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war on women

OPINION

UC BERKELEY - While walking on Sproul last week, I was met with one of Cal’s famously spirited protests. The men circled in front of the student store chanting their overwhelming distaste for the brutal “War on Women,” and though I didn’t have time to stop and speak with them about their ideologies, the encounter did remind me of one of the glaring hypocrisies of our day: new-age feminism.

For the sake of conciseness, I’ll summarize feminism’s roots in one brief sentence: Feminism began as a means to an end of women receiving equal status in the eyes of the law and, consequently, equal status in the eyes of society as a whole. It stemmed from the denial of women’s rights to vote and work for equal pay, and, from an unbiased standpoint on humanity, it made perfect sense and was a long time coming. Today’s so-called “feminism,” though, is another beast entirely.

Women today march around kicking and screaming in a stubborn refusal to be “subjected to men’s will” any longer. They demand insurance-covered contraceptives, cite statistics of inequality in wages of the genders and claim that putting on heels and earrings for a night out is giving in to our subjugation by men.

Quite frankly, this is all a load of crap. Instead of reflecting our feminist foremothers’ passion around being seen as humans rather than being defined by gender, these displays of animosity toward males do nothing more than destroy the credibility of the equality argument altogether. Feminism has become a clever disguise for the idea that we women, not men, “run this shit.”

Take, for instance, the outrage over the wage gap. My feminist friends will not relent when it comes to the fact that women’s salaries — depending on their age groups — are between 75 and 85 percent of men’s. This statistic, however, is sadly misleading. First of all, women comprise almost 60 percent of the population in both undergraduate tracks and graduate schools. And though I typically hear the argument that this should lead to higher women’s salaries, my fine-feathered friends neglect that the more time spent in school, the less time spent slaving year after year for the same company (and slowly climbing the payscale ladder). Education is definitely a wise investment, but every extra year of school can delay the job search. And though having more degrees may lead to faster, more lucrative promotions, you’ll initially earn less than colleagues of the same age who began working at the company sooner.

Secondly, we women possess the miraculous gift of giving birth to our world’s future generations. It’s somewhat difficult for a company to continually promote an employee who can take three- to four-month (and typically longer, by choice) lapses from the job at really any time. Women can’t expect to take up to 10 years off from their careers and still come back and earn as much as male counterparts of similar ages.

Those who cry complete unfairness in the wage gap seem to forget that men and women lead completely different lives. The natural deviation between the genders’ lives is bound to lead to discrepancies between salaries, which don’t necessarily point to inequality. Though yes, the world isn’t perfect, and yes, various forms of inequality do exist almost everywhere we look, we need to stop placing every issue into gender-versus-gender terms and see that we can be equal without being exactly the same.

The only true feminist in mainstream media anymore is Nicki Minaj. Yes, I said it. Nicki, in all her wig-clad glory, is the prime example of seeing oneself not as a man or woman but as a person. She herself has said, “I’m trying to entertain, and entertaining is more than exuding sex appeal … I’m trying to just show my true personality, and I think that means more than anything else. I think when personality is at the forefront, it’s not about male or female.” Nicki — who also refers to herself as a king and runs in the heavily male-dominated rap industry — is solely out to prove her own worth, not her worth in comparison to a man’s. She represents everything genuine about traditional feminism — in a nontraditional way, that is. We ladies could learn something from her.

So, the next time you’re looking to rail against the “War on Women” and complain about how oppressed we’ve been for far too long, ask yourself: “Am I a real feminist?” Because if you are, you’ll feel no need to worry and whine about everything you’re missing out on that men might have. You’ll simply pursue whatever it is you want to do, expect nothing to be handed to you freely and avoid constantly comparing your situation to someone else’s. You are powerful, and you are equal. And so am I. And so are men.

College Fix contributor Claire Chiara is a student at UC Berkeley.

This column originally ran May 2013 in UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian and has been reprinted in its entirety with permission.

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Obamacare advertisements released this week feature the phrase “got insurance?” along with photos of young women excitedly clutching birth control pills with attractive men standing nearby.

In various versions of the ad, the women’s thoughts are spelled out something like this: “Let’s Get Physical. OMG he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.”

These particular adverts, partially funded by Colorado taxpayers and aimed at female 20-somethings, are one aspect of a new public relations campaign by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, the latter of which is an organization dedicated to promoting progressive causes.

