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By Andrea Peyser
December 16, 2016
Watch out, women of America. The feminocracy is trying to keep us in our places.
When The Donald’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, 49 — the first female in history to run a successful presidential campaign — dared to suggest last week that she’s reluctant to accept a full-time position in the Trump administration in order to better perform her important duties as mother to four children, ages 7 through 12, an anti-Conway campaign was launched by buttinsky feminists.
They saw fit to bash Conway for making her family her No. 1 priority, and expressed a level of outrage that reveals a disheartening kind of reverse sexism.
Perhaps the weirdest Conway condemnation was posted on Refinery29 by Lindsey Stanberry, who attempted to out-mommy the mommy she believes is discouraging gals from working themselves into early graves.
“I woke up at 5 a.m. today,’’ Stanberry writes. “Before 6 a.m. I had breast-fed my 3-month-old baby, changed two very poopy diapers, eaten breakfast, and started a load of laundry. By 9, I had been at my desk for an hour, sent several emails, edited a story, read the morning news, and pumped three ounces of breast milk.’’
Then this patronizing bit: “It’s totally fine if Conway wants to make her children her top priority right now. . . . But it seems as if Conway doesn’t think that any mother should be working in the White House.’’ Rubbish.
No mention as to whether the writer has a husband, partner, domestic employee, friend or relative to help feed, bathe and change her child’s very poopy diapers.
The mom-shaming is out of control. And it’s practiced mainly by women on the left, although Washington Post political columnist (paywall) Dana Milbank (a guy) asserted that Conway is “playing the woman card.’’
Critics seem to be attempting to pigeonhole women as proverbial barefoot, pregnant kitchen-dwellers, or working warriors. Never both.
To me, that’s not only unfair — it’s profoundly sexist.
Feminism, I was led to believe, is about expanding opportunities for women, and that includes the perhaps unsexy choice of staying home with the children. But somewhere on the road to the White House — filled with 24-hour work days and stomach ulcers — a woman’s decision to be a parent first and a careeroholic second is taken as a mortal threat to the sisterhood.
Conway’s comments came during the misleadingly named “Women Rule Summit’’ put on by Politico, Google and the Tory Burch Foundation in Washington, DC. There, the political pollster and campaign strategist described conversations she’s had with male colleagues: “I do politely mention to them the question isn’t would you take the job, the male sitting across from me who’s going to take a big job in the White House. The question is would you want your wife to,” Conway said.
“You really see their entire visage change. It’s like — oh, no, they wouldn’t want their wife to take that job.”
That is, she said, some men may discourage their wives from taking on high-powered careers. She exposed a home-front truth.
But Conway, who is married to a full-time litigator in a prestigious law firm, never said her husband expected her not to work or to labor less. Nor did she predict the Trump White House would be closed to women and mothers. Quite the opposite.
“It’s a great time to be a woman in America,” she said, encouraging women to “go for it’’ and “ask for what we think we deserve.’’
She just suggested that it wasn’t right for her. “My children are 12, 12, 8 and 7, which is bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea for Mom going inside,” she said. “They have to come first, and those are very fraught ages.”
Conway has not shut the door on playing any part in the Trump administration. She said she intends to stay on as an adviser, a role she has already moved into.
If women are to achieve true equality, their choices must be respected — whether it’s to serve in a high-pressure job or put one foot on the mommy track.
It’s her choice.