Critique of Federalist Editorial “There Is One Pro-Women Camp In American Politics, And It’s The Right by Elle Reynolds” – Do Federalist Magazine Members Realize There Are Single, Childless Conservative Women?
Way below, I will link to and discuss yet another unfortunate editorial from conservative site The Federalist which again incorrectly conflates “womanhood” with motherhood, as if there’s an assumption that all conservative women are married with children
(hint: we are not. Some of us conservative women are single and childless. I am no less a woman, or no less a conservative, merely because I am childless and single).
It seems as though The Federalist, like many other conservative sites, pumps out at least one of these
“womanhood = motherhood and wife, and if you disagree with this assumption, you must be an abortion-supporting, man-hating, Democrat feminist”
type editorials about once a month to once every three months. And they are so tiresome.
Just a few months ago, I wrote this post:
(Link): Authors at The Federalist Keep Bashing Singleness in the Service of Promoting Marriage – Which Is Not Okay
And now here I am again, having to address another one of their, “rah rah marriage and motherhood, being conservative as a woman means being a wife and a mother!” type pieces.
Some conservative authors may concede that it’s possible to be a woman and be single and also be childless and also be a conservative, but one would not know it, from their unrelenting association of womanhood with marital or parental status.
I’m a conservative woman who was raised a gender complementarian Southern Baptist. I rejected complementarianism years ago and no longer consider myself to be a Southern Baptist.
I am not a progressive, a liberal, or a feminist.
I don’t agree with all views of feminists, but at times, I’ve found that other conservatives, in attempting to “own the libs,” or in arguing against feminist perspectives (some which conservatives occasionally caricaturize, which results in strawman arguments), go too far in the other, and equally wrong, direction.
I have nothing against the nuclear family, marriage, or motherhood. However, there is nothing wrong with a person being single and childless, whether by choice or by circumstance.
Yes, some conservative (and non-conservative) women are single by circumstance, and somehow such women are never considered in these excessively pro-motherhood, pro-nuclear family, pro-marriage pieces. More about that:
(Link): Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)
If you’re a Christian – and I think many of the writers at The Federalist are Christian, or at least supportive of Judeo-Christian values – you cannot plausibly defend a hyper-fixation on marriage, the nuclear family, and motherhood (or fatherhood) from the Bible itself.
The Bible actually teaches that spiritual family is of more import than biological family. Jesus of Nazareth taught in the Gospels that if you follow him, you are to place him above your spouse, any children you have, your siblings, your parents, and other biological family.
(See Matthew 12:46-50 and Matthew 10:37, 38 for more about how Jesus discouraged his followers from prioritizing biological family or spouse above devotion to God or above spiritual family, as today’s American conservatives tend to do.)
The Bible simply does not teach anyone to “focus on their (biological) family,” nor does the Bible teach that marriage, natalism, parenthood, or the nuclear family will fix a culture or that marriage or parenthood will make a person more godly, ethical, or responsible.
The Bible says that the problem with humanity is sin, that each person is a sinner, and the Bible prescribes belief in Jesus as Savior to be the cure – not marriage or having a baby.
In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul wrote it is better to remain single than to marry:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do …
(28) …But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided.
An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
That sure doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of marriage, motherhood, and the nuclear family, the kind I regularly hear from secular and Christian conservatives!
However, too many editorials by conservative sites – Federalist is really bad about this, as are BreakPoint and several others – continue to conflate “godly,” “mature,” patriotic, and good with “being a married mother.”
I’m a conservative woman who never did marry. Not because I am “anti marriage,” but because in spite of all the propaganda I was fed by Southern Baptist and evangelical Christians from the time I was a kid and teen (i.e., if I just had faith, attended church, prayed, etc, that God would send me a husband), and although I followed that evangelical and Baptist teaching, I never-the-less was never sent a spouse.
I did not choose to remain single over my entire life; that is just how my life turned out.
By staying single for as long as I have, and I remain right of center politically, I’ve seen that too many other conservatives, in seeking to correct what they see as liberal or feminist mistakes regarding family and marriage, end up going in error by going in the direct, 180 degree opposite direction, by placing an over-emphasis upon marriage and parenthood.
Here’s a link with excerpts to the editorial from The Federalist, and below, I’ll pick apart where I agree or disagree:
The Editorial by E. Reynolds on The Federalist
(Link): There Is One Pro-Women Camp In American Politics, And It’s The Right
by Elle Reynolds
June 15, 2022
… Even at the height of the feminist movement, the lies that women must become like men to be real women were damaging — but now, all pretenses are up.
— end excerpt —
Women Must Become Like Men To Be Real Women?
When Reynolds writes, “… the lies that women must become like men to be real women were damaging,” what does she mean? What does she mean by women “becoming like men?”
I think I know what Reynolds means, and if I am correct, she is most likely referring to gender stereotypes, that women are, or should be, great at relationships, free to show emotion, nurturing, warm, passive, be risk averse, and docile.
(Note that many of these stereotypes for women are the same as hallmarks of codependency.)
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