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'Mama Grizzlies' Embody Authentic Feminism

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This op-ed column was written by Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a nationwide network of over 280,000 pro-life Americans dedicated to advancing, mobilizing and representing pro-life women in the political process.

The day after another remarkable primary there is no question that the political apple cart is thoroughly upset and a realignment is taking place. As the final votes are counted, pro-choice Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) nears defeat to the pro-life Joe Miller, another pro-life attorney general candidate emerges from the Florida Republican primary, and the tea parties once again displayed their power at the polls.
But the remarkable political trends at work in 2010 involve more than a swing of the pendulum in a conservative direction. Masked by the debate over deficits, health care reform, immigration and "tea parties" is a development of potentially far-reaching significance: the redefinition or, if you will, the restoration of an authentic feminism that is pro-equality, pro-woman, pro-opportunity and pro-life.
Agree or disagree with this contention, pundits from across the political spectrum are taking a fresh look at a key development in Campaign 2010: the nomination and strong competition for major office of vibrant, pro-life women who both embody and embrace a vision of womanhood that bridges the modern feminist divide between motherhood and selfhood.
Evidence of this development is impossible to miss for those paying attention: far greater numbers of highly credentialed pro-life women are running for every level of public office, most notably Senate seats and governorships. In several high-profile races, the question of authentic feminism is argued by the candidates themselves as in the Boxer-Fiorina Senate race in California. A haven for abortion-centered feminism may see its 17-year incumbent and ardent modern feminist knocked off by a strong, pro-life, successful CEO who fits the roots of feminism far more closely.
The emergence of a restored, authentic feminism could not be timelier: Aug. 26, 2010, is the 90th anniversary of when the final state ratification was forwarded to Washington, D.C., and the 19th amendment to the Constitution enacted Women's Suffrage into law. Nine decades after that historic event, the 2010 midterm elections are emerging as the "year of the pro-life woman."
In academic, political and media circles and in the hearts of many women, an honest assessment is underway on the meaning of authentic women's leadership. The modern feminist movement helped to make enormous strides in advancing the economic rights of women, and in creating opportunities and legal protections in the workplace, athletic arenas, academia, and other areas of endeavor. But it did so at the profound cost of dividing women and diminishing their exceptional creative power as bearers and protectors of human life.
Evidence supports the fact that the "founding feminists" of the 19th century did not expect or desire this division. Susan B. Anthony's newsletter, "The Revolution," refused to carry advertisements for abortifacients, a potential source of significant revenue in its day, and regularly denounced abortion and infanticide. Anthony's Quaker background informed her perspective and kindled her passion. She abhorred the oppression of any human being, opposing abortion and drunkenness as tools of male oppression. But the masthead of her newsletter read: "Men, their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less." She did not believe building rights was a zero sum game, but that all humanity's rights flourish when all are observed. Women's rights grew because of this view, not out of a call to restrict those of unborn children and men.
Today, despite this history, few terms provoke more animated debate than "pro-life feminism." Defined in much of the academic and mainstream media as a core principle of contemporary feminism, the idea of abortion rights has spurred many women, who otherwise embrace the ideals of equality of opportunity, to reject the label of "feminist." But increasingly the number and strength of the pro-life women rising in business and elsewhere -- and now emerging as candidates for offices from mayor, to governor, to member of Congress, to U.S. senator -- are forcing a profound reconsideration.
A renewed, redefined feminism evident in this election cycle's trends witness the flowering of the natural roots of feminism. If those trends continue, 2010 will be the "Year of the Pro-Life Woman."

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chardonnayone

It;s good to see there are conservative feminists, thank you. One's that care about women in general, not just liberal women. I have no faith and would never support NOW after I saw their silence on the press treatment of Palin and her children as well as all conservative women. Same goes for all the animal protection rackets when Michael Vick made a business of torturing dogs. Silence there....Unborn children did not do anything to make themselves. 90% of abortions are based on inconvenience and bad timing- so, cramping your lifestyle is not a good reason for murder...if it were, there would be a lot of spousal removals....

