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#ShesConservative: Young women, ridiculed for political beliefs, share their stories

Image via Facebook/Network of enlightened Women (NeW)

Image via Facebook/Network of enlightened Women (NeW)

What kind of person comes to mind when you think of a conservative? Is it a young female college student?

The Network of enlightened Women (NeW) is hoping to change some of the stereotypes surrounding conservatives and show young women that they aren’t alone with the launch of their #ShesConservative social media campaign.

Just last week, Hillary Clinton made another attempt to relate to young female voters by reflecting on her college experience as a woman in the early 1970s. In a post for Humans of New York, the Democratic presidential nominee described being heckled by men while taking the law school admissions test at Harvard.

But, times have changed, according to NeW founder and president Karin Agness. In 2016, more women than men are enrolled in college, and it’s conservative students who are treated as if they don’t belong.

“In many cases, it’s conservative students who are the subject of unwanted pressure and hostility from their fellow undergraduates and faculty,” Agness wrote in an op-ed for Forbes. “The irony of the current underdog story on college campuses is that it’s Clinton’s feminist standard-bearers who are often to blame for marginalizing conservative women.”

As part of the campaign, several students shared their personal stories about being conservative women on campus.

“People see a young Spanish woman and immediately think that I am a liberal,” said Vanessa Rivera, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University. Fellow students asked, ‘How could you like the party who is pro white men?’ and ‘Do you hate women?’ “These are the types of questions I was greeted with in my ‘open-minded’ discussions,” she said.

Other young women described being called “uninformed,” “unintelligent,” “ignorant,” “heartless,” “anti-woman,” and “anti-minority.”

As part of the campaign, women are tweeting pictures wearing T-shirts that say, “This is What a Conservative Looks Like,” and using the hashtag #ShesConservative.

“To me, being conservative means protecting the fundamental rights of Americans and protecting the Constitution,” said University of North Carolina student Emma Harrison. “I am a conservative because I believe in the rights of the individual to pursue their own entrepreneurial goals, I believe in the morality of the Christian faith, and I believe in the limitation of big government. Attending a liberal university, I am constantly questioned about my beliefs and sometimes am ridiculed. Being a conservative has impacted my life by allowing me to speak out against my challengers and taking a stance for my beliefs.”

The campaign will feature not only the college students affiliated with NeW chapters, but also several prominent conservative women, including former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, and well-known political commentators S.E. Cupp, Katie Pavlich, Kristen Soltis Anderson, and Mary Katharine Ham.