Conservative Feminism?

We all have preconceptions about feminists. While some may see feminists as champions for women’s rights, others may see them as radical, bra-burning Marxists. The dictionary definition of feminism is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” This definition, however, has been distorted by the Left and used to vilify conservatives as waging a “war on women.” In general, there are three myths the Left uses to support their distorted version of feminism.

Myth One: Women make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. President Obama is the most famous exponent of this myth. This statistic, however, does not take into consideration that women often choose majors that are less likely to result in higher salaries, such as education or sociology, or that women often decide to start a family, necessitating time off from work. In conjunction with this trend, men traditionally work more hours than women, and thus women earn a lower salary on average. The phrasing of this statistic is also misleading. According to Hanna Rosin of NPR, in 2013 the Bureau of Labor Department “statistics [showed] that the median earnings of full-time female workers [was] 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers.” This is a much different statement than saying a woman makes only 77 cents to a man’s dollar. The original statement implies that a woman, working the same job alongside a man, will only make 77 cents while he makes one dollar. The actual statistic compares full-time workers. As stated earlier, men work more hours than women. This difference in hours worked results in women appearing to unjustly earn less. Women make 77 percent of the median earnings because they work less, not because they are discriminated against. While acknowledging the statistic has changed in 2016 from 77 cents to 79 cents, the Left continues to use this misleading measurement to broadcast the suppression of women in the workplace. Unfortunately, facts are stubborn things.

Myth Two: Being pro-life makes you anti-woman. While the pro-choice and feminist movements may seem naturally associated today, the earliest feminists did not advocate abortion. In fact, Susan B. Anthony, a model figure in the history women’s rights activism, did not approve of abortion. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female to receive a degree in medicine from an American university, was firmly pro-woman and pro-life referring to abortions as“the gross perversion and destruction of motherhood.” In the 19th century, a female physician was referred to an abortionist. Dr. Blackwell wrote “That the honorable term ‘female physician’ should be exclusively applied to those women who carried on [abortions] seemed to me a horror.” Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the pro-choice movement gained strength until, in 1973, the Supreme Court finally decided in Roe v. Wade that abortion was to be legal in the United States. Feminists saw this as a great success in the fight for a woman’s right to choose. Most modern feminists have forgotten history–until the era of “liberation” in the mid-20th century, abortion was not seen as a means of empowering women by feminists and traditionalists alike (and rightfully so). Women ought not degrade their unique power to bring new life into the world.

Myth Three: Conservative feminists do not exist. If the feminist movement supports pro-choice policies and accepts the myth that women are paid less, can a conservative feminist exist? Yes. The Left does not have a monopoly on the term “feminist.”A conservative woman does not denigrate or repress herself nor does she suppress the women around her; rather, a conservative feminist believes she has the right to make her own decisions, free from government regulation and control. Sure, a conservative feminist may have a different view on abortion and equal pay, but she refuses to be a victim instead of a victor.

The conservative feminist fights for her equality everyday by fighting for her right to make decisions for herself as a free, independently-minded, strong-willed individual.

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