Tuesday, September 21, 2010

As I Was Saying, Christine O'Donnell Edition

Michelle Goldberg on conservative female politicians:
Indeed, though they may have been wont to admit it, these conservative women began to experience exactly the power and freedom that feminists have always fought for. In a 1995 New Republic article about the new crop of right-wing women representatives, Vern Smith, Linda Smith’s husband, explained, “One of the reasons we got into politics, we wanted to preserve some of the traditional lifestyle we’d grown up with. It’s funny, with Linda away, we end up sacrificing some of that traditional family life to pass on some of that heritage to our children.”

As it turns out, many smart, ambitious conservative women don’t enjoy the traditional lifestyle much at all. Beverly LaHaye, the founder of Concerned Women for America, where Christine O’Donnell worked during the 1990s, is archetypical in this regard. In The Spirit Controlled Woman—the same book in which she asserts “Submission is God’s design for women”—LaHaye writes that as a young housewife, she felt insecure, unfulfilled, and afraid to speak in public. “After all,” she asked, “who wants to hear what a young woman has to say whose only accomplishments in life were having four successful pregnancies and keeping a clean house?” By becoming an anti-feminist activist, LaHaye was able to escape the kind of dull misery and ennui that Betty Friedan identified in The Feminist Mystique.

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