If Defending Neocons Against Sexism is Right, Do We Want to Be Wrong?

There is some buzz going around the blogosphere this week (and in the Bitch comments section) about sexism and conservative women. What with David Letterman making jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, Playboy listing the conservative women they'd like to "hate f_ck", and former Miss California's anatomy being discussed all over the place, it does seem like conservative women have been the target of more sexism than usual lately. It's no wonder, then, that Amy Siskind called people out on today's Huffington Post blog for selective sexism.

I agree with Siskind that sexism is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances, but should anti-feminists like Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean have their misogynist cake and eat their equal rights too? And can they wash the cake down with the supportive milk of the feminists they're so quick to condemn? (Okay, enough with the weird cake analogies, I promise.)

Now again, I don't condone sexism in any form. It's bullshit that Sarah Palin's 14-year old daughter is being objectified on national television, and that Playboy says they'd like to "hate fuck" Michelle Bachmann because they think she looks like she'd be "a screamer." I guess it's just that situations like these make me question the depths of my own feminist politics, because there is a part of me that just doesn't want to defend the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Prejean, or any of these other neo-con ladies. They certainly wouldn't defend me if the circumstances were reversed, would they? (No, they wouldn't.)

That part of me, the petty part, wants to tell these women to take their victimization and shove it up their anti-feminist a-holes. If they are going to openly speak out against a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, comprehensive sex education, and the other billion civil rights they'd like to abolish, then why should I defend them when someone says they've got a nice rack? That part of me wants to call them up and say, "Guess what lady? Remember how you said you didn't like feminism? Well it doesn't like you either. So I guess you're on your own with the whole 'hate fuck' thing."

Unfortunately, though, sometimes being a feminist means shoving that petty part of you down into the bottom drawer where you keep those letters from your ex and that embarrassing fanzine you made for Richard Marx when you were in middle school.

Since I am a feminist, after all is said and done, I have to try and forget that all of the women who have come under the fire of sexism this past week (except for poor, adolescent Willow Palin) are sexists themselves who have spoken out against feminism and for "traditional family values." Because being a feminist means, to me, rejecting sex and gender-based inequality in all its forms, even when the targets of said inequalities are people whom I'd rather choke down a handful of live bees than spend an afternoon with.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I like these women's politics; it only means that I think they should be criticized for their bullshit opinions and not for their gender. Why target them for being women when we can target them for being idiots instead? And I still don't think that Palin, or Prejean, or Hasselbeck would stand up for me if they thought I was the victim of sexism (they haven't so far, anyway), but that's okay. Maybe someday they'll realize that feminists and feminism were there for them when Playboy magazine and Donald Trump weren't, and they'll change their minds and start writing witty feminist blogs. A girl can dream, anyway.

What do you think? Should we defend these neocons, or let them fend for themselves?

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Comments

38 comments have been made. Post a comment.

What we should do is to

What we should do is to criticize the sexist attacks without necessarily defending these anti-feminist women. It's a fine line to walk, but what I mean is that we should discuss the sexism of such remarks, point out how they create a discourse that is generally hostile to women, and (as you have done here) point out how the anti-feminism of such women has contributed to an environment in which sexism is seen as acceptable.

Right! The focus should be

Right! The focus should be on the attack, not the anti-feminist victim of the attack.

Take note: Opinions expressed are those of their respective authors, not necessarily those of Bitch. Dig?

Excellent article

It is often difficult to walk the line between principles and reality. You've done a good job of articulating the issues.

I agree

Definitely and wholeheartedly, I completely agree with this comment.

Despite the fact that most of us disagree with these women, the fact is that they're still human and they're still women and they're being attacked with extremely degrading and sexist remarks. As feminists, we aim to fight against such so-called attacks and let people know that, as women, we should be treated with more respect.

I mean, when was the last time we heard of a man getting treated like this in the media?

And, as you mention in the

And, as you mention in the piece, there area gazillion other ways to make jokes about these people that don't involve lazy mysogyny.

