tv Conservative Women and Politics CSPAN December 25, 2013 3:30pm-4:46pm EST
liberty and mount rushmore, people you might know today in history. these are just a few of this year's highlights. although people who visit the white house will see dozens of reaths and ornaments and a gingerbread house that weighs about 300 pounds -- it's pretty big. some of the best sites they will see is kids enjoying all this wonderful glory, some of the best times in this white house is watching the faces of kids as
they walk through this house and count the trees and look at the ornaments. and none of this would be possible without the 83 volunteers like diane who came from all across the country to help us decorate. once again, sacrificing, leaving their families because they start decorating this house the day after thanksgiving. possible for us to do all this without our volunteers. they are a pleasure to work with. they are high-energy. they are positive. just look around. every year, they do themselves. we are so grateful for their hard work and enthusiasm. season, course of the about 70,000 people will come to see our holiday decorations. not bad. and i can't imagine a better group of people than all of you to be our very first guests. don't you feel special? [applause] no one has seen it. not even the president has seen these. you guys are the first.
and truly, it is a treat to make your all the first every season. because you all do so much for us and we are so proud and so honored and so grateful. we just want to give you a chance to bring your families in and just get a little special something just to remind you just how special we all think you are. so i want you all to enjoy a free minute in this house. i'm going to stop right now because we have a little something we are going to do with the kids. all the kids, you think you are ready to go have some fun? i'm going to take your kids -- [laughter] and don't worry, nothing can be broken. -- nothing can be broken that can't be repaired. and we will go and do some decorating. bakers and ourur
florists are over there. they have special little things you can make him a little gifts. are you guys ready for that? yes ma'am. [laughter] i love that. i love that. so why don't you get up. you guys can come up and go with me. ahrens, you can hang out, get some cider, cookies, look at the ornaments. breathe a little bit. they are in good hands. i guarantee you we will not lose them. but i cannot guarantee that they will come back clean. [laughter] so if you want pictures of them clean, do it now. and thank you. thank you. have a happy holiday from my family to all of yours. enjoy this holiday season. be safe. be happy. i gather around together and remember what this is all about. you all take care. love you much here a -- love you much. [applause]
>> a couple of days later, president obama and the first family participated in the traditional christmas tree lighting. it is an annual tradition first launched in 1823 by president calvin coolidge. here is a look at president obama's reefer marks. -- president obama's brief remarks. ♪ everybody!ristmas, this show is always a great way to get in the holiday spirit. every year, i rehearse my own little act but it seems like it again they couldn't find space
to squeeze me into the program. you are lucky i am not singing. -- first of all, let me thank secretary jewell and welcome her to our first christmas tree lighting. she is doing a great job for our national parks. she used to run one of america's biggest outdoor recreation covenants can now she is in charge of protecting the great doors for all of us. we want to thank neil mulholland and the whole national park foundation and national park service team for helping to put this beautiful production together. o give it up for jane lynch and all the great performers who do an incredible job putting us in a festive mood tonight. and to all americans who are ,ere today and watching at home
we are so glad to be part of this wonderful holiday tradition. for 91 years, the national christmas tree has stood as a beacon of light and promise during the holiday season. during times of peace and prosperity, challenge and change, americans have gathered around her national tree to kick off the holiday season and give thanks for everything that makes this time of year so magical. spending time with friends and family and spreading tidings of peace and goodwill here at home and around the world. this year, we give a special measure of gratitude for nelson mandela, a man who championed that generosity of spirit. in his life, he blessed us with tremendous grace and unbelievable courage and we are all privileged to live in a world touched by his goodness.
each christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable's roof to shelter him. but through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, the life guided by faith and kindness towards others, christ's assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia. he ministered to the poor, embraced the outcast, healed the sick. and in him, we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words but also through our deeds. it is a message both timeless and universal. no matter what god you pray to or if you pray to none at all, we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting. we are our brothers keeper. we are our sisters keeper.
so in the season of generosity, let's reach out to those who need help the most. in the season of reflection, make sure that are incredibly brave servicemembers and their families know how much we appreciate their sacrifice and there are several military families and minimum in here tonight. -- -- and men and women here tonight. we are so grateful to you. in this season of hope, let us come together as one people, one family to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep america the land of endless opportunity and boundless optimism for which we are all thankful. on behalf of malia, sasha, marion, the first lady michelle, plus bowl and sunny, -- sonny, i want to wish everyone a wonderful
holiday season. god bless you. god bless our troops. and god bless the united states of america. >> on monday, britain's queen delivered ii her christmas message from london. it dates back from 1932 with a radio address from king george the fifth. her remarks this year are scenes from the queen's coronation in 1953 and a photo shoot with the new royal baby prince george. [drumroll] ♪
reflection. distractions, it is so easy to forget. be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, and have found personal reflection surprisingly rewarding. reflection can take many forms. comefamilies and friends together at christmas, it is often a time for happy memories and reminiscing. our thoughts are with those we have loved who are no longer with us. who,so remember those through doing their duty, cannot be at home for christmas. in central ors emergency services. and especially at this time of
year, we think of the men and women serving overseas in our armed forces. we are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe. service and duty are not just the guiding present bowls of yesteryear. they have an enduring value which spans the generations. i myself had cause to reflect the sheer -- like this year at westminster's abbey on my own pleasure service made at that great church on coronation day 60 years earlier. >> all this i promise to do.
