When Sarah Palin was chosen as the GOP nominee for vice president, Phyllis Schlafly hailed her as a role model of the non-feminist woman who by her very existence discredited the women’s movement. Feminists “are really spooked by Palin because she’s done everything and she is a success,” Schlafly said, “besides she is pretty and they cannot stand her.”
Now that Palin’s star has significantly subsided and she has become one of the most unpopular politicians in America, Schlafly’s niece Suzanne Venker is crowning Michele Bachmann as the new conservative woman who destroyed feminism. Venker, who co-authored The Flipside of Feminism with Schlafly, told James Dobson that women shouldn’t pursue challenging professions like brain surgery because it might prevent them from having children.
In an article for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, Venker lauded Bachmann for showing the bright side of biblical “submission” and proving that the women’s movement has contributed nothing beneficial to society. Venker writes that for “the first time in decades, the liberal feminist establishment is up against something new: outspoken conservative women who undermine the feminist agenda.” But haven’t conservative women, like say, Phyllis Schlafly, been involved in politics for decades?
Venker argues that now Bachmann is being unfairly depicted as “a religious nut and a doormat,” and says a man would never be asked about biblical submission (not so). And even though Bachmann may be one of the easiest GOP candidates for President Obama to defeat, Venker says that she is actually making liberals run scared:
For 40 years, this country has endured a social movement that has been relentless in its goals. Women on the left believe the feminist movement is responsible for liberating women from constricted lives; women on the right see things differently. Feminists are consumed with their place in society; conservative women are not. They are especially uninterested in fighting a gender war. That’s why the Submission Question could be asked only of a conservative female candidate. It’s women on the right, we’re told, who want to keep women in their place. Conservative women are anti-woman.
So what to do when faced with a female candidate who’s conservative and popular? Why, portray her as a religious nut and a doormat, of course! Indeed, feminists know most women won’t identify with that kind of woman. And they’re right: they won’t. Women on the left don’t appreciate that traditional values, even Biblical values, are not at odds with female empowerment. No matter what you think of Bachmann or Sarah Palin, these women have proved this in spades. No one gets to their position by being oppressed or mousy.
For the first time in decades, the liberal feminist establishment is up against something new: outspoken conservative women who undermine the feminist agenda. Conservative women are supposed to stay home! Conservative women are supposed to lead nice, traditional lives: raise a gaggle of children, be subordinate to their husbands and stay out of the public sphere. Why are they asserting their independent minds?
The implication that Michele Bachmann is a Stepford wife in disguise was a pitiful attempt to bring down a female conservative candidate who has sinned in the worst way possible: She does not carry the feminist torch. And, yet, she still won the Iowa straw poll.
Perhaps feminism really is dead.