Take note: Opinions expressed are those of their respective authors, not necessarily those of Bitch. Dig?

Solidarity is Solidarity

And if we want to create solidarity with each other against kyriarchal forces, that includes these women, even if they hate everything we love.

There's definitely plenty to criticize them for without resorting to sexist or racist or ableiest etc. bullshit.

~whatsername~

~whatsername~

agreed!

The Letterman jokes were appalling and just as bad was the excuse that "he wasn't talking about the 14 year old, he was talking about the 18 year old." Right, because the 18 year old has had sex before and so is now a whore and fair game. Thanks Letterman.

I agree with all of the

I agree with all of the above comments. The bottom line is that anti-feminist women are still women who suffer sexist attacks like the rest of us. While we may disagree with their personal ideologies, we cannot be passive and let the sexist case slip by quietly. How weak would our belief in feminism be if we merely defended 'our own'? We need to tackle the issue regardless of who the victims are because really, that is what we're fighting...issues not individuals.

I agree with all of the

I agree with all of the above comments. The bottom line is that anti-feminist women are still women who suffer sexist attacks like the rest of us. While we may disagree with their personal ideologies, we cannot be passive and let the sexist case slip by quietly. How weak would our belief in feminism be if we merely defended 'our own'? We need to tackle the issue regardless of who the victims are because really, that is what we're fighting...issues not individuals.

OK With Being Petty

Personally, I'm OK with being petty. I agree with the quote below. If it means I'm not as highly evolved as Kelsey Wallace, I can live with that.

That part of me, the petty part, wants to tell these women to take their victimization and shove it up their anti-feminist a-holes. If they are going to openly speak out against a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, comprehensive sex education, and the other billion civil rights they'd like to abolish, then why should I defend them when someone says they've got a nice rack? That part of me wants to call them up and say, "Guess what lady? Remember how you said you didn't like feminism? Well it doesn't like you either. So I guess you're on your own with the whole 'hate fuck' thing."

These are the type of women who'd accept your outreached hand of support on Feminist principals when they are down, then spit in your face the moment the crisis is over. Going right back to beating the drum about how every other woman on the planet, except them, belongs barefoot, pregnant and chained to some man's kitchen. Or whatever their current interpretation of "traditional family values" they are touting in that day.

I see neo con women in the same light I see neo con blue color workers. Parasites on the backs of people who take all the risks and put in all the work to help make the lives of women and workers better. They take advantage of the benefits of feminism and union/labor workers rights struggles while dragging those movements through the mud.

I agree that going after minor children such as Sarah Palin's 14-year old daughter is wrong, no matter who is doing it. But my sympathy ends there.

Conservatives Anti-Feminist?

It's unfortunate that the question of whether or not to reject misogyny is a question that should take more than half a second for any feminist! I'm a conservative and a feminist and IMMEDIATELY thought that the comparison of Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Bond Girl Pussy Galore was unacceptable. I disagree with most, if not all, of her core beliefs, but making her nothing more than a sex object is not the way to counter them. In addition, I'm a big fan of this blog, follow several other feminist blogs, scold my male friends when I hear them refer to a woman as a sex object LET ALONE treat her as one! My political affiliation doesn't make me any less of a woman and I don't take any shit and do not aspire to be "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen." None of my conservative friends are meek little wives-to-be and the perception of conservatives as anti-feminist is FALSE! My dad made me mow the lawn, taught me how to use guns (with which I am more accurate with than my brother), taught me how to use power tools and told me that I didn't have to take shit from any man! However, I'll address some of the specific issues that you mentioned that make conservatives inherently anti-feminist. The abortion debate comes down to ethics. When does life begin? Personally, I believe that it begins upon conception (though you may disagree) and murder is not one of our inalienable rights. Does refusing to accept what I consider murder make me a hater of my own sex? I don't think so. Then, I'm not for gay marriage, but I'm not against it either. I think that it should be left up to the people and determined by referendums, not taken care of far above our heads by the courts, whose presiding judge may or may not embody the will of the people. As for the comprehensive sex education issue, every family is not the same, so why should our tax dollars pay for a sex education that we may not want for our children? Some families want their kids to know about masturbation and more, other families would rather have their children abstinent. Neither should have to pay for an education that doesn't fit their core beliefs. I hope that you all will think about what I've said and understand that being conservative is not necessarily being anti-feminist!