>> today, we celebrate 60 years since that moment. 60 years of commitment. reminded meersary of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the coronation. many of them for the better. things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship, and good neighborliness. but reflection is not just about looking back. i and many others are looking forward to the commonwealth games in glasgow next year. in october.nd iny -- the relay left london october. it is now on the other side of the world across 17 nations and territories before arriving in
scotland next summer. its a journey is a reminder that the commonwealth can offer us a fresh view of life. my son charles summed this up in a recent meeting in tree lanka. -- in sri lanka. he spoke about the family ties that are a force of encouragement to many. >> each one of us is here because of the hope and the trust we place in the commonwealth to bring that touch, the feeling to our troubles and deliver the very best future for our people. >> like any family, there can be differences of opinion. but however strongly they are expressed, they are held within the common bond of friendship and shared experiences. my own family is a little larger this christmas. as so many of you well know, the
arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope. for the new parents, life will never be quite the same again. christened,who are george was baptized into a joyful faith of christian duty and service. >> 1, 2, 3 -- ok, so here we go. >> after the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph here and -- photograph. >> 1, 2, 3. occasion.a happy bringing together for generations -- bringing together
four generations. in the year ahead, i hope you will have time to pause for moments of quiet reflection. as the man in the plastic -- and the plaster cast discovered, the results may sometimes be surprising. for christians come as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to asew ourselves in god's love we strive daily to become better people. shows ustmas message that this love is for everyone. there is no one beyond its reach . on the first christmas in the , they sat inhlehem the cold of night watching their resting sheep. the local shepherds were to have no shortage of time for reflection. suddenly, all of this was to
yet more info at studentcam.org. >> all this week in prime time, we are bringing you encore presentations of c-span's "q&a." tonight, medea benjamin talks about her call to activism and her organization's work including antiwar efforts. watch our entire conversation tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. after that, a look at the news and events around the nsa surveillance and data collection programs and the private security issues debated. that's tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and at 9:00, c-span's first ladies series takes a look at the life and legacy of best remembered. compelled to -- propelled into maturity and an early age, she was forced to take charge of her family as a teenager following the suicide of her father. despite her reputation as a seven partner to president
truman, harry nicknamed her the boss. take a look at the life of s truman tonight on c-span. -- bess truman tonight on c- span. next, a look at the role of conservative women in politics. ronnie schreiber discusses her research into how conservative women leaders negotiate the tension between traditional gender roles and the desire to engage poetically. she looks specifically at 2000 a vice presidential candidates are pale and and minnesota commerce women and 2012 presidential candidate michele bachmann. posted in november by the university of california berkeley, this is one hour and 15 minutes. [applause] >> there we go. ok.
thank you so much for coming. i want to thank the berkeley center for right-wing studies and the cosponsors, the graduate .chool of journalism i also want to thank john mccain. why would i want to thank john mccain? in 2008,f you know, john mccain surprise the united states by nominating alaska governor sarah palin to be his running mate in the presidential election. and i remember that moment. i was at a little science conference and my first book had just come out on conservative women. press.academic i'm sure a few people thought it might be interesting. then i saw sarah palin on the screen on national television and i thought john mccain is promoting my research agenda. so i always feel it's important to use -- to thank john mccain when i do talk about my research. speaking of research and i want
to follow up on something that larry said. what i am presenting today is scholarly work and really intended to create understanding of conservative women. i am a women of politics scholar and i saw a lack of attention to ideological diversity among women in the scholarship that was being published. very interested myself and exploring questions about conservative women and also wanting to highlight their important contribution to politics. no matter where you stand politically, i think it is really important for us to understand the role that they play in politics. -- referenceslin to her general maternal status influence the campaign when she was running for president. andnfluenced the campaign discussions over whether mothers of young children should seek elected office. of course, she played into these debates by bringing her children on stage for events and referring to herself as a hockey
mom. discussions of mothers in politics made their reappearance in 2010 when palin herself was advocating for and campaigning for mostly tea party candidates, were her word -- women who running for office and calling them her mama grizzlies. june 5, 2011, and other mother of five, conservative, congresswoman michele bachmann announced her intention to run for president of the united states. as for palin, bachmann's bid generated a lot of debate over gender roles and women in politics from all sides. women wereboth running in high-profile races, these cases divide an excellent lens through which public deliberations about conservative women, motherhood and politics can be examined. after theery eager first book that i wrote, which was about two conservative women's organizations and i
wanted to stop and felt compelled to keep going. but i was eager to resources question about how you have conservative ideology, which promotes traditional gender will, stereotypes, which i get into, yet these organizations are promoting these mothers of five running for national office. so the research i am presenting today builds on my work in writing feminism. when i was presenting research and talking about the book afterwards, i got a lot of questions from people basically saying aren't those women hypocritical? they say women should stay home and be with her kids and yet there they are running for office. of you who remember that you are, that was a question often posed to phyllis/lee -- she has children and she is out there politically engaged and so on. so it was a frequent russian. a sickly people said these women are hypocrites.
