Tea Party? Feminists? Pashaw!


A recent Slate article is headlined, Is the Tea Party a Feminist Movement?. I’ve noticed journalists doing this a lot lately, using questions as headlines in such a way that I just can’t help clicking on them. The NYtimes had a headline recently that read: Was Bush Right?GASP! I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to see how such a horrifying question might be justified. (until I realized it was a blogginheads video.) And so it was with this Slate article — Tea-Party? Feminism? Could it be true?

The article sights some interesting statistics — For example,  “Of the eight board members of the Tea Party Patriots who serve as national coordinators for the movement, six are women. Fifteen of the 25 state coordinators are women.” But the author seems to forget that women being a part of something doesn’t necessarily make it feminist.

It’s true, women do seem to be incredibly active in the Tea Party, but women are incredibly active in a lot of things that aren’t femminist (here’s one example), and although their activism has likely been empowered by  the feminist movement and may even be inspiring to other women, the movement itself is not feminist. The Tea Party does not, as far as I can tell, promote women’s equality, or equality for anyone.  It is anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-choice, and thumbs it’s nose at some of the very institutions that have protected women and other oppressed minorities over the years.

I’m glad that the women of the Tea Party feel empowered enough to be a part of it, and I admire their gumption in many cases,  but there’s an old saying I can’t help but think of when I think about (some) Tea Party women –

“An ungrateful person is like a hog under a tree eating acorns but never looking up to see where they come from”.

That’s what my old Grampy George used to say. No, actually, some guy named Timothy Dexter said it and I have no idea in what context, but what I do know is that those “acorns” came from the strong and mighty branches of the great tree of feminism — a tree that was watered by the progressive feminists of the 60’s and 70’s,(the ones who weren’t afraid to call themselves feminists) and the ones even before them. The Tea Party women would do well to remember it. Come to think of it, we all would.


1 Response to “Tea Party? Feminists? Pashaw!”

  1. 1 Lady Elephant
    May 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Just a few thoughts from from the other side.

    First of all, why does the Left tend to group any person for immigration legislation as anti-immigrants. What people, especially those who live in the Southwest, wish to fight against is ILLEGAL immigration. The toll on social services in, for example the State of Arizona, due to illegal immigration causes a lot of problems. How can a school properly prepare and fund for students whose parents are not on the books? The equation is not as simple as “proponents of immigration legislation = racists white conservatives.” Illegal immigration may not harm elite upper middle class intellectuals writing for the New York Times, but border state middle class and underprivileged families and their communities face serious challenges when millions of people live undocumented off the schools, hospitals, and other social services. Mexico wags its finger at us for our seemingly anti immigration laws, but have you seen the strict laws they have against illegals in their country? Immigration is something that has made this country great, but illegal immigration is a real problem that needs to be dealt with and it find it frustrating when rational people try to broach the subject only to be dismissed as anti-immigrant and racist.

    Just one more thought. Keeping with the acorn hunting hog quote, I believe liberal feminists, rather than “tea-party” feminists, “never look up to see where they came from.” A few examples. Although she died 15 or so years before the actual 19th Amendment passed, Susan B. Anthony fought hard for women’s suffrage and was an avid abolitionist. But, she was also socially conservative in that she was against abortion, for traditional marriage and worked with the temperance movements. I think this makes her an uncomfortable figure for many modern feminists. Yet, I think Margaret Sanger (often seen as a hero of the feminist movement thanks to her founding of Planned Parenthood) and her ideas should make feminists far more uncomfortable than old Susan B. Anthony. Margaret Sanger promoted birth control with an unabashed agenda of Malthusian Eugenics, saying in 1922 that “birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” In the 1933 April issue of Birth Control Review, she writes, “Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need. We must prevent the multiplication of this bad stock.” Yet Planned Parenthood continues to hand out Margaret Sanger Awards as if she is a hero for women’s equality. Having read her autobiography and read in her own words her love of Malthusian Eugenics, I would assert that she was a serious racist and didn’t necessarily have oppressed minorities best interests at heart. But, perhaps you will say that Margaret Sanger is not actually held in the high esteem in feminist circles as I believe.

    I check your blog from time to time because Tigress Reader is my friend. I don’t normally comment, because my whole approach to thinking about theses subjects you write about on this blog is so different and I don’t believe a few blog comments would change the way you all feel about many issues or give you a clear understanding of my thoughts on women and life issues in general. However, I decided to challenge your way of thinking on this particular subject. You say conservative women don’t know whose has helped us get to the place we are today, but I would say the same could go for liberal women at times as well.

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