As a young woman to which this campaign is aimed, the ads are insulting on many levels.GotOC1

First of all, the sexism is overwhelming. Liberals are quick to paint conservatives as “anti-women,” and often claim Republicans are engaged in a so-called “war on women,” yet these degrading and exploitative ads portray women as giddy, sex-starved and desperate whose biggest wish is that some hot guy will be “easy to get.”

This belittles the progress women have made over the years toward equality and independence, but Amy Runyon-Harms, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, defended them, saying: “People get upset when you portray women as independent.”

That is interesting – independence can now be defined based on sexual promiscuity?

In fact, the underlying message is not independence, as government-funded birth control doesn’t convey any form of personal independence, certainly not financially.

The real message is that women are now not only fully accessible to men, but easy access, thanks to Obamacare, and the promise of sex without consequences. What a fantastic sentiment to pass along to our daughters.

Progress Now is also behind those “BroSurance” ads, a campaign targeting college “bros” to enroll in Obamacare by featuring slogans such as “Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier,” and “Not sure how I ended up here perched on top of this keg. I could totally fall, but that’s OK.”

Apparently, Gen-Y can be summarized by keg stands and casual sex. Lovely.

One wonders if we could have built this nation with the morals and values encapsulated in Progress Now’s campaign.

Young people, do you “got insurance?” How about self-worth and self respect?

Fix contributor Annica Benning is a student at Arizona State University.

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When Laura Hollis, a Notre Dame University business and law professor, looks at America’s path forward, she cannot help but see a dead end.

“Many people say to me, ‘If it gets worse than this, I’m not sure we can survive it,’ and I’m inclined to agree with them,” Hollis said in an interview with The College Fix. “It’s never been as bad as it is now.”

Hollis, who in addition to her professorship is a popular conservative columnist and political commentator, is the author of a post-election column titled “Post Mortem” that went viral across America. It was reposted on many websites, spread like wildfire across social media sites, and emailed far and wide, landing in mom-and-pop inboxes across the nation.

In fact, just as recently as Dec. 28, the popular left-leaning political blog Daily Kos posted an “open letter to Laura Hollis” denouncing her piece.

This ongoing whirlwind of a world wide web debate was prompted by Hollis’ Nov. 8 column, which analyzed the state of the union the day after President Barack Obama was re-elected.

It argued, among other things, that: conservatives are outnumbered; they’re losing the culture war; too many Americans are immature, seeking only self-gratification; and the so-called Republican War on Women played a role in the election outcome.

“America is on a horrific bender; has been for some time now,” Hollis wrote. “The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere – too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store. … I see the country I love headed toward its own ‘rock bottom,’ and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there.”

In an interview this week with The College Fix, Hollis said feedback she’s received from that piece has led her to believe millions of Americans feel as if they have no voice. But the answer, she argued, is not to cower in the corner and give up.

“Speak up,” Hollis said. “Because being polite does not mean being silent.”

First and foremost, the culture war must to be addressed, she said. It’s time to stop worrying about stepping on people’s toes or hurting people’s feelings, she said.

Some Republican and conservative commentators argued after the election the solution to regain the White House, Congress and the country is to become more moderate, acquiesce to the social norms promulgated by the Left.

Bad idea, Hollis said.

“We have to decide we need to change the tone and tenor of culture in the country,” Hollis said. “In order to change the culture, you have to be a part of the culture.”

Take, for example, the alleged War on Women. During the presidential campaign, women’s rights discussions served as a façade for something more sinister, she said. What appeared to be a discourse about access to birth control was really about expanding abortion services and physician-assisted suicide, Hollis said.

“I’m pro-better choice—all choices are not equal,” Hollis said. “If my father is suffering from advanced dementia, I don’t have the right to smother him with a pillow.”

Hollis said advances in science have provided new and startling information about life from conception through natural death that every American should learn. This is one example of the kinds of things that could help turn the culture war tide in conservatives’ favor.

Hollis said “the left” has become politically adept at demonizing people, but it is important for all Americans to understand everyone wants to make things better, she said.

While Hollis’ first point in her “Post-Mortem” work declared Americans who champion free enterprise are outnumbered by those who want free stuff, she said that did not mean throw in the towel.

“No matter where you are, that can be ground-zero for changing things,” Hollis said.

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a student at Butler University.

Click here to read Hollis’ entire Post-Mortem piece.

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IMAGE: Dave Hosford

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A women’s history class frequently offered at Chapman University glorifies Margaret Sanger while it avoids her racist beliefs, highlights the feminist revolution while sidesteps the suffrage movement’s family values, and heralds Roe v. Wade and the advent of birth control, all while failing to cite the feminist counter-culture movement.