that's basically people said the -- basically people said these women are hypocrites. if you stop at calling a group of people hypocrites and leave it at that, you lose out on a lot of information and understanding what role they actually play in politics. ist i want to argue today there arem sorry valid reasons to say that potentially these women can be considered hypocrites, but there aren't tensions and contradictions and it is not as clear-cut. so let me explain. thatme of the tensions, conservatives are actually presented with. because they do promote gender but conservativism among they are also promoting mothers in politics. so let's start with the tensions in the questions and the ideas about why is it that we would
think it would be wrong for conservative women to promote people like palin and bachmann running for office. --servatives have emoted have promoted stay-at-home mother how'd based on -- motherhood based on theological beliefs and heterosexual families and about gender values, but the primacy of women as caretakers, social conservatives have long argued that women should prioritize their robes -- their roles as stay-at-home mothers. that is the first point that i sense that you should think it is odd to promote palin and bachmann. i'm going to give you two comments from women that run organizations or are active in conservative women's groups. they point to why we think conservative groups might actually be hypocritical and promoting palin and bachmann. the first is from a woman who works for concerned women of america. women have to knowledge that they are blessed with children
and it is important to give their needs top priority. quote is from someone who has said that encouraging wives and mothers to do their own thing has left children to bear burdens of loneliness, depression and d&d house. latchkey children are crying out for the love of mom who subordinate to their own career ambitions and desire for material things to the well- being of their children. so these do show there is some validity in positing that there may be some hypocrisy here. another tension for conservatives is that come in terms of promoting mothers in elected office, republicans -- if you are looking at studies, they are less likely than democrats in promoting mothers of young children for running for office. in states where there is a higher number of social conservatives, the lower number
of women are in the state houses in so there is an inverse correlation and political life. conservative women's organizations have chastised feminists for promoting the notion that women can have it all. that is that they can be super moms. you may remember the bring home the bacon and fried up in a pan. they alleged that feminist earth mothers that participate in the workforce generate feelings of guilt and so on. promoting palin a mother of five or bachmann, and other mother of five a month and standing behind tea party mothers running for office, indeed, the promotion of these women appear to violate ideological and religious norms. ok.
on the other hand, there are some reasons to think that this makes perfect sense that conservative women are doing this. despite the prevailing gender norms, women have had a long history of lyrical participation in conservative movement politics. we know phyllis from stock e.r.a.. she ran for congress and worked on barry goldwater's campaign and so on. conservative women's activism has included, for example, organizing against the women's suffrage amendment. they have been actively involved in challenging laws having to do with federally funded day care or family leave. they have been actively involved in the opposition for legal abortion, same-sex marriage. so despite the conservative gender roles, they are actively involved in politics. secondly, when republicans do vote for women, they preferred
click secondly, when they do actively get involved, they preferred to vote for women with children. there are a number of republican women elected to office. the numbers are still pretty low. about 18% in congress, but only a quarter of them are republican women. but they are wanting to increase there will numbers. -- increase their numbers. in addition, conservative women's groups themselves to do this have founded a political action committees and organizations to raise money and train women to run for office. they are working to meet the goal of getting more republican women elected. finally, republicans are well aware there is a gender gap that favors -- generally, women favors democrats in presidential elections. they know they need to target women voters and promote more
women in politics. historically, conservatives have grappled between ideology, the role of mothers and women, and political reality when it comes to trying to promote women in the public sphere, including in the realm of professional politics. given these tensions, i ask the following questions. how do conservative women advocates -- and i actually looked at conservative women's organizations themselves in the first part. how do they negotiate ideological beliefs about conservatism and general roles with an interest in electing republican women, and in particularly wanting to promote palin and bachmann when they were running for office? actually having these organizations talk about palin and bachmann during their campaigns. second, how do conservative i interviewed a number of them. not only did i look at
organizational document, but i interviewed women leaders, some of whom overlap here. and i asked them how they negotiate tensions personally themselves. they are all paid or -- paid representatives of organizations. their organizations talk about these tensions? and how might that affect hobbled discourse and policy outcomes? finally, i look at what this tells us about gender and politics more broadly, especially in light of the fact that there are an increasing number of women who want to run for office, or are running for office and want to get elected. when conservative women are talking about gender roles and paternalism, it has implications broadly for how we understand motherhood, politics, in a broad sense. i want to make it clear that we need to think broadly and not just try to think someone is hypocritical, but what it
actually means when people think this in the public sphere. detailnot go into much about the legal theories or representation and so on. i'm happy to talk about it in the qa -- the q and a. i look at social and economic conservatives, and i'm happy to to find out later on. the organizations i study our national and represent a range of conservative women's organizations and women political actors. i specifically look at how they talk about palin and bachmann when they were running for office. and i try to tease out how it is what language they used to account for the tension. and i find that basically what they do is they have transformed the meaning of conservatism a little bit to basically take account for the fact that they are promoting others in office -- promoting mothers in office even though sometimes they say mothers should stay home. i look at their language.
