit disappointing and revealing, is that (I hope it will get better) it [turns out] that a lot of women just have a problem with women in power.
You know, this whole sisterhood, this whole let’s go march for women’s rights and, you know, just constantly talking about what women look like or what they wear, or making fun of their choices or presuming that they’re not as powerful as the men around.
This presumptive negativity about women in power I think is very unfortunate, because let’s just try to access that and have a conversation about it, rather than a confrontation about it.
Wow! Three quick points.
First, famed art critic and author Harold Rosenberg coined the phrase “A herd of independent minds” way back in the late 1940s. But it’s never been more true than now. Conway is making the hugely important point that nowadays women (and men) reject labels, or, better put, reject being placed in prefabricated, one-size-fits-all categories.
That is one of many reasons why the younger generations–again, particularly younger women– are more and more pro-life. They are intuitively against abortion, hate being told what they “must” think about abortion, do not consider themselves “victims,” and are instinctively repelled by group-think.
Second, pro-abortionists have what they believe is a proprietary claim on “feminism.” If a woman says she is a feminist but declines to salute Planned Parenthood’s flag, she is, ipso facto, excluded. “Individual feminism” flies in the teeth of this exclusionary proposition.
It says, in effect, Hey guys, isn’t feminism about “empowerment” and “thinking for oneself,” rather than taking your marching orders from others.
Third, I would take Conway’s very polite, “This presumptive negativity about women in power,” and go much further. I would argue that the leadership of major pro-abortion organizations is (a) shockingly out of step, (b) intolerant of diverse opinions to the point of absurdity, and (c) respectful of women in power only when they tow the pro-abortion line without the slightest deviation.
Nothing, but nothing, is more threatening to NARAL and PPFA and EMILY’s List than people in general, women in particular, making up their own minds. And rejecting victimhood status.
Why? Because they will end up just like Kellyanne Conway.
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