Dear Mainstream Media, Conservative Women Deserve Respect Too.

by Devin Nassar-Reis 7 months ago in opinion

So stop trying to silence us.

We're people too.

It's no secret that women can do anything. Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female Supreme Court Justice, serving from 1981 until 2006. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was elected the president of the Republic of Croatia in 2015, and she still holds office four years later. Kersti Kaljulaid has been the Prime Minister of Estonia since 2016. Katrin Jakobsdottir became the Prime Minister of Iceland in 2017. Zuzana Capitova was elected as Slovakia's first-ever female president this past March, according to Far And Wide. Although they might be from different completely different countries, all of these women have one thing in common. They have been very public about their conservative views. All of these women have made remarkable strides in history, as they have proven that conservative women can and will achieve anything that their political counterparts can. (Source: Far and Wide, Lists, "Countries Where women Are In Charge", Katherine Gallagher, June 18, 2019, https://www.farandwide.com/s/countries-with-powerful-female-leaders-68152c4b7e6c462e) Unfortunately, it hasn't been an easy ride for American women who think that way. Conservative women are being unfairly silenced, and that is seriously not okay. Heather Higgins, chairwoman of Independent Women's Forum describes it this way in a video for Prager University: "We hear a lot about 'the year of the woman', 'the women's march', and 'the war on women.' But if the mainstream media- the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS, and others-were more interested in accuracy than advocacy, it would be that they are promoting 'the year of the leftist woman' or 'the leftist women's march.'" Higgins' argument is quite accurate, because conservative women are not just ignored by the left, but unfairly smeared and disrespected. If the leftist media is truly out to smear right-leaning women, what are their tactics? The tactics used by the mainstream media are quite familiar. Higgins adds, "They use three strategies. The first is: Omission. If you don't see something, you don't have to deal with it. Open up a glossy magazine. Every liberal woman is glamorized. Stylishly dressed, beautifully photographed, their personal stories are almost always an inspirational version of Joan of Arc: they have overcome overwhelming obstacles to make the world a more compassionate and tolerant place. Glamour magazine recognized eleven Democrat women among their 2018 Women of the Year. No Republican made the cut. Every now and again, the major media will do a story about a female conservative to 'balance things out.' But, let's be honest, it's not balance – it's tokenism. The second strategy the media uses to diminish conservative women is mocking: Making fun of a woman's appearance discounts what she says. You would think the major media would resist this kind of objectification. But they don't. Not if the target is a conservative woman. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign, are routinely belittled for their hair, their eye makeup, or their weight. Their significant accomplishments, in contrast, are rarely acknowledged. Why? Because the media doesn't like their boss. And it treats women who work for him as traitors to their sex. The third strategy the media uses to demean conservative women is labeling: Using stereotypes precludes there being a valid reason for conservative women to hold the positions they do. The major media simply can't accept that conservatives have serious and important reasons for their beliefs. So they have to come up with answers to explain this seeming anomaly to themselves: these women must be racist or self-hating or just weak-minded. Here's how Barbra Streisand put it to the Daily Mail in England: 'A lot of women vote the way their husbands vote; they don't believe enough in their own thoughts.' Labeling, like the strategies of mocking or omission, is just another way to display contempt and demonize conservative women. Its purpose is to persuade you to not treat those being labeled with respect, to ignore their ideas, and to even avoid associating with them." This bully behavior sounds straight out of the 2004 smash-hit movie Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Liz Caplan, but it's all too real. The bullying and mistreatment of conservative women by the media has gone on long enough. What can you do to help make things right? Higgins concludes with this strategy, saying, "So if you hold conservative views, you have a particularly important role to play. You need to speak out – to your friends, your family, and your co-workers. Let them hear your thinking. And then let them make up their own minds. The media may pretend you don't exist; they may even mock or label you. They want to intimidate you into silence. That's not fair, and that's not right. Don't let them." Source: Prager University, "Who Does The Media Want To Silence?", Heather Higgins, June 10, 2019, https://www.prageru.com/video/who-does-the-media-most-want-to-silence/) Media bias is already a serious issue, and the mistreatment of conservative women just makes it more of an issue. It's hypocritical, cruel, and plan unfair. The conservative woman deserves just as much respect as the liberal.