and i call that "framing." framing, i'me term really talking about language and ideas used to communicate values, organizational goals, and perspective. then i go on and i do interviews with the men who represent national organizations. i have also interviewed feminist woman. but for the talk today, i'm only talking about conservative interviews. and here, arguing about personal narratives and how they reflect the political actors understand mothers interest and provide insight into basically, how they themselves have negotiated these tensions. other renovations are talking about them. and how these things should public discourse about motherhood, conservatism, and gender in politics. it's a mouthful, but hopefully i'm making the argument in the long run. the research into parts. first, the organizations on palin and bachmann. second, i will give you highlights of the interviews i did and talk about how they work together and how there are
contradictions between the two. here are the organizations i've studied. the concerned women for america. the orbital -- the oldest organization is eagle forum. that was founded in 1972. all of these groups are not only national in scope, but i consider them to be women's organizations. what i mean is they are exclusively led by women and they make arguments that a are representing women. i think that is very important. have now saying they represent women's interest and conservative groups saying they represent women's interest. these are the organizations i've studied. we network of in-line women is a college women's group. smart girl politics is more of a web-based organization, but there is a range. are the groups that i talked to as far as how they talk about palin and bachmann. the interviews are here. i will go back to the slide when
i go over the interviews. but as you can see, there is a range here. this is the universe of conservative women. there are elite women, leaders of or representative of these organizations. to then i take these national coordinator for the tea party patriots, kelly grantor. back to the organizations rhetoric about palin and bachmann. basically, i found that they use two different frames. the first is called feminine toughness. those are indeed, barbie for president. i have them in my office and they are good conversation starters. i wanted to get a suit that matched, but it was nowhere to be found. the first frame that organizations use is what i'm told is feminine toughness. a sickly, let's check on -- let's focus on the feminine
first. not feminist, but feminine. from this perspective, palin is deemed to be full of grace and someone who exudes femininity. these are the things the organizations have said about her. -- tos been said to integrate political leadership with family response ability. the president of the claire luce tells usicy institute that palin holds her baby on stage because she wants to publicly embrace in a woman on stage in all the facets. policycoupled with her goals and proves to the independent women's forum that you don't have to hold the cultural president -- prejudices of the left to be a woman. in an interview with the washington post, the president of the independent women's forum also summed it up this way. she said this about palin.
"she is feminine and she is fashionable, and that is ok now ." which i'm happy to hear. in these ways, femininity is how she looks. that is ripe with the barbie appear, because obviously it is partly about what you wear and your makeup. but it also is that she emphasizes the centrality of her husband and children and so on. bachmann is the feminine reactions from conservative women's stop -- feminine reactions from conservative women. reporter was told, i actually think it is great. i think you can embrace your femininity in a way that you will look and still be a smart and intelligent woman. in addition to their style and persona, palin and bachmann are also consistently praise not just for being feminine, but also for running for office for the right reasons. and that is, not to gain power or authority, but to help people.