I don't believe that you can

I don't believe that you can call yourself a feminist if you don't support reproductive rights. There are many feminists who don't think abortion is the right choice *for them* but who still support reproductive rights for all women. Where abortion is illegal, women die.

Like a typical conservative, however, you are picking and choosing the parts of feminism that benefit yourself. Feminism is about *women's liberation* not just making MindaMJ's life easier. :(

You're OK in my book, Minda

I too was horrified by the Pussy Galore image of Pelosi, and I disagree with her politics.

Reading Bitch for the past 5 years or so has actually helped to make me more of a conservative than a liberal, in fact... I am outraged by what a lot of other women who consider themselves feminists are deeming as "outrageous" within the magazine's contents... because a lot of it is so petty and silly.

The thing that amazes me about some readers of Bitch is, they will glorify Hillary Clinton in her Presidential run, and talk about her cracking the "glass ceiling", yet they will not say the same about Sarah Palin with her VP run.

Palin is just as much a woman as Hillary is... is it because Palin has a young child and a young grandchild who she "should" be helping to raise, that gets some of these women fired up? Wow, that sounds eerily like the "barefoot and pregnant" argument they bleat that conservatives have about women!

I was cheering Palin on, personally, as a feminist... she has other children who can help raise Trig, after all. She also has a husband who can help raise Trig. Those things seem to be easily forgotten in the "bash Palin at any cost" liberal world though. So is it ok then, to the more liberal feminists, for Hillary to run for office because Chelsea is grown and out on her own, and therefore won't be a "burden" to her mother?

Somehow it's deemed ok for these women who are not in the government, to have aspirations for their careers, but in their eyes there is no way Palin should be allowed to do what she wants with her life as well, by striving to climb the employment ladder. (Let me correct myself here... it's evidently deemed ok for Democratic or liberal women to have freedom over what to do with their life, but not conservative or Republican women.)

Talk about keeping women down! It's not the conservatives who are the problem at all... it's the liberals.

Ok...so you're a feminist

Ok...so you're a feminist because you shoot guns and use power tools? That's like saying "I'm not racist, I have a black friend!"
This article raised the question of whether or not these anti-feminists deserve the support of the feminist community when they are misogynized against. Let's not turn this into a bi-partisan mud-slinging "I'm more feminist than you are!" fight and focus on the issue that was raised in the blog.

Defend. Always. If only the

Defend. Always. If only the cool kids are defended against sexist diatribes, feminism becomes nothing more than a clique, and loses its credibility.

Besides this point really hits the nail on the head: "Why target them for being women when we can target them for being idiots instead?"

It's Ironic, Really

I think that these people are, in fact, being made fun of for being idiots and the sexist smattering is purely ironic, although inappropriate. They publicly decry feminism in spite of their own gender, so it seems natural to mock them in a way that highlights this oxymoronic viewpoint. By making fun of them in a sexist manner, it forces them to reach out to the feminist community which they so vehemently oppose in their every day lives. It is always unfortunate to see individuals denigrated because of their gender, but in this case it serves to teach them a lesson.
I say, watch them squirm. Maybe they'll learn something.

This is just the usual violence against women

I'm really glad that the blogger brought up this subject.

Sexism in any form is sexism, and likewise where misogyny is concerned. I'm horrified by the thought that anyone would perpetuate our culture of violence against women by reducing a woman whose ideals they disagreed with to her sexual function. That's dehumanizing, disrespectful, and discriminatory. To me, "hate fuck" is another term for rape, and to want to "hate fuck" someone is to want to rape or otherwise sexually harm them in order to dehumanize and disempower them.

