Months after being fired from TheBlaze for daring to suggest that giving women control over their bodies is consistent with the conservative, small-government agenda, known feminist activist (note sarcasm) Tomi Lahren spoke at last week’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“There’s no better place to be a woman than the United States of America,” she declared, employing the typical “you could be starving or sex trafficked or denied education in some other country so just suck it up and settle for what you have, in this country” line of reasoning and, of course, ignoring how very soon poor women across the country could lose birth control and health insurance.
(And I hate to be that person, but this statement is actually inaccurate — the best countries to be a woman are Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, which, by the way, are Democratic-socialist.)
She continued, “It’s hard to be conservative sometimes,” and added that “one of the hardest things to be is a conservative.”
According to Lahren, in the United States of America, being a woman is easy — easier than being a conservative, that’s for sure.
A similar sentiment was shared by Silicon Valley mogul Peter Thiel in January, when he told the New York Times that he faced more pushback for speaking at the Republican National Convention last year than he’s ever faced for being gay.
If his point was that being conservative is somehow more difficult than being part of the LGBT community, then simply put, like Lahren, he’s wrong.
To preface my next point, I want to of course acknowledge that it’s absolutely unfair and ignorant to say that heterosexual, cisgender, affluent white people don’t face obstacles or don’t have problems of their own.
But unlike low-income women of color and other marginalized identity groups, these problems aren’t the results of systemic, institutionalized discrimination. These problems aren’t the result of a system that was historically built on empowering them at the expense of everyone else.
That’s why it’s so ridiculous, not to mention deeply tone-deaf, for Lahren to suggest that being a conservative is somehow more difficult than being a woman.
I’m just going to say it, however bizarrely unpopular this opinion tends to be among one particular demographic (read: men): Being a woman is difficult, period, for no shortage of reasons, but all the more so when you aren’t white, straight, cis, and, of course, wealthy like Lahren is.
How she managed to speak at all with a straight face is a mystery, but she certainly wasn’t speaking to the experiences of low-income women who have no idea how they’re supposed to control their bodies and be healthy and safe, unable to afford birth control and abortion. Transgender women being denied access to public restrooms and falsely portrayed as perverted monsters, and disproportionately targeted for hate crimes, probably didn’t cross her mind, either.
She certainly wasn’t considering the survivors of sexual assault who are routinely slut-shamed and disbelieved, or denied adequate justice. And she wasn’t considering gender discrimination in workplaces as employers, figuring automatically that female employees will just go on to have children, routinely overlook women for promotions or raises, either, that’s for sure.
Sexual harassment and threats of violence, routinely being sidelined from political decision-making and reduced to sex objects by media and popular culture — did none of that occur to her, either? And wasn’t it just last year that religious freedom bills introduced by conservatives sought to make it possible for women to be evicted for being sexually active?
Maybe these days, it can seem like conservatives are facing heightened backlash and pushback for their ideologies. But that’s just one way to interpret it, isn’t it? Feminists and progressives perceive their conflicts with conservatives more as advocacy for causes like reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and racial justice, rather than attacks on conservative individuals.
And at the end of the day, I daresay it’s pretty audacious for conservatives like Lahren to call out society for making it “difficult” to be them, while simultaneously supporting policies that make life at least a little more difficult for everyone but straight, white Christian dudes.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.