NEW YORK – Ever since Sarah Palin created the mama grizzlies
and claimed the feminist banner, political warfare has broken at every level between conservative and liberal women. The core questions – Who is a real feminist? Who is pro-abortion and who is not? – have ignited some sensible and thoughtful debate, but mostly the two sides have been sniping and yapping at each other and seeming more outrageous each time.
Now comes this bit from the Smart Girl Summit conference in Arlington, Va. – an outgrowth of Smart Girl Politics
, which bills itself as "the home on the Internet for conservative women and grassroots activism." It was a two-day affair on Thursday and Friday this week, including big-time Republican luminaries Liz Cheney and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Probably a couple hundred women showed up and paid the $199 per-person ticket to listen to gung-ho conservative femme stuff.
Well, not to be left out of the inner workings of Smart Girls, the uber-liberal feminist group Emily's List – whose ad mocking the mama grizzlies was such a dud – dispatched an intern
to embed herself in enemy lines, to report for Emily's List's Web site and just spook around the conference rooms at the Hyatt hotel where the summit was held.
Emily's List's intern, named Jamie, had been reporting from inside the summit all day Thursday, saying she met a lot of nice women in the crowd, though she was not so happy that speakers referred to women like her – liberal feminists – as old and irrelevant. Still, Jamie was fine until she attended the Susan B. Anthony List panel. The SBAL is the conservative equivalent, if there's such a thing, of Emily's List.
There, Jamie heard that liberal women like herself who support abortion rights are a "freak of nature,"
and that liberal feminists adhere to the "neo-Nazi feminist way" of going to an Ivy League school, starting a career, and putting off having children.
Responding to the "neo-Nazi" epithet, the Emily's List blogger,
Jess McIntosh, wrote: "We're really talking about choice now. Not just the right to choose when we want to start a family, but the right to choose what kind of life we want to lead. And unless the life we're choosing involves genocide, there is no 'Nazi way' of doing it."
Addressing the Smart Girls, McIntosh says: " So, smart girls, I have a question for you. Were there any of you in the audience who cringed a littlel when panelist and congressional condidate Princella Smith said that? Any of you who made the choice to wait a while before having children and never thought that made you a freak of a woman? Any of you who went to an Ivy League school and never thought that meant someone would think you were somehow unfeminine?" Well, the answer has to be obvious.
"Listen up liberals, because I am sick to death of saying it. We conservatives don't believe it's freakish and against the laws of nature to decide not to have children, to attend an Ivy League school, or to have a career....''
"What is against the laws of nature? For a woman to kill her unborn child for no reason other than being pregnant is inconvenient."
She goes on, sharpening her argument:
"Reproductive freedom and choice has nothing to do with abortion. No one is forcing anyone else to get pregnant...Don't want to get pregnant? Don't have sex."
As with the misguided ad parodying Palin's mama grizzlies' video, Emily's List excursion into enemy territory is a bit of an embarrassment. Why sent an intern on the sly to report on a conference that was open to anyone willing to pay for a ticket? Why spy on conservative women? Why so shocked and appalled at the speeches? The whole thing makes Emily's List look a little desperate, a little out of step. Again it fails to understand conservative smart girls.