feminism

The View of the “Conservative Woman”

Recently a friend said to me that he wanted to know what the conservative woman’s perspective was.  I really didn’t know what to answer.  I’m sure I don’t know.

Not that I’m not a conservative woman; I am.  But he made me think about that a lot.  How do I make decisions?  Upon what do I base my opinions?  How do I reach my conclusions when I talk politics?

In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I don’t filter things through my ovaries.  I read the same things other conservatives do, men and women.  I apply (mostly, anyway) the same logic that men do when arguing a point; at least I think my brain mostly runs the same processes.  I am pretty sure I adhere to the same principles, but I was forced to try to set them down to be sure:

Life is Sacred – have a fundamental respect for life at all stages, as everyone is important

Speech Is Sacred – more speech, not less, is better for everyone – even offensive speech

Stuff Is Sacred – my stuff is my stuff; go earn your own stuff

The Golden Rule – don’t be an ass; give what you want to get back

Own It – if you made the mess – personally, politically, professionally – clean it up

Pay For It – freedom costs something – lives, money, time – accept the cost and pay the bill

Liberty = Chaos – accept that others will make personal choices you don’t like

Is there anything particularly masculine or feminine about those items?  Is there anything there that a conservative man couldn’t agree with?  I really don’t think so.  It’s probably not an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly the top set of values I use when thinking about the issues.

This is why feminism puzzles me.  The Left loves to build these tribal structures as constituencies; women, gays, varying minorities, union workers, the poor, environmentalists… the list goes on.  They’ve crafted that coalition together in a grievance union of sorts.  But I’ve never been able to think that way.

Take the birth control debate of 2012.  Left logic says I should be for free birth control for women because I am one.  Doubly so because I had a child out of wedlock.  Triply so because I spent time in the welfare system.  But if I look at those principles above, I find violations of several.  For instance, free birth control isn’t free – someone has to pay for it.  But Stuff is Sacred – so if the government uses force (via taxes) to take my stuff to give it to others, they violated my principle.  Additionally, women should Own It – they should be responsible for themselves.

The great thing about that conversation was that it made me work out my thinking and clarify it.  I can use that clarity in future discussions, and invite more conversations that challenge me.  But I guess the other thing I can say is that I still don’t know what the conservative woman thinks, but I do know what I believe, and how it shapes my thinking, and that will have to be good enough.