here, conservative women are also now offering what i say is a feminized account of the quest for national office. that is consistent with the traditional notions of mothering and gender roles. as an aside, feminists also have some version of this when they talk about the need for more women in office and the difference in what they bring to political office. but this is a very particular interpretation of the feminized account of leadership. karen agnes, who founded the network of in-line women, which i noted is a conservative network for college women, praised palin's life choices and goals. she says, palin chose to marry her high school sweetheart. in an acceptance speech, she said, we met in high school and two decades later, he still my guy. herfocused on raising children and pursuing public office not to climb the political ladder, but to make your community better for children. touted as aalso
role model in general for this, but also as a role model for younger women, due to her feminine leadership roles. bachmann "stand up for her beliefs." it's not about power or title. able call her crazy for speaking up, but younger conservative woman in really look up to her. here you have an accountability in leadership goal. there is also discourse that celebrates him in and bachmann's toughness. palin, it was argued that she is not the kind of person to give in to bullies. she is the kind of mother who protects her children to my something that those who hate her don't seem to understand. if you recall, payment herself this.in herself invoked if you have never seen her mama grizzly act, go onto youtube and .oogle mama grizzly
it is a fascinating advertisement. it is really well done. palin herself used the mama grizzly image to precisely capture the reconciliation of femininity and toughness. she offers this sentiment. you thought pickles were tough, but you don't want to mess with mama grizzly. have invoked a toughness themselves. as for bachmann, harry christophe said about her and also her conservative counterparts, you have to have a and be ang backbone conservative woman running for office. byhmann is also described another organization is having the strength and tenacity to do what is necessary to lead this nation. here you have interesting coupling of traditional conceptualizations of femininity with masculinity am a suggesting that palin and bachmann can also be ladies, but also counted on
to run the country. i want to say here that these complex descriptions are necessary for most women who run for office, whether conservative or feminist. -- and if you do studies and surveys, people prefer women to be communal and warm and kind, and they expect men to be agenda, aggressive, and self-directed. but these latter characteristics are also what people expect of their leaders. what you have is eight it of a double bind for what women running for office. you can watch all kinds of lives about hillary clinton when she ran for president about that being the case. nicely this way. trying to satisfy complex set of crop -- of expectations is impossible. women are criticized for deviating from the norm and for
appearing to be masculine. i think this feminine toughness is an interesting way for these organizations, conservative women's groups particularly, to navigate between cultural keepingas well as perceptions of these women in about gender view roles. the femininity part reinforces the conservative view about the way women are supposed to behave mama their values, and so on. the feminine toughness not only makes the candidate's more appealing to conservative men and women, but it also paves the way for palin and bachmann to be distinguished. they are distinguished from feminists. many more liberals shy away from supporting them because they are seen to conservatively, it is a way for them to position themselves to get support.
let me give you examples. palin exudes a can-do optimism because it is tough to be a woman leader. and there has been similar antifeminist language -- in my favorite quote of the entire book that i'm working on. it is a little long, but bear with me. he gets good at the end. sarah palin's feminine appearance, charm, and suggest the leadership of metal law madeleine albright or janet reno. with her down-home extensions, she makes harsh feminist diatribes m.d., meaning that come out of touch, and out of date. her savvy complex demeanor reflects herself as a wife, mother, and a compost career woman. get it all in there. ike margaret thatcher, heard soft -- her soft exterior is a contrast to her tough inner strength.
palin simply light up the room when she walks in. here is a way to talk about these organizations -- [laughter] -- i'm just reading the quote. it is really important for these this.zations to do part of the mission is to represent women. a sickly, there is this battle with feminist organizations to say, no, -- basically, there is this battle with feminist organizations to say, no, would represent women. it fosters one of their goals. conservative women also argue that palin and bachmann's bid for office represents what feminists have long for, which is women's entrance into the higher -- women's entrance into higher-level office. but it argues that it feminists had really cared about women in office, they would have
supported palin and bachmann. it is an interesting challenge for feminists, actually. i did some research on it. it -- the minutes basically had to say -- feminists a sickly had to say, we did not mean just women, but feminists. we had to say, no, we are not going to endorse sarah palin. and conservatives picked right up on this. further thes helped goals. invoking the feminine toughness frame to describe these woman captures the desire of conservative women's groups to both reinscribe traditional gender roles, while also supporting these liberated women for disrupting them. it also serves to make feminist look out of touch. arereasserts that feminists not feminine. and these women are seen as super moms, which helps to
promote traditional gender role values and also wanting more woman to be professional and politically active. this conservative supermom. in the past, conservative women have chastised feminists for allegedly promoting the notion that women can have it all i seamlessly balancing child- rearing, holding a job in the paid work or scum a and enjoying -- in the paid workforce, and enjoying intimate relations with their partner. it is not really accurate that feminists have promoted that, but nonetheless, that is the rhetoric that comes from conservative women's groups. despite the critiques of supermom, which i alluded to earlier, conservative groups actually apply to palin and bachmann for finding ways to fit it all in and for framing what i'm calling the conservative supermom. they were praised for providing a model for how some women can manage motherhood and a
professional career and appealing to women who want to have it all, including happily married to the love of their youth and bearing his children. and for a woman who believes that it is possible for a woman to hold down a full-time ceo job overseeing a multibillion-dollar here you see an embracing of the supermom. you have that, but what you also see is that they praise the alleged supermom talent that palin and bachmann have, but supermom has some caveats. they also have to abide by personal political beliefs that are essential to economic and social conservatism, which is why i call them conservative supermom's. i will talk a little bit about that. first, these organizations say that palin and bachmann yield to their families, especially their husbands.