The desire to or act of "hate fuck"ing someone is connected both to rape culture and the phrase (or phrases similar to), "You need to get laid." In saying this to a person when you disagree with their ideals, the implication is that by submitting to another person whose ideals are generally implied to be different than or indifferent to their own, they will, once "relaxed", let go of their values and either a) become receptive to or adopt their "hate fuck"er's ideals or b) revert to a state of mindlessness or childishness, wherein their agency is silenced, be it by force or by eventual identification with their aggressor. Basically, it relates to the backwards idea that a woman, or any person, can be fucked into submission and that sex is a means of control. Sexual dominance becomes a symbol of control, and the victim is dehumanized in being treated as (and, according to fantasy, "transformed" into) a child and/or an object without dissenting or independent opinion.

It does not matter that this sentiment is often voiced by "liberal" men and women in the media; this is just another attempt to infantilize and/or hypersexualize women in order to take away their power. The focus should remain maturely on the fact that the actions of the women politicians/public figures in question are often harmful and discriminatory against others. Suggested sexual violence has no place here.

I think that if the media used a different type of language, the inherent violence and discrimination of what they are saying in regard to these women would become evident, as well as intolerable. It would be hate speech. For example, if public figures stated that they wanted to kill or maim these women because they disagreed with their ideals, the inappropriate nature of such personal and hateful comments would be obvious. (In fact, I would argue that many people might find such comments more acceptable, as comments about wanting to "shoot" someone you don't like are often construed as relatively impersonal, casual, and non-gendered in our society, whereas the idea that a person should be "hate fuck"ed almost exclusively relates to violence and/or sexism against women.) It has to do with the problem of sexual violence being tolerated in the media and in our culture.

It is a feminist's duty to support the basic rights and the basic dignity of women everywhere, no matter whether the women we are defending are our allies or our opponents in the political arena. Feminists have long been familiar with the issues of being infantilized or hypersexualized, or "hate fuck"ed, when they speak out against oppression. It would be morally reprehensible to refuse to come to the aid of these women merely because we dislike their politics; to do so would be divisive and counter-productive. We have to stick to the values for which we fight. Equality is for all, not for the chosen few.

It kind of hurts me that

It kind of hurts me that this is even a question. Yes, you defend everyone against any kind of ad hominin* attack--regardless of who they are or what they've done. How is that not obvious?

Regarding neocons specifically, they have so many other obvious issues that you can tackle straight on, why would you go the sexist route? Normally you could claim someone being lazy (rather than picking apart complex issues) but in many cases their own crappy policies are so obvious that even that poor excuse fails...

*i.e. sexist, racist, ageist, etc etc etc

Sexist attacks hurt *all*

Sexist attacks hurt *all* women, not just the woman they are targeting. And, even Malkin and Coulter should not be attacked using sexism as a weapon. There's plenty wrong with their ideas to criticize!

Great post!

I have a distinction in my own my mind between two types of sexist remarks 1) those that attack individual women 2) those that attack all women in their efforts to break with tradition, which therefore threaten men (well, certain types of men. no offense to my pookie.) While the jokes being made about these neo-con ladies are moving into a realm of sexual violence and objectification that is troubling, it's largely an attack on an individual. Well, an individual and a movement that has sought to reduce individual freedoms in the U.S., blamed individuals for systemic problems, while spreading war, disease and poverty around the globe. Granted, it's not ok to equate someone's gender (or sexual orientation, race, or class) as a negative in order to bring them down. But in terms of sexist comments that hurt us all, neo-cons like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan are waaaay out in front. Their comments, particularly about feminism, attack women in a way that is designed to be far more systemic. Obviously, I'm more concerned about type 2 sexism. I'm not trying to make the claim that this is the perspective Feminism takes or should take, but for me, that's what's up.

It's such an ironic thing in my own head, because we so often think that when men make fun of women that it’s an attempt to silence women's dissenting opinions about the world. However, in these neo-con ladies' cases, their "dissenting" opinions are the traditional white male perspective. Up is down, night is day, and pigs are wearing lip stick. Great post, though. I dig where you're going with this, Kelsey.

