Note from the Roar Publisher: I think Roar missed the mark in publishing this piece. Kellyanne Conway rejects the label “feminist” – so I don’t see how this writer, or anyone, can call her such. That is, to my mind, both paternalistic and bizarre. Further, it is our position at Roar that if one is not pro-choice, one is not, by definition, a feminist. This author is correct that feminism is for everyone – all women (and men and gender non-conforming folkx.) That does not mean that everyone is a feminist. One’s resume does not make one a feminist. Their beliefs and actions and identification do.
We chose not to take this piece down — though to have run it was a mistake — because we don’t want to hide our mistakes in the basement. We want to expose them for what they are. We blew it. I’m sorry we did. I think our record up to this point speaks for itself. I think our record moving forward will continue to do so. That said, I am sorry we ran this. Stay with us. — Anna March
While I consider myself a liberal and a feminist, I find it hard to reconcile the disdain and hateful rhetoric toward a woman who has accomplished so much. In this writer’s opinion, her successes as a woman and a feminist should be honored by all women and feminists, regardless of political association. We are, after all, women (and men) who want equal rights for all our sisters. While I understand the abhorrence and disagreement with her political beliefs, I celebrate her accomplishments.
Kellyanne Conway is the first woman to run a presidential campaign.
This one declarative sentence should have feminists extolling her ascendancy and joyfully sweeping up shattered ceiling glass, yet instead, her very accomplished career is barely recognized by the party touting inclusion, equality, tolerance, and acceptance.
How do we as feminists validate and celebrate the historical success of Kellyanne Conway when she represents and advises POTUS, a man who stands firmly against everything we believe in and continue to fight for?
Let’s review Kellyanne’s history:
Born in New Jersey in 1967, she was raised by her mother, grandmother, and two aunts after her parents divorced when she was three.
She received her B.A. magna cum laude in political science and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Trinity College.
She received her law degree from GWU Law School in DC and graduated with honors.
She served as a judicial clerk for Judge Richard Levine of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
She is president and CEO of The Polling Company, Inc./Women Trend, a consulting firm she founded in 1995.
She has worked for Congressman Jack Kemp; Senator Fred Thompson, former VP Dan Quayle, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Congressman (now VP) Mike Pence among others.
She was senior advisor to Newt Gingrich in 2012 during his unsuccessful presidential campaign.
Initially, she supported Ted Cruz in the 2016 election and headed the fund raising super PAC, Keep the Promise, 1.
When Cruz suspended his campaign in June 2016, she was hired one month later by Donald Trump as a senior advisor.
In August, Trump announced her as his campaign manager.
After winning the election, Trump named her Counselor to the President.
She commentates on major networks, cable television, radio, and social media platforms.
She is married and has 4 children.
She is an author.
Reading these credentials, it’s inconceivable to think her political expertise, business acumen, perseverance and intelligence is given little or no recognition by feminists solely due to her political beliefs as a conservative and her affiliation with Donald Trump.
Since when is this ok?
At 61, I have marched on Washington, voted in numerous elections and not only waved the feminist flag in front of my children, but taught them to help me carry it. But far left feminists are to the liberal party what the Tea Party is to the conservative and while I disagree with the far left agenda, I fully support their right to pursue and advance what they believe the feminist platform to be.
Disagree with Kellyanne Conway’s views, her tactics and her associations, with that I have no problem but I am disheartened by the far left’s unwillingness to acknowledge her as a feminist.
Liberal feminists resist Donald Trump because he’s self-aggrandizing and close-minded, racist and oppressive; he leads with hate and exclusion and pushes an anti-woman agenda. But the far left display many of the same tendencies, particularly when considering women’s rights.
What? Feminists not caring about women’s rights?
Do you as a liberal feminist respect and accept pro-life women as feminists? What about women advocating for prayer in schools or the right to limit marriage to a man and a woman? Surely feminism includes conservative women. Or does it?
Part of having intelligent and productive debate is understanding there will be disagreement, there will be discourse, there will be uneasiness in listening to others speak passionately about a subject we may vehemently disagree on. But to demean women solely on their personal convictions is every bit as ignorant and childish as we accuse our president of being.
I vividly recall the calamitous uproar when Hillary Clinton was insulted or berated during the campaign and joined my feminist sisters in denouncing such tactics. But I also saw staunch resistance and often complete refusal by far left liberals to entertain respectful dialogue from women expressing their distrust or disagreement with Clinton’s policies. They were often verbally assaulted; their comments dismissed as racist, ignorant, and anti-woman, all before being banned from the page or group. This is the very behavior we as feminists deplore and march by the millions to protest.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as: the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. By this very definition, most women are presumed feminist but there are several categories in which a feminist can identify: Liberal, Radical, Socialist, Cultural and Eco and expanding on these categories, there are many sub-groups of feminists, making the boundaries and ideologies of feminism difficult to define.
Had Kellyanne Conway ushered Hillary Clinton’s campaign to victorious fruition, she would be recognized as a women’s rights icon, held in the highest regard by the feminist community not only for smashing the glass ceiling, but accomplishing it all as wife and mother; a shining example of what a woman being raised by women looks like; the perfect package: a feminist symbol of Hear Me Roar.
Where is it written that we as women, not only ignore and dismiss another woman’s triumphs due to oppositional viewpoints but punish her for them? Kellyanne Conway loses all rights to the feminist seal of approval because she was Donald Trump’s campaign manager? Is there a feminist by-law stating only women with whom we agree shall be advocates of our gender?
I admire Kellyanne Conway. She’s a key player on the world stage and has the ear of POTUS. She was an integral part of Donald Trump securing his seat in the Oval Office. I don’t agree with her political opinions or philosophies but will not hypocritically dismiss her remarkable accomplishments because of them. If we as women fuel division and animosity among each other, are any of us feminists?
True feminism encompasses all women, not because of their political or religious affiliations, but because at the heart of feminism is empowerment, enrichment and equality for all women.
Mary McLaurine’s work can be found in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Manifest-Station, Chicken Soup for the Soul as well as many other sites at: https:theheartofsassylassie.wordpress.com/featured-writing.