Yesterday in Slate, Hanna Rosin asked, “Is the Tea Party a women’s movement? “
Like any political activist group, she acknowledges that the Tea Party movement is not wholly coherent, but adds, “affiliated women candidates take away a unifying narrative that taps into both traditionalism and feminist rage.”
She makes some interesting observations, namely:
More women than men belong—55 percent, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll….… If the Tea Party has any legitimate national leadership, it is dominated by women. 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. One of the three main sponsors of the Tax Day Tea Party that launched the movement is a group called Smart Girl Politics.
And she’s right, many “ambitious” women have used the Tea Party movement as a platform to make their voice heard. From Sarah Palin to Angela McGowan.
Of course, her article wasn’t based simply on reporting. Her own politics are on prominent display. She claims, for instance, “no movement that uses Michelle Malkin as a poster girl could fairly be described as feminist…”
While her comment is perhaps expected, it demands a response.
I suspect Rosin claims Malkin can’t be a “feminist” because she doesn’t put a woman’s reproductive tract ahead of freedom. I guess a real “feminist” would say less about economic freedom and instead tout the health care reform law as good for women because it mandates certain “protections” such as maternity care, abortion rights, and birth control.
But Malkin is evidence of the kind of educational and workplace achievements women have made in the past few decades. And she, like so many women involved in the Tea Party movement, is outraged by the spending and top-down, Keynesian economic theories that infuse policies like the health care law. Too often women like Rosin ignore what something like the health care law will mean for our economy – and what that means for women.
Seventy-nine percent of women in Massachusetts reported to IWV that “jobs and the economy” were the top or one of the top three issues for them. And, perhaps even more important, these women view less government and fewer taxes (78 percent) as the best way to speed up the country’s economic recovery. That’s going to be kind of hard to do with a $940 billion (oh, plus an extra $115 billion) new health care program in the works.
That’s the kind of feminism that is represented at the Tea Parties. But I guess that’s not the kind of feminism Rosin takes very seriously.