Yesterday, CPAC featured a bold all-female panel to discuss the issues affecting women today. Blogger Crystal Wright lead the discussion and raised critically important topics like how hard it is to "come out of the closet" and the pervasiveness of "sexism" in America. I know what you’re thinking. This is astounding. Could conservative and progressive women finally be speaking the same language? That would be accurate if anything they discussed had any basis in reality. Unfortunately, Republicans have a reputation to live up to, so it did not.
The discussion about "coming out of the closet" was not about deep-rooted homophobia, but rather about how painful it is for conservatives to always feel like they are "closeted". Because we all know that if there’s one disenfranchised group that all homosexuals can relate to, it’s Republicans. After all, both have historically suffered similar levels of discrimination and abuse. I’m pretty sure some conservatives still don’t have the right to marry or adopt in some states, right? Oh they always had that? Well then they can both relate to having their "lifestyle" being likened to bestiality or shooting heroin right?
Only the gays have endured that? MY BAD.
Not only was there no mention of LGBT issues during the panel (or the entire conference for that matter) but the only right wing pro-gay faction that offered to sponsor the conference was banned from participating. Leaked emails also exposed explicit requests sent to conference attendees to avoid the word "gay" during communications with the chairman of CPAC on an event on Thursday. Bearing all of this CPAC homophobia in mind, the female panelists borrowing the term "coming out" in a discussion about their "struggles" as straight white conservatives is nothing short of offensive.
When the topic of "sexism" came up, I was pleased to see Republicans finally acknowledging the issue without any one mentioning the word "binders" to clarify their point. Nevertheless, reality was again, not au rendez-vous. According to Right Wing Watch, conservative author Kate Obenshain explained:
The entire education system, "pre-school all the way to college to post-graduate work," is one big "liberal indoctrination camp" that convinces women to reject marriage in order to go about life "determined to find evidence of sexism everywhere they turn."
She's right. Every single class I attended in college began with an aggressive PowerPoint presentation instructing me on the evils marriage. Educating women and encouraging them to critically engage with the world is a total mistake. Thanks for the heads up, Republican panel ladies!
Just when I thought this conversation couldn’t get anymore ludicrous, one speaker brought up the inherent sexism of Obamacare. She proclaimed that progressive policies on birth control gives men control over women:
"Obamacare is sexist […] because it takes the guy off the hook [...] A guy who pressures a girl to get pregnant, all he has to do is say is oh that’s not my fault, you should have been using Obama’s free birth control."
She nailed it. Birth control totally empowers men, not women. Thanks to Obama, men are finally free to trick their lady-friends into having more babies because we all know that's what men want. Big score for the bros! Chest pumping further than the eye can see! We all know men were impatiently waiting for the day they could finally surprise-impregnate their girlfriends and then pregnant-shame them for not taking their free whore-pills. Typical-male-behavior.
What is reality’s record on this? Where is the evidence of these behaviours and attitudes? What are these women even talking about?
In 2013, I would expect us to be able to converse about women’s issues in a constructive and non-partisan way. I'm not counting on forums like CPAC to uphold that standard any time soon, but I do hope its participants stop perpetuating unsubstantiated claims about females and the lives they lead. Keeping the discussion rooted in reality rather than fiction will be beneficial for all women, regardless of which side of the aisle they stand from.