I remember in the summer of 2014, in the thick of midterm election hype, Carly Fiorina addressed the supposed “War on Women” in an appearance on CNN.
“A lot of women, me included, are sick of the ‘war on women,’”“‘Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause,’” Fiorina read. “And that’s exactly right. The War on Women is shameless, baseless propaganda. There’s no fact to it. But it’s worked because it’s scared women to death. Enough.”
It was refreshing to see. A Republican woman (and former CEO) calling out the absurdity that is/was the Left’s attempt to scare American females. The statement, the platform it was shared on, and the timing (right after the Hobby Lobby contraception decision) blended together and packed a punch.
Fast forward to summer of 2015, and Carly Fiorina is a presidential candidate and the only female on the GOP stage. Like it or not, she is unique in a sea of similar, just solely based on her gender. She’ll be looked to in order to provide the lone female perspective from the Republican contenders. While it’s easy to slip into autopilot and instantly brand her as “our answer to Hillary”, I don’t think that’s the right tactic. We shouldn’t get swayed into playing the gender politics game with the Left. Their focus on the supposed inequality in America isn’t going away. They really don’t want to achieve goals they have publicly set, because their continued mantra gives them relevancy. For them, more is never enough. They’ll always promote the idea that the Right is the party which wants to rewind back to the 1950s, complete with pearl necklace-adorned wives making dinner in the kitchen.
Recently, Carly has become quite vocal about counteracting the liberal ideals as they relate to women.
In a speech on the “state of women in America” Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina sought to reclaim “feminism,” a word she said had been co-opted by the left.
“The left has controlled this conversation,” she said in a call with the media before the event. “They have defined the term ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’ in a certain way. And I think it’s important that we reclaim that term.”
Not sure about everyone else, but I don’t feel a burning desire to reclaim feminism. I’m glad for my suffragette sisters of decades past who were alive to see the 19th Amendment become reality. Since then, however, the women’s movement/feminism has become far removed from basics, like voting. As you’ve surely noticed, their focus includes the (mythical) gender related wage gap, sexual/gender identity and defeating a patriarchy which is out to rape all of us every chance it can get. It’s American feminism, and it is a cozy, non-oppressed reality.
So, why would we even attempt to make that our own? Reclaiming the term would require us to connect our logical view of gender issues/roles to one of the most illogical and damaging of ideologies. It would no doubt be a losing battle, and after we lost, we’d only look like the side who tried to hijack a popular worldview, instead of standing on our own. We should refuse to play by their rules. Instead of reclamation, we should seek to stand out apart from the crowd, ditch the terms “feminist & feminism”, and stop believing we need those in order to appropriately battle the liberal mindset as it relates to women.
Just last week at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Fiorina shared:
“A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses. We will have arrived when every woman can decide for herself how to best find and use her God-given gifts,” Fiorina will say. “A woman may choose to have five children and home-school them. She may choose to become a CEO … or run for president.”
While I fully appreciate the broad range of purpose she describes here, I believe she is somewhat off base. The modern-day term “feminism” is damaging, far-reaching, and does not mean “a woman who lives the life she chooses”. And the next part, we’ll have “arrived” when women can decide and use their gifts in the best way? Well, we’ve already arrived. There is nothing holding women back from making decisions or determining their talents. Those on the side of liberal feminism would like us to believe that American women are held bank, but it’s simply not true. Equality of opportunity is more than present, but that does not mean equality of outcome will follow.
Carly Fiorina desires to make a name for herself as the only female GOP candidate. However, her focus on reclaiming “feminism” to become a more palatable dish for the Right is not only impossible, but is unnecessary. Instead of trying on the term embraced by liberals, we should abandon hope of using their dictionary. They use fear tactics and phrasing. We should just focus on substance.