Aren’t liberal college students tolerant? Well, the ones at American University showed just how hypocritical they can be.
The campus’ Network of enlightened Women chapter (NeW) is hosting the executive director of Independent Women’s Forum, Sabrina Schaeffer. The event will take place on campus Feb. 8 and is set to discuss “conservative feminism,” and has been advertised as “a conservative take on feminism.”
Well, to those liberals on campus, there can be no such thing. The event is not compulsory. Students who disagree though are free to attend and perhaps learn something new from such a perspective, or maybe they’ll decide they are fine with their own take on feminism. That’s fine. Denouncing an event because it doesn’t find your mindset is not fine, however — or at least not tolerant.
The College Fix reported on some of these intolerant students:
In Facebook screenshots obtained by The College Fix, one commenter, a male student, said the term “conservative feminism” is “oxymoronic.” A female student added: “When I hear ‘conservative feminism’ I think ‘white feminism’ – empowerment when it’s convenient and ignoring POC [people of color], plus the added horror of supporting those who trample on reproductive rights.”
A third female student also shared NeW’s Facebook page with peers, stating: “Recently having heard about this new group on campus, the ‘Network of Enlightened Women.’ Not sure how this conservative group is ‘enlightening’ women.”
“… Sure NeW, you can ‘enlighten’ me through your ‘Gentlemen Showcase’ or tell me abortion as a right is unnecessary, but I will just call this group out for what it really is – telling women to be content with inequality and be brainwashed into thinking conservatism is empowering.”
In response to all the negative attention, Krista Chavez, the president of the NeW chapter issued a statement on NeW’s website. It is full of thoughtful ideas throughout, which unfortunately her liberal peers don’t seem to be able to comprehend. The whole statement is worth reading, but notably begins by mentioning:
The Network of enlightened Women at American University (NeW at AU) seeks to promote a welcoming community of women who speak freely and openly about their beliefs to empower each other. This includes learning about conservative ideas.
The chapter’s Facebook page also shared the statement earlier Thursday.
Clarifying NeW at AU's message #NeWNationPosted by Network of enlightened Women - American University on Thursday, February 4, 2016
Red Alert Politics reached out to NeW to ask what this says about conservative feminism, and what it also says about liberals and their views.
Taylor McCarty, who is a campus program associate with the group, pointed out that “sometimes the best learning experiences take place outside of the classroom.” She also spoke specifically about what this means for NeW events:
Anyone who attends NeW events has the opportunity to learn something if they approach it with an open mind. Students with views across the political spectrum benefit from engaging with a conservative speaker. One benefit of college is exposing students to a variety of ideas and that should include ideas they disagree with. Our campus leaders on campuses across the country tell me that other students often thank them for giving them the opportunity to learn about conservative ideas. NeW makes intellectual diversity a priority.
On whether or not this speaks to a trend of his conservatism women and their idea of feminist is regarded, McCarty shared that “I think these sort of inflammatory comments reflect a glaring hypocrisy in liberal feminism today.” She spoke further of such hypocrisy in that “the Left prides itself on being inclusive, but we have seen time and time again that this only applies to those with whom they agree. NeW shows that being conservative and pro-woman are not mutually exclusive terms.”
NeW president, Karin Agness also shared her view:
For more than a decade, NeW has played an important role in bringing conservative voices to campus and fostering intellectual diversity. There is a demand for this on campus, which is why NeW has grown. NeW tells women that it is ok to be a conservative woman.
The NeW chapter at American University has been active in other ways as well. They are co-sponsoring an event with the AU College Republicans to host Karl Rove later this month. Such a selection, as the College Fix and McCarty both mentioned, has not gone over well, and also brought harsh, profanity-laced reactions on the Rival, a student-run website.
Nevertheless, despite the backlash, NeW continues to be a platform for conservative women and ideas. As Agness reminds everyone, it really is “ok to be a conservative woman.”