No. I won’t join you in bullying Kellyanne Conway. Yes, I am a queer, Jewish, radical feminist.
I don’t think that tearing her down based on physicality is productive or aligned with what I stand for. It is also not fair regardless if her and the people that she works with do it. This is what Trump did to everybody around him the entire time he was running for president. And he continues to do it.
Now that so many of you are awakened to a little thing called feminism, post November 8th, 2016, start thinking a little more critically about how you yourself, have misogyny in your own blood. We have to aim our fight at the right target. Feminism is learnt, and earned. You don’t just get to wear it as a badge the day after you are shocked awake by somebody like Trump becoming POTUS. You don’t get to stand for it and then share articles on social media about how stupid and ugly Kellyanne Conway is. I am sort of surprised at how many people I see doing this.
No, you don’t need to pass a test to be a feminist. No, I am not perfect at it and the most enlightened human being on the planet. And excuse me if you are absorbing it that way, but I am pretty fucking pissed that many of my friends, my family, have reached out in this sudden realization that oppression exists. It seems like it has taken the Trump administration getting into the White House for anybody to believe me that homophobia and misogyny are even real.
Where you been?
Feminism is an ever evolving pride and rage inside of me, and I know what that feels like. Feminism to me means having my fists up, while simultaneously keeping my heart and mind opened. I take it very seriously. Nobody can ever take it away from me. And you too, should define what it means to you and let it be personal. It doesn’t have to look like mine or anybody else’s. But better than I know what feminism means to me, I know what misogyny feels like. I know how homophobia feels. I know what anti-Semitism means because my family has lived through it. I am a witness to how racism affects some of my greatest friends, their families, and past generations. I see how it affects dead strangers shot by police as I scroll through my social media feed.
How does this relate to bullying Kellyanne Conway?
Between the comments of how Conway looks “comfortable down on her knees,” to the man who made the selfie video with her that went viral: I understand we all need a moment of humor through the dread and devastation of this administration. I definitely chuckled when I first saw that video and her having to take a few seconds to realize she was getting pranked. We need humor, and of course we need to be calling all of these people out on their lies, their fascist values, and so forth. This video is not bad, and if anything has served as a therapy we all desperately need. All of these people making decisions and policies about our country deserve to hear all of it. But sometimes I notice this humor tip into something that I will not let anybody say without hearing a mouthful from me. Maybe I am the first, maybe I am the last to say it: Kellyanne Conway should not be objectified. She should not be slut shamed. She shouldn’t be criticized based on her looks, how much she weighs, or what she wears. We can do SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT. It is so incredibly lazy to succumb to using that against her.
I think we can do it without being cruel. I think we can do it without boiling her down into a sex object. You are never going to hear me call her out for wearing a dress that is too short or an ugly outfit. And if you consider yourself a feminist, or if you are trying to learn about what it means to be one, then etch this into your mind.
If we really want to beat any of them, it won’t involve making fun of them for the next 4 years. It won’t involve turning them all into a big joke. What is happening is serious, and there are policies in place that are already causing devastating effects to peoples lives in the United States. We can’t sit around and laugh and amuse ourselves all day. We can continue to promote hateful ideas that are rooted in misogyny, body shaming, slut shaming and the like, but will all of that ever change anything that is going on in this country?
The ideology that is in the WH right now are your neighbors, your friends from college, the dude who bags your groceries…None of this is a rare phenomenon. These values are unfortunately embedded in a lot of American thinking. We don’t really have time to laugh and make fun of it. People are already getting hurt.
Choosing to not degrade somebody verse defending them is entirely different.
If you find yourself with any amount of social privilege, I highly recommend that you use your resources to share ideas, strategy, protest and start organizing if you really don’t want 8 years of this administration.
It is not unlikely that we will be dealing with them for close to a decade. As much as I want to believe that Trump will get impeached, we have to think of the long game too. Or that even if somebody progressive gets the WH next time, that this rise of fascism won’t happen again. It isn’t going to just disappear. We all need to face that fact. We should own it, and in doing so realize how crucial it is educate ourselves, stay curious, and always run after the very tipping point of the evolution of humanity and its conscience. We can be the leaders in this if we really want. We can’t tucker out by reading articles about how terrible everything is everyday. We have to stay informed but be careful as to what we ingest and how we use that information.
Is your feminism about dismantling misogyny and recognizing it before it gets in you? Or is it about trying to bring other women down by shouting at her what men have always shouted at you? (let that one sink in)
We all can’t wait to laugh at Kellyanne Conway but clearly she did something that worked. Taking her down is going to involve outsmarting her and overpowering what the entire administration stands for. They successfully fooled much of our nation into thinking that anger and fear of the other would get them something in return, ie: a job, more money, safety. What a concept right? They fanned the flames inside of America’s belly and won.
On a more technical note, we should be studying how this administration used social media outreach to win the WH. Conway and her team were masterminds behind this. If you check out Politecho it will show you the difference in the distribution of information depending on if you consider yourself on the left or the right. I think this is incredibly important to realize that this divide of ideology is the real threat to democracy. When we only hear one way of thinking, refuse to look at the other and immediately write it off as impossible, we get the echo chamber (see first paragraph in link.)
As much as we would all like to believe that the only way Trump is now our President is that Russia hacked our election, it is not entirely true. (Though we should all be talking about Russia a lot more…I have to write a separate article about that.) We all know someone, whether it be a friend, family member, that aligns with his values and is happy to see someone like him in the Oval Office. Misogyny, Racism, Homphobia, Xenophobia, Transphobia, Violence, Fascism, White Nationalism…this is an American problem, as much as it is a global problem. It is rising allover the world. It is in our hands to exercise our voices and politically strategize. To figure out a way to articulate what makes us angry, and then actually work on problem solving. We can’t wait for a “Bernie 2020,” or someone to save us.
We have to do it.
When you are confronted with your “kinda racist” father, your male friends that make subtle or obvious shaming remarks about women, your older sibling who just “doesn’t understand,” what the transgender bathroom issue is about, or even your super liberal friend that in their anger and fear resorts to these same motions of the mind to just refuse to understand anything that doesn’t align with who they are — these are the coals that keep hatreds flames crackling. These flames grow when we let our privilege turn our gaze away. When your people say “I don’t mean to be ___________,” they are only saying that they are meaning to look away because it is too scary and uncomfortable to look and see what is really there. I don’t want to be like that. I want to look into the fire because there is information and deep wisdom in the way the flames move.
Rage is an essential part of this equation. We should take time to explore how to use it. We should be aware of how when we criticize, that we too are not throwing twigs into a fire that will only continue to burn us.
I don’t advocate unity with any of these people. I don’t advocate going silently into the night. I hope my point comes across as quite the opposite: Let’s make more noise than anybody else. Let’s build something that is intelligent and focused and knows where to hit.
Kellyanne Conway is not a stupid woman. She is a dangerous woman. She is an expert at gas lighting and deflecting the truth. She is manipulating our nation and clearly she is good at it. Stop believing she is stupid. Stop promoting that she is. If we continue to believe this people like her will always be in a position to strategize against us.
This will never be a fight that ends with a new president or a politician to save us. We have got to rid the illusion in our minds that this will happen, and instead try and be what we imagine, what we want to see happen. It will be a fight that persists always — and out of that persistence something beautiful will rise.