What Is Conservative Feminism?

Feminism purports to speak for all women. Well, as it’s practiced today, it does not speak for me, nor does it speak for millions of strong conservative women. This blog is an attempt to bring some definition to the unique philosophy of strong conservative women. There are a number of topics I want to discuss here, and have others talk about. We have a great deal of unexplored ground to cover.

Let’s start with the following topics:

Feminist roots. Conservative feminism looks to the late Victorian feminists like Susan B. Anthony for our guidance, rather than to post-1960s feminists like Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem. This blog will investigate some of that lost history and forgotten philosophy.

Family-centric rather than individual-centric. Conservative feminists acknowledge and embrace the importance of being a wife and mother, and expect men to likewise embrace their values of husband and father.

Dedicated to women having free choices in their futures. Whether a woman wants to be a housewife or POTUS, she should feel free to pursue that dream.

Acknowledgement that women cannot “do it all”. Women are not superbeings. When they try to have everything all at once, especially without a plan, some aspect or aspects of their lives will necessarily suffer. When we fail at “doing it all,” we should never feel like failures.

Self-limitation of our sexuality. Women have been told our sexuality is just like a man’s. It isn’t. Our sex is wrapped much more tightly to a sense of security, and we are uniquely vulnerable to being controlled through sex even while we think we are in charge. This is perhaps the most critical and most delicate issue conservative feminism needs to address, and I will be doing a lot of addressing and studying of it.

Rejection of the concept of abortion as a simple choice. It is not. Having an abortion may have serious mental health consequences, partly because it is a rejection and betrayal of our self-value as protector of children. Not having one may be equally destructive, as it takes away a portion of our freedom to be autonomous. The best choice lies in learning to appropriately take charge of our sexuality in a post-birth control society.

Recognition that men are different — and vive le difference!! They communicate differently, they bond differently, and they think differently. Conservative feminists love men for their masculinity and do not seek to transform them into girly-men. Embracing our role as the ultimate protectors of our children. We bear them and rear them, children of both sexes. It is part of our subconscious self-image that we are the mothers and nurturers.

Sisterhood. Women around the world need help. Western conservative women are uniquely qualified to provide them solidarity.

Recognizing and taking control of our power — as consumers, as sexual beings, as the family’s core. Men, businesses, and governments should never be able to hijack our personal power.

All these topics are valid issues we as women, and as conservatives, should be discussing frankly and openly. We are not, except for a few exceptional women. Let’s sit down, have some coffee, and chat among ourselves. Let’s also keep it positive and look for solutions, not gripe about problems.

Comments 2

  1. Engage Respectfully wrote:

    Ah, so THAT’S conservative feminism. I see the circles idea popping up with the family and individuals, so that’s cool that we’re thinking along those lines.

    Feminist Roots – OK, but the actual historical record isn’t even sure Anthony was pro-life, her moderate politics had just as much to do with political pragmatism as ideology, and I’m not entirely comfortable with the words “feminism” and “Victorian” being so close together.

    Family, rather than individual – Yep, that’s what I was saying. But also like I was saying, this means that non-husbands/wives and non-mothers/fathers are not meeting (communal? social?) expectations and thus we have a right to stigmatize or devalue them.

    Dedicated to women having free choices: Totally agree, but it seems like it’s “free choices, as long as you choose to be a wife & mother and choose to take away the choice of abortion for other women.”

    Women can’t do it all: Yep. Totally agree.

    Self-limitation of our sexuality: I totally disagree here. Yes, men and women have different sexualities, but this is because of socialization, not because of biology. Again, “free to choose as long as you choose to limit your sexuality,” thus women who don’t self-limit their sexuality are still allowed to be denigrated. I too have more to say on this than I’m going to say here.

    Abortion as simple choice: Yep, abortion is not a simple choice. But this is a common fallacy of pro-life discourse. No one on the pro-choice side is saying it’s easy and fun and cool and everyone’s doing it. EVERYONE knows it’s a difficult choice with negative consequences potentially on both sides.

    Men are different: I’m going to have to disagree again. Like sexuality, different, but because of how we are raised, what we are taught, what we have to do to fit in and grow up, not because of some biological impetus. THIS is a big difference between liberal and conservative feminisms. Conservative feminisms are steeped in biological functionalism: men are masculine, women are feminine, everyone stay in their categories, it’s where God put you! But from my point of view, the categories are socially constructed, and the work parents do towards guiding tomboys into women or boys into men, THAT’S what creates the category. Again, I’m not denying difference, I’m simply saying the difference isn’t baked in the cake, and thus it can and will change as society changes.

    Sisterhood: I agree that sisterhood is good, but the whole “Western conservative women are uniquely qualified part” begs a bit more explanation.

    Take the power back: Totes!

    So in sum, it seems like there is commonality, and the difference is usually related to a “men and women: separate, different, but equal” subtheme in these points, one that liberal feminism would reject because it doesn’t see the social difference between the sexes as ahistorical or based on biology; there’s just too much in the anthropological, medical, and sociological record saying otherwise.

    Posted 30 Jul 2013 at 3:00 pm
  2. Nickolaus A. Pacione wrote:

    I think you have a unique perspective on this — where you are pro-life and this kind of feminism is one that God had used women greatly in the Old Testament; I’ve published a lot of strong female writers over the years but they are never the militant post 1960s feminism. So you might see Melissa of Rightly Conservative had called militant feminists who are leftist; she laughed that I used Rush Limbaughs term. I had been called Misgynistic because I had spoken up for men are men and women are women, this kind of what you are speaking of and addressing this. Well it illustrates what I said for many years. The DemoKKKrats had always had a war on women — even though they had tried to put a woman in office but I think Sarah Palin if given the right vehicle would been a damn good president.

    Posted 25 Apr 2014 at 10:46 pm

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