Conservative feminism spurs debate about party morals and obligations
The movement for the political, social and economic equality of the sexes, also known as feminism, has come a long way since Plato’s The Republic, which claims that women should work alongside men in an ideal society.
In 2018, feminism continues to develop as an ever-changing movement that has seen its fair share of controversies and raised doubts, the most prominent doubt being the issue of conservative feminism.
It is questionable whether conservatives can be feminist. The idea of conservatives labeling themselves as “feminists” ultimately defeats the basic foundation of the feminist movement.
Abortion is an evergreen debate for which a resolution may be stalled because conservative women who claim they are feminists refuse to advocate for women’s legal control over their reproductive rights.
Ivanka Trump is a prime example of how conservative feminism is creating a stalemate for the women’s rights movement. There is no doubt that Trump has an influential role in U.S. politics and might be able to create the change for which American women have been striving. Yet, Trump stifles the movement, as she cannot advocate for feminists and claim to stand with all women due to her own personal views.
A woman is entitled to have her own personal views; perhaps she does not ever want to consider receiving an abortion or intrauterine device. However, a woman must understand that being pro-life means that she is suppressing the freedom of other women. Legalizing abortion is much more than allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy; it is allowing a woman to finally have the right to control her own body.
Conservative feminism not only puts a hold on the fight for legal abortion but also creates division in a movement that is supposed to unify all women. Intersectional feminism has always been a struggle when considering factors like race and religion, but conservatism is also a major culprit in causing a rift in the feminist community.
Conservative feminists tend to look down on women who reveal that they are part of the LGBTQ community. This hostility demonstrates that these conservative feminists do not advocate for the rights of gay women who are struggling for acceptance in society.
Conservative feminists also may refuse to acknowledge that some women may not want to experience motherhood and would rather pursue a career. Conservative beliefs tend to make women feel alienated, whether they are gay, “workaholics” or pro-choice.
The women who support these liberal causes will find themselves vilified by this other type of feminist.
These issues beg the question of whether a woman can be both conservative and feminist. The answer is yes.
However, there cannot be a conservative feminism movement. The differences between the two is that conservative ideology stagnates feminist causes to obtain overdue freedom. Conservatives can be heterosexual or choose not to get an abortion, but that does not mean they can force their lifestyle on other women — that is not feminist.
The feminist community has no place for those who refuse to advocate, accept and fight for things to which the movement is dedicated. It is important to note that the main focus of feminism is to create a liberating and free world for all women, including those from different ethnic backgrounds, religions, sexualities, social statuses and political ideologies.
All women should have access to things like reproductive rights and prospective employment, whether or not they want to use those opportunities.
Ronnee Schreiber, professor and department chair of political science at San Diego State University, said in a USA Today article. “Feminism isn't just about a personal identification. It's a political and historical movement." Feminism, therefore, cannot deviate from the movement.
It is important to note that, thus far, women have achieved a great deal for their communities. Most recently, the Women’s March in early 2017 and the #MeToo movement have allowed women to step forward and bravely speak out about enduring sexual harassment.
It is now the responsibility of all women, regardless of their differences, to unite. The rift between right-wing and mainstream feminists will set the movement back and cause women to focus on internal issues rather than the main goals. Women who support other women create an uncontainable force of greatness.