This is Bitch, right, not

This is Bitch, right, not some shit-stirring faux-feminist site like Slate?

How is this even a question?

Misogyny and gendered slurs affect all women. All of us are injured when it's considered acceptable to harrass women publicly by attacking their gender. We don't challenge misogyny to score political points, but to further equality for all women.

So yeah, it's absolutely wrong for Playboy to joke about hate-fucking Michelle Bachman, and for Letterman to broadcast slurs about Willow Palin--the same way it's wrong for people to claim that Hillary Clinton isn't "man enough" to face off with Kim Jong Il. It's the same thing.

I'm actually really disappointed that this is up for discussion here.

I have objections about the objections

No fucking way, not now, not in a million years, will I ever hold back on women like Prejean or Palin who consciously objectify themselves as a method of seeking social popularity. If you put yourself out into the public as a tits and ass show and then have the nerve to turn around and preach conservative values, you make yourself a target to be ridiculed. Was it wrong for Letterman to target a Palin daughter in an effort point out hypocrisy? Or drag airline attendants into the mess? Yes. But then again, crass humor typically goes to the gutter. Reaching into the grabbag of social prejudice makes for good humor, its a formula used my many comics. Its important to recognize the objectionable material and call it out, but part of being a real Bitch is not letting go of that killer instinct - the Palins and Prejeans should be in everyone’s crosshairs for good reason.

Oh! Jeez.

Ouch!! I suspect you're going to get negative feedback on the idea that these women put their sexuality out there and therefore deserve to get slammed...but I sort agree with where your going on this one.
This hate f_ck business is a little far out there. I can't really defend that.
But, I do think neocons really value a certain kind of physical beauty in their lady representatives. The rise of Palin, for certain, had a lot to do with her physical beauty. I feel like neoconservative men really want women to represent the movement who look very different than liberal women - you know, the ones who invented feminism to give ugly women a place in the world. But then again, perhaps there's a better way to make fun of all the sex appeal without really going the harsh sexual objectification route. Remember when Tina Fey as Palin topped off her debate performance with some "fancy pageant walkin"? Now, that was funny.

Both of them come from the

Both of them come from the beauty pageant mills, they played the game of misogynistic culture and won first prize, then tried exploiting their "fame" for larger goals. If someone wants to sling the criticism in my direction for having negative attitudes towards their socially destructive behavior, I'm more than willing to engage in that topic. They should be slammed. I agree with you though, Tina made one heck of a subversive dig at Sarah without engaging in broader gender based jokes like other male comics seem to be doing. Heck, if we really want to take pock shots at progressive male comics doing sexist jokes that undermine the cause, one could have a field day with just five minutes of any Bill Maher monologue.

Why hardcore liberalism chips away at feminist credibility...

Wow the hypocrisy on some of these comments that actually think Palin and any other conservative woman deserves it because that have a different point of view! Let's take this theory further then and say that if the "N" word is applied to a black Republican, it's okay because they must be against civil rights and therefore shouldn't reap the benefits of them simply for being a human being. And there must be a few gay conservatives out there so I guess calling them fags is something to take guilty pleasure in.

I think that progressive feminists really take offense at conservatives that don't fit their old, white male stereotype and therefore need to punish them no-holds barred. Just keep telling yourselves that feminists can't be pro-life (you know, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton staunchly were) or that accomplished women can only be celebrated if they adhere to strict liberal ideology, and your numbers will continue to decrease; you see, us independent women who choose to think for ourselves don't much like being bullied or pigeonholed. And as we set positive examples for our daughters, succeed in the workplace or otherwise, and champion equality for women worldwide, we might just embody feminism more proudly than those of you who chose to snicker at the expense of young girls because their mom is in politics or at conservative women who are mothers, sisters and daughters, being hatef**cked because it's so clever and witty.

Can't wait to hear your resounding guffaws when someone refers to Michelle Obama's "slutty look" or jokes about a pubic hair on a coke can...oh, wait....

