Last Thursday, March 30, the Observer published an article titled, “Kellyanne Conway disappoints feminists,” written by Ila Mostafa. The article dealt with Conway and her role in the Trump administration, as well as her role in the feminist movement. Written here is a response to said article, as I believe Ms. Mostafa was undeservedly harsh on Conway. I realize that I am a white male and therefore not allowed to have an opinion on intersectional feminism (sarcasm), but I am going to share my thoughts anyway.
Ms. Mostafa begins by saying that the “roaring feminist within [her] wants to be excited for the woman who broke a barrier.” However, because that woman is Conway, “[she] find[s] [herself] immediately coming to a halt.” Why, because she is ideologically different? Because she does not adhere to an arbitrary feminist code? Had Conway captained Hillary Clinton to success, would you be saying the same thing? I do not believe so. I think any woman, no matter a professional or stay-at-home mom, can find something to admire in Conway. Not only did she help engineer the greatest political upset in United States’ history, but she did so while balancing a family. Hell, I don’t know any men who could do that.
Mostafa goes on to say that Conway “has found herself far from the feminist boat” and “is not representative of the intersectional feminist movement.” So? Does Conway have to identify as a feminist in order to be applauded? In her interview at CPAC 2017, Conway said, “I was raised to be a very strong and independent woman without anybody ever saying the word feminist or having any political conversation.” She says, too, “There’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices… I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances.”
I don’t know about you, but that certainly sounds like a positive message to women to me. She may not be a “feminist,” but to say that “she doesn’t have a lot of women who see her as a role model” is egregious. Maybe your friends don’t see her as a role model, but there are thousands, if not millions, of young women across the United States who do.
The last section I wish to respond to comes near the end of her article. She says, “However, as a feminist I can say that Conway is not paying attention to herself and how she fits into her career.” What? She goes on to say, “[Conway] doesn’t seem to realize the essentials of feminism, and more importantly, intersectional feminism.” What authority gives you the ability to lecture Conway on her career roles and feminism? Is Conway so helpless that she does not know better? I believe she knows perfectly well where she fits into her career. And I believe she knows just how “essential” this sort of feminism is and chooses to reject it.
So no, Conway “may not stand with intersectional feminism,” but, frankly, I’m not sure she cares; she has a country to help run.