Of all the cultural narratives currently at play as a result of the Ford-Kavanaugh fiasco, the idea that Republican men — specifically, white Republican men — are oppressors of women is the most glaring. The assumption is clear: Only men who vote for Democrats and support feminist goals are good for women.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But many Americans, particularly those who are easily swayed or who have an ax of their own to grind, will grab hold of this narrative and run with it.
This is especially true for those who have had bad experiences with men. For these folks, feminism becomes a life preserver, a way of making sense of a world they believe has wronged them. Rather than blame the perpetrator, they blame an entire demographic for their pain. They need their victimhood status to be validated and thus find a home with a group that fertilizes their wounds and renders them powerless.
[Also read: ABC analyst: Time for white men to 'give up our seats at the table']
That’s the great irony of feminism. It purports to empower those who join the cause but actually keeps them down by insisting the cards are hopelessly stacked against women — by insisting that white conservative men with all their toxic masculinity are a major threat to women.
Sadly, we rarely hear in the media from women like myself who grew up among white Republican men and came away stronger and more empowered as a result. The closest we’ve come is when Kellyanne Conway spoke at CPAC 2017.
“I was raised to be a very strong and independent woman without anybody ever saying the word feminist or having any political conversation,” she told then-political commentator Mercedes Schlapp. “We just were — we were taught to… … be free-thinking, independent, to look at your goals.”
Like Conway, in my entire life I never once felt unsupported by the conservative men in my midst. I never once felt subordinate due to my sex. (I’ve certainly run into ill-behaved men, but I’ve never attributed their sex or their politics to be the matter.) Far from being a threat to my autonomy or my rights, white Republican men have been my greatest supporters.
But prominent feminists in the mainstream media (such as Susan Chira at The New York Times and Linda Hirshman at Newsweek) insist that men like my father and husband are nothing short of evil, a narrative that exists as a result of women making their personal experiences political. Feminism promises a haven for those who feel they’ve been wronged, as well as the opportunity to plot their revenge.
The attack on Judge Brett Kavanaugh has now evidenced this in spades.
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With their hatred of conservative men firmly in place, Senate Democrats were able to sit unfazed through Brett Kavanaugh’s wrenching testimony about how unfounded charges against him have ruined his life, while those of us who harbor no ill will toward men cried or choked up on his behalf.
This is indeed a watershed moment, but not for the reasons Senate Democrats claim. It's a watershed moment because the war on conservative white men has officially hit its peak.
To them, there are no good men and bad men in the world, and there are certainly no bad women. There are only good women — and bad conservative men.
Suzanne Venker (@SuzanneVenker) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017. Suzanne’s website is www.suzannevenker.com.