Um, wow.

Way to turn it into you versus all those hateful, puppy kicking libruls.

Can't feminists admit to being ideologically torn between two opposing opinions? Is no one allowed to have complex and/or nuanced thought? Or is no one allowed to publicly voice the inner monologue that leads them reaffirm their values? I just really don't see anybody here coming to the conclusion that conservative women deserve sexist treatment. I see a debate about whether to speak up against this sexism in favor of someone who would never do the same for you.

Feminism wasn't always about the pro choice/pro life debate. Feminism isn't about blindly celebrating any woman just because she's successful in something. Perhaps conservative women are being "attacked" by feminists because many conservative values are contrary to feminist values.

Maybe it's because women of all political stripes are beginning to be taken as seriously as men in politics that we're even able to have this conversation.

You call it nuanced....I call it hypocrisy....

I'm no longer buying the idea that liberal feminists get to define feminism for the rest of us. I see Palin as standing up against the good-old-boy network (evidenced in her rise to power in Alaska); getting to where she is without the nepotism of chauvinism that is so ingrained in politics; being a great example of a mother/wife also being able to have an identity beyond that; and being classy in the face of so much sexist banter being thrown her way because she happens to be good-looking (I guess if she were covered w/warts she'd be taken more seriously). She rallies for self-reliance (a conservative value) but also for respect towards women (no matter what their ideology - a feminist value).

You really don't address the hypocisy of feminists not willing to stand up for women who (supposedly) wouldn't do it for them...I call that being gutless (not a feminist value).

So you don't like that she's pro-life...get over it...it's a valid stance across all cultures/ideologies. And if you're going to call someone anti-feminist simply because they have an "R" next to their name, you're not as progessive or nuanced as you think.

Now you're just being self-serving.

I'm sorry, but you're wrong about Palin. I really don't have anything else to say about that. I think you want those things to be true about Palin, but that doesn't make them true.

I think the larger question at play here is: should feminism be inclusive/mindful/adaptable to the values of women who are conservative and feminist? I answer that question with a no...not without a lot of conversation. There are inherent contradictions between conservative and feminist world views. Sure, feminism is about the inclusion of divergent women’s experiences, but conservatism is arguably not. Conservatism is about the protection of tradition, of power, and of patriarchal privilege.

Feminism and conservatism oppose one another ideologically and philosophically. This is something that you need to work out. You need to do this work. The hallmark of privilege is expecting other people to do your work. To me, some of the most exciting feminist thought comes from the examination of intersections. Perhaps you could bring something interesting to the table by exploring the apparent contradictions at the intersection of conservatism and feminism, but what it sounds like to me is that you want feminism to change to suit you. That seems incredibly privileged.

No, I don't want feminism to suit me...

....I want feminism to rise above the hypocrisy. I give reasons for why I believe femiminists can be conservative. You do not, nor do you refute any of my points. You have just decided what you believe conservatism to be when it's obvious you know nothing about it.

Half of my family is liberal, half conservative. I have the ability to see the validity of both points of view. I have the ability to respectfully disagree with mainstream feminism on issues like abortion because there is really much more common ground than not.

What is truly incredibly priviliged is "feminists" like you that don't see the value in being challenged on what the definition of feminism is. To you, it's all about political ideology, which historically is not what the core of feminism is - it is about equality and opportunity and bringing those ideals to women around the world.

You say Sarah Palin isn't anything I described, without any points to back it up. You say conservatism is about patriarchal privilege and I'd like to know what conservative (especially female) is advocating this and how. You say feminism is about the inclusion of divergent women's experiences and then dismiss the experiences of conservative women, at least without a lot of conversation, which I am willing to have but you are not if it involves the addressing the hypocrisy of women who were appalled at the treatment of Hillary Clinton and Anita Hill but chuckle at the treatment of Palin's daughters because they're not politically on the right side.

