Monday, August 12, 2013

An open letter to the Indy Star's newest guest column duo, Chicks on the Right


I take a lot of issue with the entire premise of your new column, and you really hit the nail on why in the very first sentence.

“The word “feminist” has been hijacked by liberals, and we’re taking it back.” No, it hasn’t.

"You see, we ARE feminists.” No, you aren’t. And I refuse to share a name with anyone who clearly doesn’t know the meaning of it.

Even if there are things we agree on, like taking personal responsibility for your actions and working hard (Which… given that you’re making a career of sitting on your butts and criticizing people who work harder than you do. Yeah. Do you even LOOK into a mirror in your daily life?)  basic feminism 101 is to build women up, not attack every woman who isn’t you with gender-targeted attack terms such as “harpy,” "parasite," and “shrill shrieking.” And we certainly don’t shy from basic human anatomy. The word is vagina. Vagina. You have it, there’s no shame in owning it. Feminism 101: Respect women, and respect yourselves.

Not that there’s anything new about conservative columnists trying to hijack terminology and then say it was the liberals, while their hand is still shoved elbow-deep in the proverbial cookie jar. But as you can read yourself in Revelations 21:8, the God you claim to follow doesn’t have much patience for liars.

No, being a feminist means being a grown up. It means doing a basic amount of research. I expect even an opinion piece to be a researched piece. Some research would reveal that the only reason you were ever able to work outside the home, vote, wear those (ahem, stylish…) Mom jeans in photo shoots, not be forced out of the workplace by sexual harrassment, get equal pay to the man next to you who does the exact same work, and be seen by readers at all… is due to the effort of feminists. For every Elizabeth Cady Stanton requesting change with decorum, there’s been an Alice Paul raising hell to demand it. The two needed each other to get the job done. And there are so, so many jobs still to do. (You like how I don’t shy from the word “job?” Kind of freaks you out that a liberal has comfort with that word, hmm?)

I suggest, in your research on what feminism really is, that you peruse Susan Faludi’s “Backlash.” Particularly chapter 10. In case you think your choice to work as a mouthpiece for antifeminists is really such a choice at all, once the rich white men decide you’ve served their purpose. You try and keep this job on that day. This has happened before.

I’m not saying there aren’t conservative feminists. Megyn Kelly doesn’t identify as such, but she’s still kicking your butts at it. Kathy Hawken is a conservative feminist. So is Meghan McCain. The work they do every day is a lot harder than making it to a hair or nail appointment. (Nice highlights, by the way. Did you exercise fiscal responsibility and use a Groupon or something?)

Another thing feminists don’t do is ignore the fact that not all women have or want husbands. I guess I’m double as personally-responsible as you because I do this all on my own, and even when I did qualify for food stamps, I didn’t take them. Some women do fine on their own. Some women have wives. Or did you just have to remind us all that you’re desirable enough to snag a man? Another thing to read up on in your research on what feminism really means. No real feminist would feel the need to bring up their husband every other paragraph. It really just makes you sound like you’re anxiously writing this column to get, or keep, some man’s approval.

And, finally, feminists recognize that the choice to help each other out is not weakness, laziness, or relying on a government “Sugar Daddy,” it is strength. Moreover, it is far more biblical than standing over a homeless person, clutching your purse tightly closed, wrapping tighter in your furs, and sniffing “Actions have consequences.” Matthew 25:35.

I probably lean more libertarian or anarchist than some in that I’d rather see grassroots cooperatives take on things like lifting ourselves out of poverty, providing resources for women who want to become, stay, or stop being pregnant, and making sure every child born is a child wanted and provided for. Equality in parental leave, for example, is hardly something to vilify. But until these preferable infrastructures are in place, I prefer the present safety net, flimsy and flawed as it is, to none at all. (The day success-disincentivizing assistance is fully replaced by initiative-based programs such as the Family Independence Initiative can't come soon enough.) And I don’t consider something I pay my hard earned money into as an “entitlement,” I see this as an investment. There but for the grace of God go I. One day, if you ever have to choose between buying food, putting gas in your car to get to one of your two jobs, or paying the light bill, maybe you’ll understand.

Look, you can have your column, whatever. Even Bill O’Reilly is not incorrect all the time, so maybe you’ll hit on something some day. I just stand here and demand a couple of things. First of all, stop bersmirching the word feminism by trying to associate it with being a schoolyard bully instead of a grownup. And, second, do a better job. As it stands, you come off as middle aged, trophy wife wannabe’s terrified of being old or irrelevant. In truth, there’s nothing to fear in aging, and you’ve already barreled headlong into that whole irrelevance thing, so what’s left to fear?

Here’s the deal. If you’re going to insist on continuing, take an option. Be mean enough to compare to Ann Coulter,  (And, really, when even Coulter’s vocabulary is bigger than yours? Tsk.) Or, be smart enough to compare with Megyn Kelly, because as it stands right now, you’re just an embarrassment even to mediocrity, and Indiana doesn’t really need more of that.

Supplemental Reading:

Jezebel: Conservative 'chicks' finally explain, like, the rules of feminism!

Nerdy Feminists: Chicks on the right: You're so wrong!

Punchnels: An Open Letter to the Chicks on the Right

Salon: Yes, Pro Choice Republicans Are Real!

The Jenna Bee: The Anti-Feminist Feminists