It seems only a few short years ago that feminism was a major force for liberals that drew millions of women to vote for the Democratic Party. The narrative constantly pushed by the liberal-dominated media was that the Republican Party and conservatives were all old white guys who wanted their women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. However, the events of the last few years have shattered that carefully crafted narrative and exposed liberal feminism as merely another liberal movement having little to do with women's equality.
The early feminists of the 20th century such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton did a great deal to advance the cause of women in the USA. Anthony and Stanton pushed to give women the right to vote, outlaw domestic abuse of women, and gain equal pay for women in the work force. Their philanthropic work resulted in great success. The top female CEOs in America can trace their success back to women such as Anthony and Stanton. However, Anthony and Stanton had one defining point of view that would have put them into direct contrast with modern liberal feminists such as Gloria Steinem. Both were fervently and unapologetically pro-life, which is the one unforgivable sin in modern liberal feminism. Instead, modern liberal feminists pin their heritage back to the racist eugenics advocate and Marxist Margaret Sanger. Sanger is generally credited with creating the organization Planned Parenthood and advocating "abortion rights." After 2001, the feminist movement encountered its first serious speed bump with the advent of political correctness surrounding practitioners of Islam. After the attacks of September 11, we were all told that we needed to respect Islam, its worldview, and its legal systems. However, as Americans started to find out more about Islam, many discovered that they had serious moral problems with Sharia law and its implementation in almost every Islam-dominated country in the world. Americans were generally willing to regard the terrorists as outliers and maniacs, but when they looked into the cultures of allied Islamic Sharia law countries such as Saudi Arabia, they found open pedophilia via child brides, a complete lack of women's rights, and horrific abuse of women codified into law.
The traditional feminist movement was now caught in a trap between political correctness and their liberal political allies. It became unfashionable to critique Islam as an oppressive religion. Furthermore, it was politically unconscionable to actually agree with conservative politicians. Imagine the National Organization of Women (NOW) member put in the position of deciding whether to speak out for women's rights, thus savaging the abuses of Sharia law, or staying silent and remaining with her political liberal allies. If NOW were to oppose Sharia law and abuse of women, then they would be by implication advocates of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in order to liberate oppressed women. both positions were impossible for the liberal feminists. Instead, the liberal feminists, for the most part, chose silence. As more images and videos surfaced of women being beaten, executed, beheaded, stoned, and traded in these "moderate" Islamic countries, the position of the liberal feminists got worse.
The damage to the traditional feminist movement was already underway when, in 2008, the movement encountered pure kryptonite in the form of a politician named Sarah Palin. Palin had everything the liberal feminists had said they were working for all these years. She was a self-made woman with a family, a career, and influence earned through hard work. However, Palin couldn't possibly be a feminist because she was conservative, loved her husband, and, most importantly, was pro-life. The feminist movement had spent decades and untold hours burying the objections of Susan B. Anthony and many other early-20th-century feminists to abortion. What is more, Palin had lived according to her beliefs in deciding not to abort her baby when she found he would be born with Down Syndrome. Palin represented an existential threat to the feminist movement, so they set about trying to destroy her.
The liberal feminists came unglued and became enraged. As a group, they were afflicted with what would later be termed "Palin Derangement Syndrome." The more they found out about Palin, the greater their rage. The woman was attractive, intelligent, successful, happily married, a hard worker, and beholden to no one in the feminist movement. How dare she do all of this without them?
Leftist females went on talk shows and called her a "bimbo," made up things that Palin never said or did to paint her as stupid, and blasted her for the way she dressed and talked. As a libertarian observer, my jaw hit the floor. Anything like this kind of vitriol from conservatives to a liberal female would have been met with the nastiest condemnation and national protests, but it was the feminists themselves who were saying these things about another woman. When the bimbo line failed to neutralize Sarah Palin, but rather strengthened her, the misogynistic and sexual insults came out from the very leftists who had called Republicans chauvinistic just a few years before. On blog after blog, liberal comment-posters referred to Palin with every horrible name for female body parts that can't be repeated in civilized conversation.
When they found out that Palin was, as any good mother is, defensive about her children, the children became fair game to the left. When the pregnancy of Bristol Palin was revealed, liberals saw this as an opening that they might be able to exploit. They blasted Bristol for being promiscuous, though they had no proof that that was the case, and called into question Sarah Palin's parenting skills. Even prominent female commentators were heard "joking" that Bristol was a hooker and laughing about it as if it was the funniest thing in the world. Even the younger children were on the target list. David Letterman passed a joke about a notorious baseball player committing statutory rape on Willow Palin (14 at the time). When an uproar ensued -- not from the feminists, but rather from conservatives -- the liberals passed it off as a misunderstanding, as surely Letterman had meant the older daughter. The fact that the feminists thought that such a "joke" about an 18-year-old girl would be okay was simply amazing. The 2010 elections put yet another nail in the coffin of liberal feminism. With an unprecedented number of women running for legislative positions, the liberal feminists were in an impossible box. The problem was that those women running for office were conservatives, and those attacking them and pushing rumors of imagined affairs were liberals. When conservatives objected to the misogynistic treatment, liberals blamed Sarah Palin for their own misogyny. Once again, the feminists chose to support their liberal allies and toss principle overboard. The anti-Palin misogyny reached a peak when Bristol Palin was invited to participate in ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." When Bristol did well on the show, the liberals again came unglued. All over the internet, liberals savaged Bristol, saying she was fat, stupid, and promiscuous. False and disgusting rumors were floated that her dancing partner impregnated her, and other rumors were floated that her mother was somehow rigging the voting. One liberal even went so far as to shoot his television with a shotgun and threaten to do the same to his wife when Bristol advanced to the finals. Finally, death threats against Bristol were sent to the ABC studios. Once again, the liberal feminist groups were nowhere to be found. Finally, the feminist movement has completely dropped the ball on the new TSA security measures in airports. Only a few years before, if you had suggested that TSA would be able to take what amounts to porn pictures of any woman they care to select out of line at an airport, the feminist movements would have been howling for blood. However, comment cannot be found even on the NOW website about the searches when it should be front-page news for women's rights. Did they call out Obama to stop the scans, which he could do with a phone call, or did they back their liberal political allies and sacrifice their values? They chose their allies and are remaining silent.
The liberal feminist movement is dead, or at least transformed into a leftist abortion rights advocacy group with little interest in any other women's issues here in America or elsewhere. They simply have no credibility anymore when speaking about equal rights or misogyny in politics or corporate America. If you would have told someone twenty years ago that by 2010 the defenders of women's rights would actually be conservative women, they would have said that you were nuts. However, that is indeed the reality. It is now up to conservative women to pick up the sword and fight for equal rights for all women in the world.