Conservative women should never be afraid to call themselves feminists or bullied by the supposed progressives who have decided to dictate which women feminists traits are applied to. We're out advocating for birth control (and enjoy using it, trust me), positive body image, setting examples for young girls, entering and succeeding in traditionally male-dominated industry (my conservative sister works in construction and has overcome sexism and chauvinism beyond what most of us have had to experience on a daily basis), standing up against sexual exploitation and advocating for human rights around the world, where women are still getting stoned to death for being raped, considered property and being denied education. Progressive feminists should be happy to have us, not looking down there noses at us because we respect women even if we disagree with them.

I don't know who you are to dictate which of us are feminists and which of us aren't if you can't even explain why are address the points I made earlier about why, in any circumstance, would it be okay for the "jokes" against Palin and her daughters or the hatef**k article just because it was targetted at conservative women. And how would that be different from laughing at a black Republican being called the "N" word or a gay conservative being called a fag. Work that out.

"We're out advocating for

"We're out advocating for birth control"

This is bullshit. The pro-life movement and the Republican party have done their best to prevent real, comprehensive sex education and to block women's access to birth control.

Virtually all the commentary I have seen in feminist spaces online has soundly criticized the Playboy article. Please, get off your high horse.

Look at the above comments...

Some of the comments which I am responding to, including the original post, seem to be saying that because they're conservative women, they don't deserve to have feminists speaking against the chauvinist remarks/articles that are being discussed.

You're right that the pro-life movement has not done anything (that I can see) to promote birth control. That puts us conservative feminists in a quandry...we want more birth control options but are left out of both sides because we're not 100% this way or that way.

Just because we disagree on abortion doesn't mean we can't find common ground on the birth control, adoption and education areas. You're far too willing to lump all conservative women together to justify a cliched demonization of all people who vote Republican. Your attitude is far more damaging, because it disenfranchises far too many women who, mainly because they're pro-life or advocate for smaller government, have been dismissed on those single issues rather than embraced for where there are similarities where real work can be done and progress can be made.

I was just told that feminism doesn't apply to me because I have respect for Sarah Palin and someone decided I am therefore disqualified from having feminist values - I'm not the one on a high horse. What could be really positive in challenging the status quo - because what's the value in surrounding yourself with only people that agree with you on everything ? - has turned into "you're not one of us" because we only value the ideas of politically liberal women. That is not honest feminism. I can have this conversation and answer you point for point; I asked the women who commented above how being openly okay with the comments against Palin and her daughters and the hatef""k article wasn't a feminist hypocrisy and I have yet to get a clear, well-thought out answer. If you disagree with that hypocrisy, say so, instead of attacking me because I pointed out.

Read my comment above for

Read my comment above for what I think about sexist attacks on conservative women.

It's YOUR job to change the pro-life movement, since you identify with the label. Feminists have been doing their best to promote education and prevention, while pro-life terrorists bomb clinics and harass patients and doctors. When the pro-life movement decides to join us in pregnancy prevention, fine...but I won't hold my breath. Where abortion is banned, women die.

Sarah Palin is a reactionary, ignorant, dishonest fool who openly courted racists and who incited anti-Arab sentiment. Why on earth do you respect her? I don't respect people, even women, just because they attain powerful positions.

ETA: I live in the Deep South, so I know first hand the harms caused by conservative policies. I'm not demonizing them because it makes me feel superior. I'm opposing an ideology that *harms* women and minorities and everyone who's not a rich straight white Christian male.

Okay, so you're fine with hypocrisy...

I thought it was my job, as a conservative feminist, to work with other feminists to gain progress on the issues we can agree on, such as birth control and the many other issues that I cited above which you've dismissed because conservative women, apparently, aren't worthy of your consideration.

Just because I don't agree with you on abortion doesn't mean I would dismiss you or disrespect you. I felt like feminists would all come together to agree that we should defend against sexism and chauvinism even if we don't always agree with the people we're defending.

