Trump’s Senior Advisor and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign, and the looking-for-more-women-in-politics, believing-in-girl power, roaring feminist within me wants to be excited to cheer for the woman who broke a barrier.
However, because that woman was Kellyanne Conway, I find myself immediately coming to a halt. So where does Conway stand with feminism?
Interestingly, Conway doesn’t seem to be catering towards a particular target audience or group of supporters. Of course, she is a senior advisor to the president and her target audience is Trump supporters, but it is worth mentioning that she doesn’t have a lot of women who see her as a role-model.
It’s important to remember, however, that the number of followers a person has does not make them any less of a role model, but Conway has found herself far from the feminist boat.
Maybe it’s because she’s constantly defending a misogynistic administration or maybe it’s because she doesn’t seem to have any semblance of the truth; but either way Kellyanne Conway is not representative of the intersectional feminist movement, and it doesn’t look like she ever will be.
Regardless of her methods, we should take a moment to recognize a woman amidst a sea of conservative men who has come out on top and delivered a successful campaign. She has strong ties to her principles, and she isn’t one to waver in the face of a difficult question. However, the road to her success was not always respectful, was definitely not always truthful, and was not inclusive of many groups of people.
While Conway has broken a gender barrier, she has replaced so many more with her support for President Trump and his administration. Of course, that is her job, and perhaps her job does not require her to think about her effect on young women and the feminist movement.
Nevertheless, in having such a public position within such a controversial administration, a professional like Conway should realize the degrees to which her words can have an effect, especially on all of the women who are watching her tackle her historic role.
Conway has not done anything to push intersectional feminism, let alone feminism. She has consistently stayed mum on women’s issues while supporting an administration that clearly does not believe in equity or equality.
As a woman in this political climate, I am always looking for women who can prove to me that yes, women can challenge barriers, but more so that yes, women can stand and speak with other women to create big changes.
However, as a feminist, I cannot bash Conway for doing her job or voicing her opinion because I certainly would not appreciate if she were to do the same to me, regardless of whether she is a feminist or if I’m a public figure.
As a feminist, I can say, though, that Conway is not paying attention to herself and how she fits into her career.
She is a woman in what she has proclaimed to be “a man’s world,” and yet she doesn’t seem to realize the essentials feminism, and more importantly, intersectional feminism.
As a well established white woman, Conway does not see as many of the struggles that women of color and LGBTQA+ women face.
When considering intersectional feminism the goal has always been to find ground that everyone can stand on despite the intersections within their identities. Conway, unfortunately, looks for land that only Donald Trump can stand on.
That just isn’t what feminism is.
Feminism, regardless of its focus, is women who are standing and speaking with other women because the only way to combat the system and is to do so in numbers.
Conway’s words and her actions promote an administration that seeks to hinder intersectional feminism, but intersectional feminism isn’t a lousy bill that can’t make it through Congress; it’s a movement of women, of voices, of stories, and of lives and therefore, it is not something that can be overturned by Conway’s support for the actions of the Trump administration.
Conway may not stand with intersectional feminism, but women certainly do not need her to continue to the movement.