Within the past decade, it seems like Michelle Obama was everywhere. From her anti-childhood obesity campaigns to her role as the First Lady from 2008 to 2016, she was portrayed as the epitome of class and glamour. You would not pass by a newsstand without seeing her on the cover of a fashion magazine, depicted as the personification of glamour, grace, and elegance. What about Melania Trump? In the three years that she has had a presence on the world stage, she has not been featured on a single cover of any magazines. In her video for Prager University, Heather Higgins also stated, "First Lady Michelle Obama was featured on the cover of Vogue three times. Melania Trump? Not once." (Source: Prager University, "Who Does The Media Want To Silence?", Heather Higgins, June 10, 2019, https://www.prageru.com/video/who-does-the-media-most-want-to-silence/) Both women are beautiful, hardworking, intelligent, passionate about their platforms, and well-educated; both women hold hold Masters' Degrees from Ivy League universities. Melania Trump also speaks multiple languages. Despite her achievements, she is often dismissed and blacklisted. The media portrays her as the stereotypical "gold digger" and "unintelligent", because of her past profession as a model. Things aren't any easier for her stepdaughter, Ivanka Trump-Kushner. The First Daughter owns her own fashion label and is a major player in the fight to end human trafficking and child marriage, on both the domestic and international fronts. In 2018, Mrs. Jared Kushner published an article with the Washington Post regarding both her and her father's efforts in ending human trafficking. The article, titled, "The Trump Administration Is Taking Bold Action To Combat The Evil Of Human Trafficking" states that, "The administration is also working to better identify, protect and assist trafficking victims on their paths to safety and recovery. In fiscal 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services identified 13,314 potential victims of human trafficking through local community coalitions, and between July 2016 and June 2017, the Justice Department helped more than 8,000 survivors receive services such as housing, medical care, legal assistance, advocacy and case management." (Sources: The Washington Post, "The Trump Administration Is Taking Bold Action To Combat The Evil Of Human Trafficking", Ivanka Trump-Kushner, November 29, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-administration-is-taking-bold-action-to-combat-the-evil-of-human-trafficking/2018/11/29/3e21685c-f411-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html, US Embassy To The Holy See, "Ivanka Trump's Op-Ed On The Trump Administration's Fight Against Human Trafficking", November 2018, https://va.usembassy.gov/ivanka-trumps-op-ed-on-the-trump-administrations-fight-against-human-trafficking/) While she is praised by the United Nations for her active efforts in the fight for the rights of victims, the praise she has received has come at a major cost. Sadly, her efforts in the fight against both human trafficking and child marriage are not only ignored, but mocked as well. In 2018, The Huffington Post published an article mocking her efforts, saying that she's "got the wrong definition of human trafficking." The same article also states, "Your dad is making the problem worse." (Source: Huffington Post, "Hey, Ivanka Trump: You've Got The Wrong Definition Of 'Human Trafficking'", Michael Hobbes, December 13, 2018, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hey-ivanka-youve-got-the-wrong-definition-of-human-trafficking_n_5c059e6ce4b07aec57519779) Both Ivanka Trump-Kushner and Melania Trump are major players on the world stage, and they deserve an equal amount of respect that Michelle, Sasha, and Malia Obama received during their time representing our country. Whether you're in politics or sports, respect is essential, regardless of opinion.

Without a doubt, you know who Megan Rapinoe is. In case you don't, she's a star player on the US Women's Soccer Team, leading them to victory against the Netherlands this past summer. Without a doubt, she's a talented lady on the field. Sadly, she's been in the press for her negative behavior rather than her talents. From humiliating rival players on television to her criticism of the President, her bad behavior has garnered a lot of negative attention. She even went so far as to drop and stomp on the American flag after the American flag. According to a 2019 article from Newsweek, titled "Some Conservatives Are Now Angry At Megan Rapinoe Because She Dropped The American Flag", her behavior didn't sit well with conservatives; "While there appeared no intent to insult the American flag, some didn't see it that way. Author and former Navy Seal Jonathan Gilliam, who posts regularly in support of Trump, described it the action on Twitter as 'unpatriotic narcissistic behavior,' saying Rapinoe was 'neither a hero or a role model.' Gilliam, and others, also accused Rapinoe of stomping on the flag, something that does not happen in the video.". Her behavior was even negatively criticized by fellow female soccer players Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm-Garciaparra, with both women saying that Rapinoe should, "Grow the #^@& up" and "Show some gratitude." They even went on to call her behavior "embarrassing" and "spoiled."(Source: Newsweek, "Some Conservatives Are Now Angry At Megan Rapinoe Because She Dropped The American Flag", Jason Lee Miere, July 8, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/megan-rapinoe-us-world-cup-flag-conservatives-1448110) Sadly enough, Rapinoe received undeserved praise, receiving Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson Of The Year; however, she wasn't the least bit grateful. In her interview, she called her now-iconic-yet-infamous victory pose, "'It was kind of like a ‘F--- you,’ but with a big smile and a s--- eating grin,' Rapinoe says. 'You are not going to steal any of our joy.''" Gymnast Simone Biles was also nominated for the award, receiving runner-up. Biles killed it in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, receiving multiple gold medals in Women's Gymnastics. She continued to blow away the competition at the Women's Gymnastics World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany this past October, receiving five gold medals. In a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated, teammate Allie Raisman, who received the silver, felt that, "She should have won." (Sources: Sports Illustrated, "Megan Rapinoe: Sports Illustrated 2019 Sportsperson Of The Year", Jenny Vrentas, December 9, 2019, https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2019/12/09/megan-rapinoe-2019-sportsperson-of-the-year, Sports Illustrated, "Simone Biles Is A Legend In Her Prime", Stephanie Apstein, https://www.si.com/olympics/2019/12/10/simone-biles-2019-year-most-dominant-athletes) Biles sent out her congratulations to Rapinoe after the soccer star won the honor. Sadly, her gracious and kind gesture was ignored by the press, overshadowed by Rapinoe's arrogant behavior upon receiving the title. Many argue that Biles deserved the title over Rapinoe, and it's not hard to see why. Biles always shakes her opponent's hand, doesn't say anything unkind, and shows respect for her country; Rapinoe does the exact opposite. Rapinoe is consistently portrayed as a role model for young girls, despite her dastardly behavior. Biles is ignored, despite her ability to be a positive role model for girls everywhere. A 2019 article from the Washington Examiner, titled "Woke America Needs Better Heroes Than Greta Thunberg and Megan Rapinoe", states the obvious; "America needs better heroes." (Source: Washington Examiner, "Woke America Needs Better Heroes Than Greta Thunberg and Megan Rapinoe", Brad Polumbo, December 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/woke-america-needs-better-heroes-than-greta-thunberg-and-megan-rapinoe) Biles' positive behavior both inside and outside of the gymnasium is unfairly ignored, as she is a shining example for young girls everywhere. Both women are talented, prominent, ambitious and looked up to by girls around the world. Their behavior is what sets them apart.

