(CNSNews.com) - Emphasizing the failures and hypocrisy of the feminist movement and calling feminists who claim to speak for women "phonies," conservative activist Michelle Easton told a gathering of students this week to be wary of the tendency of the media, feminists and other liberals to ignore and often marginalize conservative women.
Easton, president of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, an organization that prepares women in leadership skills, spoke to the Young America's Foundation 25th Annual National Conservative Conference, a week-long event that brings together young conservative activists from across the nation.
Comparing the women's movement of a century earlier to the current feminist movement, Easton saw two very distinct agendas.
Commenting that original suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton couldn't be considered feminists under today's understanding of the word, Easton noted that "their agenda was a quite specific demand for women to have the same rights before the law that men enjoyed, and they were working for women to vote, and for laws regarding property, marriage, divorce and child custody to be equitable."
She also emphasized that these women were against abortion.
In contrast, she saw the major issues of present-day feminists as being "taxpayer-funded abortion, support for every big government program, and promotion of the lesbian lifestyle as something really good," adding, "they tend to sneer at full-time moms and promote leftist and socialist women as the best role models for young women."
Easton identified the antiwar and antigovernment era of the 1960s and 1970s as a turning point in the transformation of the women's movement in America to a more radical, anti-establishment philosophy.
In Easton's view, the new agenda of the feminist movement over the last 30 years has encouraged increasingly hypocritical behavior in their treatment of conservative women, helped - as Eastern noted - by liberals and the media.
Highlighting women like Phyllis Schlafly, an influential member of the conservative movement for more than 50 years, compared with feminist leader Gloria Steinem, Easton made the point that an intentional lack of attention is given to women like Schlafly by the national media judged against the attention given to feminists and prominent liberal women.
The feminists also play an instrumental role in discrediting and diminishing the importance of conservative women, Easton noted.
"Over the years, I've heard feminists and liberals talk a lot about how important it is for women to be involved in politics. Then, I noticed when women with conservative views run for office, leaders in the feminist movement like Gloria Steinem criticize these conservative women and reveal much more than they probably realize about their claim to speak for women," Easton said.
Speaking on the perspective of feminists, Easton said the message is clear: "You can't be an articulate conservative and also be a real woman."
In light of revelations during President Clinton's two terms about various sexual indiscretions, Easton commented that the silence and lack of criticism of Clinton by feminist groups further revealed their agenda and their character as "just another partisan political group."
She was also very critical of women's studies programs at colleges across the country for pursuing goals she characterized as "more therapeutic and emotive than intellectual and scholarly."
Where the feminist movement fails, Easton emphasized, is in their focus that all women are victims of oppression, which in turns encourages feminists to attack conservative women.
"They just can't tolerate successful conservative role models because successful conservative women show the lie of the women's studies teaching that all women are victims of male oppression whether or not they realize it," Easton underscored.
Encouraging students to speak up and step out to promote outstanding conservative women, Easton warned the audience that "failure to highlight conservative women role models allows the left to supplant them with less significant feminist role models."
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