said about palin that she doesn't need feminist approval for her lifestyle. dylan person's location eight for heard -- her double career is her husband, and he seems very happy with her. this doesn't mean, by the way, that women have no say or that couples don't negotiate with each other. but scholars have shown that conservative evangelicals, who are in important base for the republican party, adhere to the idea of male superiority in the family union. they talk here about the adherence to biblical submission, which also helps to solidify her social credentials. this has been debated even among women who say they adhere to it. but it essentially comes from a biblical passage that says,
wives, submit yourselves unto your husband as unto the lord. bachmann's acknowledgment that she believes in submission generated a lot of public debate and scrutiny. it even got played out in the press pretty significantly. and it forced conservative women's groups to explain how it is walkman could politically submit and also be -- bachmann could politically -- could biblically submit and also be president. it is important to note that biblical submission is about harmony and well-being within the home and the relationship between a husband and wife. withs nothing to do leadership responsibilities, except that no one, even the president of the united states, should treat others with disrespect, or accept a subservient spirit from anyone submissionhe total of another persons well. will.another person's
husbandwho submits your does not have a similar relationship with men at work. a christian woman or man and leadership must meet and fulfill the response goodies for what -- for which they are accountable to god and for which they are serving in leadership capacity. fulfilly, bachmann can gender theological roles, but this does not translate into her political cell. that is how it is exciting by the concerned women for america. thet is explained by concerned women for america. it is central to the agenda of most social conservative groups. there was concern that mccain was not aggressive enough in antiabortion policies, so palin picked up on that when she was running as his running mate. given that republican voters think republican women are more liberal, they are promoting their pro-life perspective and
that helped physicians show that women can be very conservative when they run for office. hailing talk -- palin talked about her decision to air a child with down syndrome as a way to appeal to social conservatives. finally, they hinted that their values fall in line with republican voters. after decades of being targeted sexist, conservatives in the gop base are understandably proud to have women making their case in support of limited government and free market. these woman obviously do appeal their fellow audience, particularly conservative women. these organizations employ what i call a conservative supermom frame. the language also speaks to conservatives by highlighting their beliefs about when -- women and the family, but it
appeals to a broader base and range of people. theme give you organizational interviews for a second. i'm only going to highlight some of the findings from here. some of this is still in the works. i want to connect a few of the comments i made earlier. basically, i interviewed these these-- these women and -- and how they talked about these values when representing these organizations. i can talk more about who these women actually are. let me go over the interview highlights. in the interest of time, i will do some of the preliminary findings. is, the woman that i indicated that the new conservative woman is not constrained by traditional gender roles. when asked if it was contradictory for her and other conservative mothers to be
-- onece, conservative conservative founder rejected the idea. she said to me, i think the press is wrong to start with. i don't think conservative women are pro-stay-at-home moms. we run the gamut, just as liberals do. there are plenty woman who want to have a family and a career as well. there is a misconception that we are stay-at-home moms and that is all we want to do. most of my friends within the organization feel that way. -- feel the way i do. i found this very interesting and i asked her why she got people believe this. why is it that there is this kind of public discourse, perhaps mid-from her perspective, that this is true. she said that liberals perpetuated it.
there is this myth out there, but some of the conservative women are saying it is not accurate. there is a complaint and the leaders that conservatism has been transformed and more excepting of the mother's professional goals. conservative ideology and politics has to be understood in this new light of wanting to transform the understanding of women's roles. this has to do with the organizations and the interviewees themselves and the promotion of palin and bachmann. in reference to their professional goals, conservative women counter the responses in the language of choice. it is a personal choice between you and your family and nobody else should be telling you that one makes you a stronger woman than another one. and when i pushed on the policy solutions that might deal with
the tensions of mothers in the workplace, mothers and national politics, interviewees responded that solutions should be privatized and not come from government social programs. most conservative when opposed federally funded -- women and opposed federally funded daycare. woman said, and physicists -- philosophically opposed to child care. i said, why is that? and she said to me, honestly, babies are delicious. they are cute and sweet and soft. need theirt babies mamas and babies need their daddies. that is what i was raised with and that is what i believe in. i don't think i can stand to drop off my kid to the lowest bidder, even if it means saving the world. she had a very visual account of this. the conservative women, if you look at activism and is groups that i study and so on, they are all opposed a federal -- opposed to federally funded childcare. they are all engaged in that activism, like against the
family leave act and so on. but in contrast to the supermom image of palin and bachmann, the interviewees -- and i actually push them on it personally as opposed to reading organizational stuff -- they actually used morecambe -- more complex and nuanced language. talk about how women manage conflicting goals, to sum it up, tea party leader don wildman said to me, whoever thought you could have it all, it's crap. another leader like and these tensions to playing the harp. she said to me, someone gave me a great analogy. it's kind of like laying a heart -- playing a harp to make it work. other times you have to shift to another place and you have to play these courts. frommon complaint conservatives was, you can have it all, but not at the same time. i would like to add that all of the feminists have said the same
thing to me. was one feminist who said to me that is actually true of men as well. want tosomething we may talk about later as well. but there is a more nuanced account of the supermom. organizational rhetoric has to produce one thing. if you push people on it personally, you'll get something slightly different and more nuanced. in explaining why working mothers may experience difficulties, many of these leaders referenced gender differences. that is, they argued that it is within women's nature to multitask and to juggle. the first thing you've got to realize is that god knows he's -- what he's doing in sending babies to young woman and you're making a terrible mistake to think you can establish a career and then in your 40s decide to have a has-been and kids. life doesn't work that way. you have a biological clock, even though feminists have often denied it. and the trouble with feminist studies and what feminist professors are teaching is that