Bias towards conservative women isn't just on television and in the media. Sadly, it's in the classroom as well. Just ask Carla*. Carla is a student. She makes good grades every semester, plays sports for her local college, and has hopes of becoming an English Second Language (ESL) teacher. Carla hails from Montenegro, a country roughly the size of Uruguay that was ravaged by civil war from the early 1990s well into the New Millennium. "It was a very dark place. Very dark. What you saw on all the mainstream news outlets, BBC, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, was just the tip if the iceberg.", she said. In 2006, the late drug lord-turned-dictator Slobodan Milosevic was assassinated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), giving Montenegro a path to independence from the Republic of Serbia; George H.W. Bush ordered the assassination. Carla's past circumstances might have influenced her right-leaning views. "In the last election, I wanted Jeb Bush because George Bush made my home country an independent nation, and ended the violence there. Sadly that didn't happen.", she adds. Like many conservative female students, Carla has been unfairly mocked and ignored in the classroom. She went on to say, "My classmates call me a liar all the time, saying that there's no way that I could have lived through that. Trust me. I've seen violence. Gang warfare, acts of terrorism, butchery, you name it. You can't lie about that. Call me 'overly desensitized to violence' or whatever you want. Why would I lie about it? You can't." For sixteen years, firearm ownership was made illegal; gangs and corrupt government forces quickly took advantage of it. Despite her circumstances, Carla thinks positively and doesn't hide her conservative views. "I consider myself both Montenegrin and American, and I'm grateful to live in America. Very grateful. I have the right to freedom of speech. I was raised to hustle and work hard for what you want, and I still do that.", she said. Carla is an active member of her local Young Republicans chapter because of her opinions, as well as her genuine disgust for the current state of the media. "Alexandra Oscasio-Cortez denies and even mocks the Holocaust, yet she faces no consequences for her actions. She was praised and supported for her actions. You can't deny something so horrific. You just can't. If a conservative woman did that, she would be blacklisted. I've been called a hypocrite by both instructors and classmates because I'm a female and a conservative, especially by women. Women can be pretty nasty, which just adds to it." Carla's statements are unsurprising. Carla has a different strategy from that of her peers, adding, "But do I act like a victim and say, 'Poor me?' No. I pick myself up, dust myself off, and do everything in my power to make them look like a fool. Proving them wrong makes them look like an idiot." Her friend and classmate, Alexandra*, agrees. "The bias is definitely there.", Alexandra said. "When I first came into the United States, I was shocked. You only hear about this kind of stuff on South Park, but it's very real.", she added. Alexandra hails from Russia, where a conservative mindset is the norm. "Over there we're the typical gun-loving, 'so-called loud-mouthed' conservative.", she said, laughing. Like Carla, Alexandra's views don't sit well in the classroom either; she has been mocked and ignored as well. "It's absurd. I've gotten criticism because I don't think like the rest of my peers. It's like 'Really?'" Alexandra's opinions come from both a personal and intellectual place, unlike her classmates. "It's weird that disagreeing with the norm automatically makes you a bad person. For example, I don't agree with socialism because my parents lived through Communism. They've told me what they dealt with, and they were less than pleased. It wasn't good for them. Because I think differently, it's automatically justifiable to laugh at me and treat me unfairly.", she argues. She also adds, "I was taught that you have to work hard for whatever you want, and to prove your worth. If someone mocks you, prove them wrong because nobody likes that." Both young ladies may be different, but they have one thing in common. They face the bias that conservative women have to deal with. It's not fair and it's wrong. (Sources: In-person interviews with classmates. Individuals' names have been changed to respect their privacy.)

In conclusion, conservative women deserve respect too. If you believe in equality and respect for others, you would practice it. Mockery, omission, tokenism, and lies are not acceptable, and shouldn't be seen as such. There is nothing funny about bias, and it's beyond hypocritical and unfair. The conservative woman deserves just as much respect as the liberal. She's a person too, and she deserves the same dignity.

opinion
Devin Nassar-Reis
Devin Nassar-Reis
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