My mom dropped by to visit this afternoon and the subject of Sarah Palin came up. I mentioned to her that a number of people in the blogosphere have been arguing that Sarah Palin is not a feminist because she is pro-life. My mom looked at me like I was crazy.
That’s not unusual, she’s been looking at me like that for a long as I can remember, but she asked “What’s that got to do with anything?”
I told her that according to some people “pro-life feminist” is an oxymoron and anyone who isn’t pro-choice is anti-feminist. My mom said “Some people are idiots” as she stole my last beer from the fridge.
My mom is old school – she was a feminist back when they were called “women’s libbers” and married women were called “Mrs. Husband’s Name.” I learned to drive in a car with a bumper sticker that said “A Woman’s Place is in the House – and the Senate”
No college diploma, she spent her life in the “pink collar” working class. She’s not much for “feminist theory,” her life is applied feminism. When she was a single mom raising me and my older sister she had to deal with the fact that “women’s jobs” didn’t pay enough to support a family. (Back in the sixties women were supposed to be housewives and men were supposed to be the breadwinners.)
Before she retired my mom was active in NOW, BPW and LWV, and was the local chapter president of the latter two for a while. Now she’s on the board of the local AARP chapter.
She’s also a devout Christian who thinks abortion is morally wrong.
Feminism is about equality for women. That encompasses a lot of issues, including gender discrimination, domestic violence and reproductive rights. Abortion is one issue, but it’s not the only issue.
Conservative women have just as much at stake as liberal women when it comes to job discrimination and sexual harassment. To exclude them as allies on common issues because they disagree on abortion is absurd.
Caveat – not all conservative women support feminism. I’m not talking about finding common ground with Phyllis Schlafly. But when you have a successful “self-made” woman who self-identifies as a feminist you should keep an open mind.
Right now feminism is perceived by most people to be part of liberal ideology. That also means that it is a “Democratic” issue – feminists generally vote for Democratic candidates. How does that work in practice?
The GOP either ignores or opposes feminist issues. There are no votes to be had supporting feminism so why not cater to the reactionaries? But the Democrats take feminists for granted beccause “where else are they gonna go?”
Finding common ground doesn’t mean making compromises. It means setting aside your differences temporarily to work together on an issue you agree on. Unless the issue you are working on is abortion why bring it up?
BTW – Not everyone who opposes abortion is an Operation Rescue nut-job. Demonizing or ridiculing people who hold sincere beliefs that are different from ours is not only a waste of time, it’s counterproductive. We can treat their beliefs with respect without agreeing with them.
Violet Socks seems to be on the same wavelength as me. If I was her I’d be worried.