Amy Siskind, President of the New Agenda, has written a great piece for the Huffington Post (yes, you read that right) discussing the exclusivity of the word “feminism” by some. She writes:
Last summer, I wrote an article here at HuffPost,Why the ‘Pro-Women’ Movement Should and Will Replace Feminism. Sarah Palin had just declared herself a ‘conservative feminist,’ while endorsing a slew of diverse women candidates and working to get them elected. I found her efforts to get more women into leadership, admirable. The women who apparently own the term “feminist” vehemently disagreed with me. Rather than welcome Palin with a sisterly embrace, they pursued her with machetes of words for daring to utter their sacred “F word.”
The vitriolic reaction by the coterie of women who have anointed themselves (some might say, hijacked) the voice of feminism defies both logic and common sense. Put another way, it’s simply bad business. A stated goal of feminism is gender equality. Yet, how can feminism get us there while excluding half the gender? Gender equality is impossible to achieve within a framework in which some women are viewed as less worthy, less equal. Until and unless feminism is willing to meaningfully address this incongruity, feminism may be headed for extinction. Feminism will be replaced by the Pro-Women Movement, which is following a simple business ethos: provide the customer with what she wants. And as with most start-up brands, the Pro-Women was spurred by an unfilled need.
Feminism may be defined differently by different people, but the hijacking of the term by the essentially single issue feminist groups like EMILY’s List and NOW makes feminism a worthless currency. You may recall the laughable EWOK looking Mama Grizzly video made by the pro-choice group, EMILY’s List, following the release of Governor Palin’s effective Mama Grizzly SarahPAC ad. “Sarah Palin doesn’t speak for me”, the ad said. A few months ago, NOW admitted that they were simply not going to defend women like Governor Palin or Secretary Clinton because that would prevent them from their true goal protecting so called reproductive rights. More recently, DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, called the GOP “anti-woman” for wanting to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
These organizations and individuals have chosen to disrespect women or not defend them when it’s their policy that they truly oppose. Contrast that with Governor Palin’s approach to women whom she disagrees with politically. Remember the respect and admiration Governor Palin showed Geraldine Ferraro when both of them commentated on the 2010 elections and when Governor Palin commented following Ferraro’s death. These two women disagreed on policy, but both supported each other as women which is what feminism should be.
Read all of Ms. Siskind’s article here.