Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at 11:04 AM
I'm grateful to Michele Bachmann for many things: pretending that a small child can be rounded up to a "Founding Father," rounding up her 23 teenage foster girls to babies raised from the crib, and screeching about government handouts while making a fortune off said government handouts. But her latest refusal to contaminate the word "feminist" with fallacious claims to be one makes me especially grateful. Kirsten Powers, who makes a living pretending to be a feminist and a Democrat who just happens to write mainly about how feminists and Democrats are awful people, tried to get Bachmann to join her and Sarah Palin in the game of calling themselves feminists while opposing everything feminists stand for, but Bachmann wouldn't take the bait, instead calling herself an "empowered American."
Let's hope she sets a new trend with this refusal. One of the most irritating things about the past few years of Sarah Palin's shadow has been the tedious debates over whether or not there's such a thing as a "conservative feminist," i.e., a "feminist" who opposes everything that feminists fight for, except the election of women into office. The answer to the query is clearly no, because if anti-feminists get to be feminists too, then the word has no real meaning and we'll have to come up with a new one. And I personally can think of much better ways to spend my time than coming up with a new word for "feminist" that means "actually a feminist instead of just a rich lady who holds office but is opposed to ordinary ladies having the rights that allow them to approach equality with men."
Of course, Bachmann refusing to call herself a feminist means that she has managed to say something accurate, which is so highly unusual for her that I expect her to backtrack and start claiming that she's totally a feminist and has fought as tirelessly for feminism as the 9-year-old John Quincy Adams fought against slavery when he signed the Declaration of Independence.