That’s not only not surprising, it’s expected, as classrooms in colleges across America are used to recruit young women into the feminists ranks, says Carrie Lukas, managing director of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum.

“The purpose here is to advance the feminist movement,” Lukas says. “The college classroom is a recruitment tool.”

Lukas, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism,” says the vast majority of women studies classes do not offer fair and balanced approaches to the subject. It’s not unheard of for professors to skip relevant information, slant lesson plans, or skew lectures.

The course at Chapman University, a small liberal arts college in California, is a prime example of that.

When the course was taught in the spring, one student questioned its professor about Margaret Sanger’s widely reported racist beliefs after the professor finished praising the feminist for her work with birth control.

“Yes,” the professor admitted. “But a lot of people were at that time.”

In effect, the professor rendered Sanger’s background as a geneticist who supported the use of birth control and abortion to reduce minority populations moot.

The suffragettes’ pro-family values were also never broached in the class. Meanwhile, a disproportionate amount of of time was spent on the feminist revolution and the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

The fact that Norma McCorvey, the original Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, has since recanted her claim that she was raped and needed an abortion, and is now a spokeswoman for the prolife movement, also was not raised during the class.

The class at Chapman follows a formula feminists use to garner support, Lukas says.

Take, for example, the left-leaning National Women’s Studies Association, which states in the preamble to its Constitution that it is“committed to being a forum conducive to a dialogue and collective action among women dedicated to feminist education and change.”

The association is not shy about its connection with and dependence on the feminist movement, declaring that “women’s studies owes its existence to the movement for the liberation of women.” And in turn, female professors help feed into that “feminist education and change.”

But this promotion of only one perspective is a disservice to women, Lukas says.

“College is a time when you should be learning to evaluate things on your own,” she says. “This is where we should have the opportunity to learn the benefits and weaknesses to both sides.”

And with all the recent talk about the war on women, perhaps the real war on women is the fact that they are not really learning their own history.

“The study of women and society should be robust and fascinating,” Lukas says. “It’s a shame to push one agenda. Truly a lost opportunity.”

Fix contributor Nicole Swinford is a student at Chapman University.

IMAGE: RRHO/Flickr

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It seems that Democrats perpetuating the supposed “war on women” have engaged in some friendly fire.

A recent Gallup poll found that Americans identifying as pro-choice are at a record-low of 41%, down six percentage points from last July. Those identifying as pro-life now stand at 50%.

What has changed since last July?

As the mainstream media keeps us well aware, the Obama administration and its followers have exposed a war on women, pegging Republicans as the enemy and Democrats the grand arbiters of equality.

Included in the liberal combat plan is a mission to uphold the reproductive rights of American women, guarding them from the federal government’s unwanted moral advances. The underlying message assumes that a pro-choice stance is synonymous with a crusade for women’s rights.

With a rallying cry this deafening, it seems that a pro-choice citizenry would be more palpable than ever. But as the Gallup numbers indicate, fewer Americans are succumbing to the hype.

The poll continues to show that a larger majority of Americans now believe that abortion should be legal under “certain circumstances,” as opposed to all. This could mean one of two things: that either those formerly committed to a wholly pro-choice stance have added constraints to their definition of legality, or some pro-lifers have liberalized their views. With the dramatic decrease in pro-choice numbers, the former seems much more likely.

Has the once promising war on women backfired on the Democratic Party? The primary mistake of the endeavor was its almost celebratory view of abortion, treating the act of abortion as the ultimate act of liberation. One might guess that even those committed to a pro-choice stance felt moral qualms with this kind of rhetoric. The Gallup numbers certainly suggest it.

Indeed, one might wonder how much longer the White House can promote imagined causes in good conscience. As the American economy worsens, partisan attempts at distraction from the visible issues are becoming less and less effective.

The war on women might now be described as a last ditch, and failed, effort at rallying the Democratic base for a presidential victory, shifting an otherwise strong liberal faction into a grayer camp.

But regardless of November’s outcome, the new data highlights the Obama administration’s inability to legitimize a Republican assault on women, or to make pro-choice views mandatory in order for one to qualify as pro-woman.

With his patronizing “Life of Julia” style campaign rhetoric, Obama wants to cast himself as the guardian and protector of a feeble female underclass. Unfortunately for Democrats, Americans just aren’t buying it.

Elaina Plott is a sophomore at Yale University.

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