Feminist ideology permeates our culture in ways that filter down into even the most personal, often in ways that surprise me. Although being a teenager in the 1970s, where strident feminist ideology rose to dominate American culture, I should not be surprised how completely even many (perhaps most) conservative women have been indoctrinated too.
The girl power dogma rules and has been everywhere from cute pastel-colored stickers proclaiming “Girls Rule” for young girls to colleges brimming with “women’s studies” selections, while military history was frog-marched off of most college curriculums.
Feminists have worked to shame and marginalize women who choose to be stay-at-home mothers and make their family the center of their lives. Women who do not define themselves in terms of “careers” are relegated to the bottom of the heap and as one of those “just a nobody homemaker” type of women ( I could fill a book with personal examples). This attitude so dominates our culture, where women blazing trails into traditional male-dominated careers are hailed as role models, cultural icons and symbolic of what women should strive for in their lives, that anything other than blazing career trails is deemed being a failure or settling for less.
Women are defined by most men primarily on looks, to a degree that often, I think, it’s hardwired into the male DNA to assess women as potential mates, but most men publicly spout the feminist dogma too. Women define themselves and other women based on feminist-indoctrinated standards of career and politics. Motherhood and family, although still central to many women’s lives, get dissected and judged on strictly feminist terms. Most women, who decide to stay home to care for their children, whom I’ve known feel a need to defend the choice, but among stay-at-home mothers with a college education, they feel shame or express the choice in terms of being a failure.
Homemakers often caveat their choice as “temporary”. It’s a rare thing for a woman to unapologetically state she chose to be a homemaker and is happy being at home.
The cultural status of being a homemaker devolved from being a respected undertaking, where a mother was seen as the central figure in the home, keeping order and nurturing her family to now an undertaking in need of apology and excuses. Homemaking used to be considered real work, but the feminist revolution redefined it in Betty Friedan terms, as drudgery, misery, endless boredom and a total waste of a woman’s life.
Most conservative women in the punditry and political circles, claim to be feminists too and how they square these two diametrically opposing ideologies into their personal and political viewpoint fascinates me. These conservative women will raise a ruckus when Hillary Clinton makes a dismissive comment about traditional homemakers, spouting about how she didn’t want to stay at home baking cookies, but at the same time these conservative women are very much swimming in the same feminist ideological pond as liberal feminist women, believing most of the same things. They define themselves on feminist terms.
A few “rebel” conservative women have rocked the feminist cart a bit by suggesting women take the time to rock the cradle and stay home with their young children, as a viable option, but even there, feminist dictates creep in, with advice often urging women that they can later pursue a career. The truth is children especially from lower-income families, where affordable quality daycare options do not exist, would fare better with a family member at home caring for them. Despite relentless leftist social engineering in our culture, many women still feel mothering instincts and find satisfaction in caring for their children.
Among some deeply religious families, you will hear some value placed on stay-at-home mothers, but these views get cast as trying to keep women trapped at home by the mainstream cultural mouthpieces. This traditional defense of women being happy and fulfilled taking care of their families, as the central goal in their life, gets less than zero respect in our culture.
Marriage has also been redefined and diluted in meaning and form, where it’s relevance is now more useful as a term held hostage by leftists, who work tirelessly to politicize, litigate and pressure Americans into bowing down and accepting their constantly evolving definition. So, it shouldn’t have surprised me to read an op-ed from a conservative pundit weighing in that Hillary Clinton failed women, by staying married to Bill Clinton and urging Melania Trump to divorce President Trump, to make a political statement and become a worthy feminist icon.
A couple of days ago, conservative commentator, S.E. Cupp urged Melania Trump to divorce President Trump in an op-ed. Cupp wrote:
“What she does next is no small thing. It might seem just like tabloid fodder to the gossip rags, or political chum for Hill watchers. But for a generation of young girls, Melania’s next move could be formative.
It was for me. I was just 13 when word of Bill Clinton’s affairs hit the campaign trail and imperiled his 1992 presidential run. I had just “voted” for Clinton in my school’s mock primary, and I was paying close attention.”
It’s fair to condemn Hillary for attacking Bill Clinton’s other women and being involved in trying to destroy their reputations, but it’s a whole other thing to read a conservative commentator equate marriage as some sort of political or feminist statement. Marriage should be a private matter. It feels very odd to find myself defending Hillary Clinton’s right to privacy on her marriage and any decisions she makes pertaining to it, but this is a first. Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to explain her marriage to anyone.
Asserting that Melania Trump will inspire young women, if she divorces her husband, leaves me wondering what kind of women find inspiration in a broken marriage and another child dealing with a broken home? Divorce is a painful experience for most people who go through it. It’s especially painful to children in those families. Suggesting a woman divorce to make a political statement or to bolster her “feminist cred” sounds nakedly ambitious, heartless and completely incongruent with conservative values.
This is where conservative values are at though. Cupp isn’t an anomaly. Most women, across the political spectrum are feminists first and their “conservative” values play second string to trying to appease the feminist sisterhood. Feminist ideology rules, not only the American cultural and political landscape completely, sadly it rules the roost in most American homes.