women should plot her career without any thought for husband or children. main question posed here is how conservative woman in negotiate tensions between traditional gender norms and the desire for mothers in politics. i would argue it is too simplistic to say conservative when art reinforcing and promoting recently articulated notions of gender roles. but it is also too simplistic to say they are not. palin and bachmann, for example, reflect on their careers, they are reflecting the ideological norms, but also transforming them. and they want to increase the number of women in the workforce and running for office. what can we make of this? from the perspective of conservative women, mothers can moms if their
identities is tantamount to professional goals. running for office when you're the mother of five is acceptable, but best accomplish with your husband's blessing. note that in terms of constructing gender roles and maternal identities, the assertion that palin and bob and also need to be feminine and attentive to their families confront something feminists have lamented for some time. which is that for women who want to work outside the home, they have to be presented as exemplary mothers. the second point is that women must work things out personally with privatized solutions. the language of choice dismisses the role of power, institutions, resources, and so on. and within this articulation of choice, there is very little challenge to the role of state and economic policies, or structural factors.
language ofe, the choice and personal decision- making matches well with conservative ideology. it was no surprise for them to articulate this. that thet to argue important thing about it is that it translates into public policy goals about how women and mothers, and parents -- but you know, i talk to them mostly about motherhood. how they advocate for public policy. as said earlier, they oppose the family leave act, among other things. there is no support for government sponsored social programs that address work and family balance. except for tax breaks for businesses that offer flextime and so on. there's also very little discussion of lung -- about class differences among men and women and equal parenting. conservative women have recognized and they did say to me there is a change in family dynamics and ultimately, gender
role ideology. conservative women themselves are actually expanding ideas about what legitimate gender roles are for conservatives, not in ways that are identical to what feminist do. groups --ve women's conservative mothers are embraced if they fit within a .articular idea of femininity this presents a new idea about motherhood that i think we need to pay attention to and it suggest that conservative actors are actually adapting to a changing environment. in the upcoming elections, we may see a sudden -- a subtle shift. and it might help to soften the image of the republican party. it has been shown to be much more masculinized, less friendly to women's interest, and so on. about mothersalk in politics might affect the republican party in that way.
conservative politics cannot be fully understood without paying attention to the women active in it. this seems like a no-brainer, but if you look at the amount of research on conservative women, there is not a lot. with palin running for office, etc. to bloom a little bit. but there has not been a lot of scholarship on that. and there is cultural significance. through an analysis of their activism, we gain a much fuller and nuanced understanding of the conservative movement politics. finally, i want to argue, maybe in a pollyanna should -- in a way, there is an important message sent about the need to pay attention to women's rights and recognition of women's wide-ranging abilities. and of course, i also want to add that conservative women do not suggest it is a feminist
idea. but nonetheless, feminists have clearly affected conservative goals about promoting women in politics. woman so conservative heartily promoting a woman's bid for vice president have validated the claim of feminists for a long time, that women belong in the public sphere. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. is our will do now respondent, deirdre english, will have a response and a bit of a conversation with ronnie schreiber. and for the last 15 minutes we will open up to the floor for questions. christine processed -- christine
microphone and a will be able to ask questions of the panel. >> thank you very much. i'm deirdre english. i cannot claim to the same level of neutrality and objectivity that professor schrieber brought to this work. in the past, and not entirely successfully. she was very good. and i have written critically about conservative women in the past. but i have also gone as a journalist with great interest to alaska, to sarah palin's thetown, with something in spirit that you brought to your work, to try to understand her religion, her neighbors, and her background. and i really appreciate your scholarship, and i appreciate the effort made to try to
understand, to see to understand and then to be understood. i think it is a good principle. youpreciate the respect brought for your subjects and your own open-mindedness and you're pointing out their importance for social science as well as politics. i think you have established, if there was any doubt, that they are far from being mere mouthpieces for men. these are women who are speaking for themselves. they are passionately defending their believes, which are important to them. you remained an objective scholar in describing their thinking, and the changes in their thinking that you observed. and that may, indeed, lead to greater sympathy and understanding between the two tribes. will, commenting, i however fire at you some of the contradictions that are, perhaps
better meant for your subjects than for you, as you are not in the position to question their fax. -- facts. today, you focus on a great irony that of all things, in sarah palin and michele bachmann have become iconic figures of women who can do it all. in sarah palin's case, having five children, choosing to have a down's syndrome baby while she andgovernor of alaska, becoming with her husband and her own parents, active grandparents, sheltering her pregnant unwed daughter, bristol , while running for vice president. ,alin can actually kill a moose and she has an amazing ongoing presence as a media star. she may well in all fairness be in the running for super women
-- superwoman of the past decade. but wait. it's the conservative women's movement, as you pointed out, that has classically blamed feminism for promulgating the idea that women can do it all. who is selling the idea now? what could phyllis schlafly have to say to sarah palin, since schlafly blames women's studies professors for failing to teach mothers to prioritize staying home over working? me comment on this notion right away. not just let it escape as a sign of progress. it is in -- it is a mistaken stereotype of what feminism stands for, or ever has. from the very beginning, feminists saw that women were being swept into the modern workplace by the demands of a modern capitalist economy.
