March 26, 2017

Feminists Quiet on Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway by Gage Skidmore
By Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I have observed surprisingly little outrage from liberal feminists directed at those making fun of Kellyanne Conway's physical appearance. Maybe I've just missed it. Still, the number of memes mocking Conway's appearance I have seen circulating on Facebook and Twitter leads me to believe that I would have come across at least a few liberal feminists condemning them by now.  I'm not sure I've seen a single one.

Could it be that liberal feminists do not consider Conway worth defending because she does not share their political views? Aside from her political views, it seems like she'd be appealing to feminists in many ways. She ran a successful presidential campaign and occupies a position of power we do not typically associate with women in Republican presidential administrations. Perhaps their brand of feminism intentionally excludes women who disagree with them on matters they consider important. If so, that seems unfortunate.

I do not agree with most of Conway's political views either, and I find her penchant for lying to members of the news media to be more than a little unsettling. And yet, you'll not find me promoting the memes denigrating her appearance. I do not find her appearance at all relevant to the things I do not like about her or that I believe are worth criticizing about her. It seems to me that her ideas and her behavior should be the focus of the criticism rather than her appearance. And yes, the same is true of her boss. I get that he's an odd looking fellow and all, but that is the least of my problems with him.

So let's circle back to the liberal feminists for a moment. I cannot read their minds, I am willing to concede that there may have been many spirited defenses of Conway that I have missed, and I readily admit that there is much about 4th wave feminism and some of the issues they prioritize which I do not understand. As a result, I find myself reluctant to label this as hypocrisy on their part. What I will say is that it seems a bit difficult to reconcile with much of what I hear from feminists on subjects like empowerment and autonomy.