August 26 2010 at 4:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Ric

It is insulting, your organizations usage of Susan's name. She would be one of the very first to admit and fight against forced pregnancy. This is what you support despite your use of her name, and fancy words. As if a mass of non-breathing cells are worth more than a breathing living life. You can steal her name. Her spirit will remain with us that believe in the human right of all living breathing people to self determine the path of their life's journey. Secondly, I really found your picture interesting. I might not be laughing if your front line had been made up of pregnant women instead of young, healthy, unstressed non-pregnant women. Your just another do as I say, not as I do group. In closing a part of the greater force a baby upon us movement, claims to be based upon Biblical tenets. Untrue, the right to life in scripture is the ability to breath on land, and I know of no fetal mass able to breath independently on land. Scriptural support for my assertion Leviticus 27:6; Numbers 3:15; Ezekiel 37: 8-10. I am not including Genesis 1, Adam's creation while fully formed he did not live until the "breath of God" entered him. The breath of God happened while he was on earth sleeping in the void of pre-life. I can handle your untruths and distortion of scripture; for your own sake but can, will the author?

August 26 2010 at 4:14 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
vitabello58

How is fixating on the supposed "starvation" of a fertilized egg that hasnt even attached to the womans uterine lining and ignoring actual childrens starvation feminist? Why do these people never pay attention to adoption laws? You cant give a kid up for adoption without the fathers permission. So essentially a domestic abuser can sabotage a womans BC, get her pregnant and then refuse to allow her to have an abortion and then refuse to sign adoption papers as well. We also know that making abortion illegal does nothing to stop abortion, actually increases it and ends up harming women in back alleys who get one. The authors anti-abortion rights views are the same as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua and Yemen! As well and lastly, how in the world is forcing a woman to deliver a rapists baby feminist?

August 26 2010 at 12:06 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vitabello58's comment
adrienneconley

do you even know what they do in an abortion? its not like they really regulate what goes on in an abortion mill why dont you go on youtube and see what they do to a baby durring abortion while your at it, why dont you stop and look in the trash of an abortion mill

September 08 2010 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
louise

The purpose of your article is to promote a political agenda that is pro-Life. You aren't interested in the plight of women. Your use of the term "authentic" feminism is intended to discredit the rest of us. Personally, I don't care what a woman calls herself. "Feminist" is just a label. I care how a woman lives her life. You can see the feminism in her personal choices. • Does she educate herself enough to support herself and her family? • Does she choose friends and partners who believe her body and her destiny are her private property? • Does she use sexist language that objectifies men and women? • Does she ridicule others based on physical appearance? • Does she advise other women to use their femininity to fulfill their goals in life? • Does she complain about sexism, and then reap the benefits of a sexist society? In politics, a feminist candidate, "authentic" or otherwise, is someone who supports pro-woman, pro-family, pro-elderly, pro-children public policy. Her views on abortion are secondary. There is space in feminism for both sides of the issue. Fact is, feminism was never about abortion. It was always about choice. Giving a woman the power to make her own choices, rather than leaving that to the government or the men in her life. Trusting that a woman is smart enough to know what's best for herself and the people she loves. Many of my friends and family are mothers who love and support their families. And, of the many women I know who aren't mothers, this is their choice -- and few of them would use the word "feminist" to describe themselves, any more than my friends who are mothers would. Basically, I think you haven't a clue what you are talking about. Your article says nothing about the female experience. It is completely "unauthentic". It is only intended to score political points.

August 25 2010 at 11:28 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Rowan

How it is that any woman who wants control of her own destiny can advocate "pro-life" is beyond me. We win the right to vote... We win the fight for equal wages and equal opportunity... We win the right to be treated like intelligent, capable, educated, independent human beings... And then some radically conservative women try to take control of our bodies by telling us how we should reproduce! If a women (or a man) is opposed to abortion, then DON'T PERSONALLY HAVE (or pay for) ONE! I find it ironic that those who are "pro-life" also tend to be against welfare programs and/or universal medical insurance, so I have to wonder, are the "pro-lifers" willing to cover the maternal medical and child-care costs the "pro-choicers" who are [potentially] being forced to carry an un-wanted pregnancy to term? If "pro-lifers" are so certain that they the more compassionate and responsible, then I think they should be required to put their money where their mouth is! Until then, I strongly suggest that they keep their mouths shut.

August 25 2010 at 11:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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