It is one of the bitterest, lobe-burstingest ironies of feminism that its meager success has collaterally enbiggened the opportunities of antifeminist women. Susan Faludi once pointed out that progressive women who succeed professionally often publicly give props to feminism even as they inwardly struggle with patriarchy-generated guilt and self-doubt, but that prominent right wing women do the opposite, publicly espousing antifeminist ideology to the masses while personally putting feminist principles smoothly and efficiently into practice on the DL.
Take Michele Bachmann. She hates gays and fluorescent light, and loves Jesus and compulsory pregnancy, but has no qualms whatsoever about enjoying an influential, self-determined career outside the home as she flits about the political sphere.* It’s almost as though she fancies herself a liberated woman with some personal agency. She has used the feminist springboard to swan-dive into prominence, from which spot she can proceed to gay-bash, suck up to Dude Nation, and demand constitutional amendments prohibiting abortion.
Now one hears all this absurd murmuring about Bachmann (and her creepy godmother Sarah Palin) having turned themselves officially into something called “evangelical feminists.”
You know, like Jews for Jesus, or Baby Seals for Canadian Seal Clubbers.
Apparently there really is a movement of evangelical feminists, and they’re cheesed. They appear to actually grasp the idea that women are human, so they’re voting Bachmann and Palin off their island (Women Who Ignore Biblical Misogyny Island. It’s a about a thousand nautical miles south of Savage Death Island).
“This application of the term ["evangelical feminist" to Bachmann and Palin] twists the meaning of both “evangelical” and “feminism.” It equates “evangelical” with a far right political ideology rather than its historic definition. And it equates “feminism” simply with a woman’s running for public office even though she may deny full equality and autonomy for women in other areas of life. — Letha Dawson Scanzoni, founding mother of the Biblical feminist movement
Meanwhile, actual feminism continues to gasp for breath as it gets simultaneously coopted, beaten with fundie clubs, and redefined as antifeminism by various assholes. For example, the quotation above came from this blog called Religion Dispatches, where blogger Julie Ingersoll also hipped me to the existence of Smart Girl Summit 2011.**
Smart Girl Summit 2011 will feature arch-misogynist Phyllis Schlafly, who will address “girls” (actually women, but calling them girls reassures everyone of the actual status of female adults) on the subject of how feminism threatens to destroy all life on Earth. Smart Girl Politics is an antifeminist 501(c) dedicated to nurturing misogyny in nascent conservatives by “empowering” them to “fight like a girl” for their right to cram patriarchal mores down everybody’s throat.
Uh oh. This essay had a point, but I’ve forgotten what it was, and now I gotta go to work, so I guess I’ll just leave it here flapping in the breeze. Pointless, breeze-flappin’ essays; they’re what separate the spinster aunt hacks from the responsible journalists who are paid by employers to write professional, polished, unbiased pieces on Justin Bieber or health care reform.
* When feminist women buck the hausfrau system, it’s a different story; Bachmann’s evangelical brethren view it as “a satanic attack on the [American family].”
** How fucking patronizing is that name, “Smart Girl Summit”? Can you even imagine a conservative political action group holding a Smart Boy Summit for adult men? To teach them how to fight like a girl? Haw!