but first, women were restricted to the pink collar ghetto -- saleswomen, secretaries, nurses. was feminists who insisted that women can do professional work and hold authority. they broke open the law schools, the employment ads, the medical to ignore theot journalism schools, and many other institutions. they clearly saw from the beginning that women would not , and they do it all asked society to provide for child care, family leave, flex time, and all services that other a dance capitalist countries do offer. askedother thing, they men to become more active in raising their children. today, cities show that women are better fathers -- studies show that when men are better fathers, families are much happier. and working families have
smaller families today and are putting in more time nurturing and educating each tile than ever before in history, even compared to full-time housewives of only a few decades ago. so the conservative women who say that it is feminists who have tried to get women to do it have gotut support their facts wrong. feminist asked for social support. they asked for men's support. they did not get everything that they asked for, and that is the status quo today. perhaps from a feminist point of view, is that had sarah palin and michele bachmann actually succeeded in achieving positions of power, they would have furthered legislation that dan would have theed the -- denied women resources to be able to do it all themselves. conservatives are not being
terribly logical when a criminal -- criticized -- when they sts for tryingnin to achieve higher office. it is an easy charge to dismiss. support women who that further policies would demand that women who could not do it all themselves would not be given support, women who would oppose government or workplace accommodations for women who are not in such privileged positions with regard to their family resources? talk about this -- and i think you did raise this point, professor schreiber -- there is a need for historical and economic perspective. this debate has been with us throughout american history. it is not new.
in the case of women's rights, there will liberal -- there were liberal women who agitated for the vote at the time of the american revolution, just as there have been conservatives who oppose the women's vote even into the 20th century. this is a very old debate that we have been conducting. and it has held us stymied in so many ways. moret to talk about this when we get into the question- and-answer time frame, this gridlock of how long we have to remain in this world without making a lot of progress. quarell withoutd making a lot of progress. how long have we been divided? era was governed by systems that were patriarchal. it wasn't feminism, but capitalism that overthrew
patriarchy, disrupting father dominated productive households and sweeping man and later women into paid labor. transitionl in a away from patriarchy and into a world of rapid change that conservatives cannot halt any more than liberals can. the political question is, how can we find ways of modern life that offer the most benefit to all americans of all classes and races? and in all parts of the country. often puzzledi'm by conservative rhetoric on the concept of privacy and choice. the state does not force the woman to divorce, to use contraception, to be a lesbian, or to have an abortion, but leaves this to her individual conscience where the laws allow. why then do conservatives believe that the state should have a right to force her not to marry a woman, not to use
contraception, not to have a legal regulated abortion? i ask conservatives, why not keep government out of our private lives and leave it to a woman's religion, moral beliefs, and conscience? seek to restrict the choices of nonconservative women, which is a style that reaches back to patriarchal attitudes rather than to current ideals of personal freedom and self responsibility. this is one place where i perceive a much bigger contradiction in conservative thinking than whether or not a woman should wear lipstick. one might ask -- is this merely a squabble? this american history long argument, is this merely a squabble among women that men can ignore?
i don't think so. we are actually talking about how to organize our civilization. who has children and how many, the way the sexes relate, whether or not heterosexuality should be the only norm, who will get an education, who will be a leader, whether talented people can rise in a meritocracy without being disqualified by gender, who will care for the sick and the elderly, who will be financially supported -- when and how? these are such fundamental issues that we are talking about, that they get to the core of the lace we live as americans and what the american dream really is. they are not really women's issues, but matters that touch on all of our lives. and men can and do care about these issues. in fact, i would venture to say that this is really not a split between conservative women versus feminist woman, but rather between conservatives than libs