Kellyanne Conway, Get Back Under Your Tree
Dear Kellyanne Conway,
As you surely do not recall, last February I sat you (figuratively) down to have a little Come To Jesus Meeting about what feminism is and is not. Since you appeared to be pretty confused. Clearly, it did not take.
Like many other people who work for Donald Trump, a man who has routinely and over many, many years said a variety of disgusting things about women and their appearance, you simply could not believe that comedian Michelle Wolf would be so crass as to make a joke at the White House Correspondent's Dinner about how Sarah Huckabee Sanders burns facts and uses them to create a "perfect smoky eye." Oh, the humanity.
Naturally, you decided to pop on to Fox News and take a stand for FEMINISM, and ask if an attack on one woman is an attack on ALL women.
.@KellyannePolls on insults at WHCD: "When the president of the White House Correspondents' Association stood up and said, 'An attack one journalist is an attack on all journalists,' well, folks, think about this: is an attack on one woman, or two women, an attack on all women?" pic.twitter.com/7yVc3AuKC1— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 1, 2018
"When the president of the White House Correspondents' Association stood up and said, 'An attack on one journalist is an attack on all journalists,' well, folks, think about this: Is an attack on one woman, or two women, an attack on all women?"
Nope! That is not feminism, Kellyanne, that is chivalry. It is also incredibly insulting and infantilizing. When Margaret Talev said "An attack on any journalist is an attack on us all" she was referring to the tendency of this administration to cast journalists as un-American and corrupt. When Michelle Wolf criticized Sarah Huckabee Sanders for lying, she was criticizing Sarah Huckabee Sanders for lying. If a journalist lied, it is fair to criticize that specific journalist for lying, just as it is appropriate to criticize this particular woman for lying. She was not making a point about women in general, but about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in particular.
There is a difference, Kellyanne, in criticizing a specific woman for a specific thing that she does, and criticizing a woman for a specific, woman-related thing. For instance! Most cis-women who have not yet gone through menopause menstruate. So, when your boss, Donald Trump, made a comment about Megyn Kelly having blood coming out of her ... "wherever," that insinuated that her harsh questioning of him was due to her menstruating. A thing that, again, most cis-women do. That was a judgment on women and their ability to question someone fairly. If Wolf's joke had insinuated that the reason Sarah Huckabee lies is because she ... is a woman who wears eye makeup, then maybe this is something we could discuss. (Actually, we couldn't because that is what incels believe.) If she had actually mocked the way she looked, then we could discuss. Alas, this is not the case.
I get that it can be really tempting to want to "beat us at our own game." It can be tempting to get to feel, for once, like you have the moral high ground. The problem is, we're actually not playing a game.
For instance. If someone were to come out and say insulting things about the way you look, I -- an actual feminist -- would say, "Hey! That is messed up, and there are far more important things to be criticizing Kellyanne Conway for. Like how she lies all of the time." In fact, I have said things like that. On multiple occasions. I have also called people out for saying transphobic "Haha! She is secretly A MAN" shit about Ann Coulter, and for making prison rape jokes about other people I hate. Because my values are consistent across the board, and I give no passes. It's not as if I only believe the things I believe when I can use them to attack those I don't like. I certainly don't care for Carly Fiorina, but I was sure as hell appalled by what your boss, Donald Trump, said about her face.
"Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"
Remember when he said that? Hmmm? Do you see the difference? It is not that hard to see if you are not being a disingenuous jerk.
I hope that clears things up for you!
Robyn Pennacchia, Internet Feminist
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse