Progressives often claim the mantle of fighting for women’s rights, yet a recent “Daily Show” appearance by Ms. magazine cofounder Gloria Steinem again illustrated how this iconic leader of the left, a spokeswoman for so many establishment feminists, believes in situational feminism.
That is to say, Steinem seems to believe in “women’s empowerment for me, but not for thee,” when it comes to powerful female conservatives and Republicans. This sentiment does little to bridge cultural divides and move the country forward.
While praising Democratic politicians such as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Steinem said Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state helped position her to assume the presidency by making her a strong, female leader. Steinem sidestepped Condoleezza Rice, who eroded barriers of both color and sex as secretary of state during George W. Bush’s administration, and failed to mention any strong Republican women in office.
When host Trevor Noah asked Steinem about Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, she pulled a one-two punch, first insulting Fiorina’s electoral loss in California five years ago — “I’m talking about women who got elected because they represented a popular majority opinion,” Steinem said — while also questioning whether Fiorina earned the position of CEO at Hewlett-Packard. “She got promoted by God knows who?” Steinem snarked.
The question is whether Steinem knew that Fiorina had called Steinem a hero. Clearly the feeling is not mutual, despite the fact that Fiorina shattered glass ceilings through her work helming a high-tech firm during a tumultuous economic period. Though Fiorina’s tenure certainly had its problems, it is bizarre that Steinem, a supposed champion of female empowerment, would question whether Fiorina even achieved the CEO role — which she held for a period spanning six years — based on her merit and achievement. Fiorina spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment specifically on Steinem’s remarks, though she emailed Opportunity Lives highlights from a speech Fiorina gave this summer.
“Feminism began as a rallying cry to empower women — to vote, to get an education, to enter the workplace,” Fiorina said. “But over the years, feminism has devolved into a left-leaning political ideology where women are pitted against men and used as a political weapon to win elections.”
“Being empowered means having a voice,” she continued. “But ideological feminism shuts down conversation — on college campuses and in the media. If you are a man — or a woman — who doesn’t believe the litanies of the left, then you are ‘waging a war on women’ or you are a ‘threat to women’s health’ or you are variously described as “window dressing” — Joni Ernst — or offensive as a candidate — Carly Fiorina.”
“The progressive view of feminism is not about women,” Fiorina said. “It is about ideology. And their policies are not working for women.”
In her “Daily Show” appearance, Steinem dug a deeper hole for herself, insulting the American electorate with an odd, completely unfounded pop psychoanalysis suggesting voters are unable to judge policy ideas over personality. She conjectured that this was why Clinton lost the presidential nomination in 2008.
“I did not think that the country was ready yet for a woman of any description — if she really represented the majority of women — because we’re raised by women as children, whether we’re women or men, and we deeply associate female authority with childhood emotionality, nurturing, and so on,” Steinem said. “And we see men in the outside world, and that seems more rational and appropriate.”
She went on to accuse journalists of “regress[ing] to childhood because the last time they saw a powerful woman, they were, like six,” she intoned.
In spite of our deeply flawed, subconscious national psyche, however, Steinem asserted that something had dramatically changed between 2008 and 2015. “I think we’re on the cusp of change, enough so that it is possible [that Clinton could win],” she said.
This sort of unscientific slander against the American electorate, assuming that somehow it is in arrested development and incapable of independent thought, is belittling and does not encourage women to seek office. Yes, women need greater coaching and encouragement to seek public office, and scaring women off through this sort of unsubstantiated logic doesn’t help.
We have not seen scores and scores of high-caliber female candidates seeking the Oval Office. And perhaps many potential candidates, Republican or otherwise, are scared off by the likes of Steinem and her comrades, who pillory women through personal attacks rather than on matters of substance. It’s time to stop the situational feminism and push for universal female empowerment.
Read the original article here on Opportunity Lives….
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for Edward Conard, Bain Capital founding partner and American Enterprise Institute scholar. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.