Can’t a girl figure out the best hairstyle for her face shape without stumbling into a political landmine? Even magazines like Glamour and Vogue, ostensibly fashion magazines, are full of a bewildering sprinkling of politics. Ten Summer Hairstyles to Wear to the Beach. Ten Ways Donald Trump Is Hitler. Swimsuits for Every Body Type. My Body My Choice. You get the idea. But it’s not just that, of course. It’s not just that politics have invaded magazines that ought to be mindless entertainment. It’s that liberal politics have invaded them. Only liberal politics.
And, if you’re in any doubt about how the writers of these magazines perceive people who don’t agree with them, look no further than a recent article on Glamour.com called “Conservative Millennial Women Are Here For Female Empowerment—Just Don’t Call Them Feminists” by Samantha Leach.
— Samantha Leach (@_sleach) August 5, 2017
Leach, a 24-year-old liberal who proclaims that she “cried watching Hillary Clinton lose the election,” infiltrated the Network of Enlightened Women’s (NeW) conference, for “college-aged conservative females” in Washington D.C. to, presumably (she never gives a reason in the article), deride and make fun of women whose viewpoint differs from hers.
It’s clear that Leach feels she is writing for an audience that shares her political viewpoint. Her message appears to be: Wow! Can you believe it! Conservative women actually care about women’s rights! And, while the rest of us are sitting here thinking, well duh, Leach’s tone of wide-eyed discovery never lets up.
She paints herself the enlightened “feminist” coming down from on high to mingle with the poor, sad, unenlightened “non-feminists.” She wonders how she will be able to “talk to women about Donald Trump without combusting” but is surprised to find herself in “complex” conversations with these women. She calls them “tough-as-nails” and asserts that “the future of the Republican party is female.” She even gamely sits down to her “first ever Chick-fil-A lunch.” (It wouldn’t be a visit to a foreign culture if you didn’t sample the local cuisine.)
But the patronizing assumptions begin before she even arrives at the conference. What will she wear to this gathering of strange non-Hillary-supporting females, she wonders. How to best fit in in this land of un-woke women? (She opts for a “pastel tweed blazer and kitten heels” because, the implication is clear, this is what these women wear.)
But, and her shock is palpable, upon arriving at the convention, she finds herself among “girls with nose rings, in large hipster glasses, with dreadlocks.” In fact, “Few to none were wearing pearls.” What is this sorcery! It’s as if she set out to meet the natives of some benighted country and wants us to know that, actually, they’re not so different from the rest of us!
Despite her laughable claim that she now understands the conservative women’s viewpoint, Leach is still basically trying to fit them into her own definition of feminism. She is excited every time something comes up that jives with her own philosophy, but confused and dismissive of valid issues that differ from her worldview.
The biggest, and most telling, example of this is Leach’s realization that one reason many conservative women don’t identify as “feminist” is because of “what they perceive to be the left’s ‘victimhood culture.’” Leach is beside herself.
“There wasn’t any conversation about or acknowledgement of the ways it’s hard” for women to “chase their goals,” Leach complains. These women were ignoring the “harsh realities of being a woman!” Leach then spends a long paragraph telling us what these “harsh realities” are: wage gaps, cyberbullying, more wage gaps, Donald Trump. How could these women, who say they care about women’s equality, not devote time and energy to discussing the roadblocks to women’s achievement, Leach seems to be asking.
Why were these women “so hesitant to talk about the ways women have, historically, been dealt a tougher hand”? Leach wonders. “Perhaps the seemingly daily barrage of stats weren’t on their radar?” In other words, they just must not know what Leach (and all the other enlightened liberals) knows.
Or, and Leach never seems to consider this possibility, maybe these women are well aware of their history, but dedicated to overcoming it, not complaining about it. Perhaps they choose to focus on the amazing successes of women and the unparalleled equality they have achieved in our country. Perhaps they question the wage gap statistics, wondering whether they factor in time women spend caring for their families, or turning down promotions so they can be there to pick their kids up from school. Perhaps they view women who choose not to work as just as valuable to our society as those that do. Whatever they actually think, it seems very unlikely that they just, you know, haven’t heard about the struggles women have historically faced.
It would be easy to mistake Leach’s article as even-handed, open-minded, and self-effacing. That’s clearly what she wants us to think. But her tone is condescending, and her conclusions are clueless. How are we ever going to be heard if this is what audiences of popular media outlets believe is a fair and accurate portrayal of our viewpoints? Nice try, Samantha, but you really haven’t got a clue.