As many of you already know, my daughters and I are survivors of a near lethal domestic abuse situation. This experience has influenced my belief system and thoughts about what it means to be a woman in this world and in my own home.
There is a widely held belief out there that feminist ideals belong to the leftist liberals, and that conservatives are the enemies of feminism. I want to challenge that belief.
I am a conservative feminist, and that is not an oxymoron.
I have first hand experience of what it is like to not have freedom. When I was married (2000-2005) to my abusive husband, I had few rights, if any. I worked, but all my money was siphoned off of our joint account into his account because he decided I did not have the right to manage my own money. This kept me financially dependent on him. I also did not have the right to feel safe, ever, even in my sleep. He would wake me up to fight, he would keep me up when I needed rest, he would take advantage of me when I was sleepy and less able to make good decisions. He would literally lock me in a room or a vehicle to keep me from going places or seeing people. He threatened me with weapons and used violence to keep me fearful and compliant. As long as I did what he wanted, I would not get hurt. I could not even tell the doctor at the emergency room the truth about how my hand was broken, because my ex was sitting there in the room making sure I told the lie he concocted to cover the damage he did to me. I thank God every day for the strength to pull myself out of that situation, and to be able to bring my daughters with me. Most women who experience the level of abuse I did are not able to do so. They either lose their children, lose themselves to addiction, lose their mental health, or lose their life. I have fought very hard to continue to be Jen.
What I have discovered is this: my ability to live my life and make my own choices is impeded by excessive regulations. I am pro-choice, not because I am pro-abortion, but because I deserve the freedom to make that choice for myself without the government's intervention. I do not want a promotion at work because I'm a woman and there is a need to have balanced representation at executive levels; I want a promotion at work because I am capable, intelligent, and have earned it. I deserve to be compensated based on my abilities, not what is between my legs.
Liberals favor more government interventions as a means to equalize the playing field.
Conservatives favor less government interventions so that people can do for themselves.
If I have to depend on the government for gender fairness, the message to me as a woman is that I am not capable of doing it on my own, I need help from outsiders, I need someone to swoop in on a white horse and rescue me from real life. That seems like the opposite of feminism to me.
I am a strong woman on my own. I have the support of friends and loved ones, but I am the one who worked to get where I am today. I am the one who put in the thousands of hours of personal development work to overcome the damage that was done during my marriage. I am the one who raised 2 emotionally healthy daughters out of abuse.
Don't take away from my accomplishments and my successes by telling me I needed the government to help me do that.
I am a conservative feminist because I need the freedom to make my own choices and decisions about what is best for me, and I believe everyone else out there deserves that same right.