Sadly, some women do think it's okay to exploit and demoralize women and young girls associated with conservatism (or they're against it, but certainly won't go out of their way to show it). But I do honestly believe that there can be common ground among all of us when we care about our young women and women around the world. It's obvious to those with a wider perspective that pro-life women aren't terrorist-advocates any more than pro-choice women are celebratory baby-killers. Both generalizations are silly, ridiculous, and do nothing to advance feminist work.

Preaching to the choir is easy - getting past differences for common good is much more difficult and challenging. I challenged feminists here to stand against the seriously messed up behavior of Letterman and the hatef$$k writer because it was so obviously hypocritical to defend women with a "D" next to their names but not an "R" and sends a very divisive message to young women who may have some, but not all "feminist" traits and have a difficult time relating to Republicans and/or Democrats. As a feminist, we need to welcome an honest exchange of ideas and that will only happen when the ideas are diverse.

I hope more feminists of all cultural/political/social persuasions will still feel included in the feminist work that they feel passionate about, regardless of whether a few try to generalize/demonize who they are and are less than welcoming. Mine will continue to be about education, global human rights and positive self- interest. My voice is important too....perhaps more so since in some ways, I am rejected by conservatives for some of my feminist views ...just a little surprised that I would be rejected more vehemently by a few feminists for a few of my conservative views (I guess both can be divisive).

I'm not saying that all

I'm not saying that all pro-life people are terrorists, but that the movement, the leadership, has encouraged harassment and even condoned violence and terrorist actions.

I condemned both the Playboy and the Letterman comments in other places as soon as I heard about them, as well on this article (http://bitchmagazine.org/post/if-defending-neo-con-jerks-is-wrong-do-we-...), so stop accusing me of being a hypocrite. I spoke out against the faux-scandal about Palin's clothes, and about the bs some embittered McCain staffers leaked in the days after the election.

I've seen several comments from you (I guess, since you won't even use a pseudonym or Internet handle) on this blog, whining about how feminists are mean because we don't like conservatives. Every time feminists try to work w/conservatives, they get stabbed in the back and their movement gets co-opted. Work on cleaning up the sexism and racism in your own political party before you start criticizing us.

Apparently Palin

When I see allot of negative posting against Palin. My mind creates this nasty, grubby looking thing.. Like an old Photo of someone Prominent today as high up as she can get.. that complained about not being liked because of her color..
Never even considering that perhaps her mean nasty look at others could have been the cause for others to AVOID her..

So to the point I have to agree with allot of the more moderate posters here..
I worked in the trades that being construction for over 11 years a petite, Straight, blonde carpenter and welder.. So I know what it can be like to establish and to reestablish your credentials on each new job assignment.. or in this political case win approval to be prominent at anything.

I also had a young 14 year old daughter battered on a regular basis by and ex boy-freind who wanted her dead ..

So I do not need to label myself to prove I am woman to anyone.

I do know that ALL women should be defended, especially those you may not agree with because that is sisterhood and a few of you may even have a sister like mine.. I still would stick up for her or any other.. Politics of division is so childish yet that is what keeps the idiot being's in power election after election.. Think for yourself and either you are a real member of the sisterhood or your just too dikey to get it.

A Mom

Witness the "feminist" backlask on the streets of NYC

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/06/video_rabid_letterman_protesto.html...

This is what everyone wanted, right? Give right wing nut jobs feminist talking points to rally around so that Palin's own hypocracy targeted in the original joke gets ignored. Conservatives are convenient feminists only when female Nazis are attacked.

I am witnessing the progress

I am witnessing the progress of female chauvinists:

female(o), male(x) --> feminists and supporters(o), female(x), male(x)

This is one of the reasons why this society can never achieve gender equality.

Anti-Feminist Women? What an Oxymoron

I've never understood these women who are anti-feminist. It makes no sense. It's sort of like an African-American person being against those fighting against racism (maybe that's a stretch, but you get my point). That being said, I still don't like the way they're treated, even if I don't agree with their politics. I have to wonder though if a very liberal, feminist, woman were in their shoes, would they be treated even worse? I think they would be because in this country feminist seems to be an even worse word than conservative.