It’s time to talk about conservative women

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  • Conservative pundit Ann Coulter speaks at a conference. Coulter was on the receiving end of jokes Day says went too far at a Comedy Central roast.

  • “Sister Cindy,” a street protester, speaks to UNI students outside the Rod Library Oct. 17. Day says students made hurtful comments toward her while she was preaching her divisive sermon.

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KYLE DAY, Opinion Columnist

Last Monday, I happened to walk by when Brother Jed was preaching. A woman working with him was noticed by a guy in the crowd, and he asked if she was the preacher’s wife, joking about the size of her breasts. (For those who were there, yes, that was I in the crowd, calling out the blatant body shaming.)

Last month, Comedy Central (CC) held one of their famous roasts, this time ostensibly targeting actor Rob Lowe. I say “ostensibly” because it ended up being an Ann Coulter roast featuring Rob Lowe, as the conservative pundit herself joked.

CC’s roasts are supposed to be brutally hilarious, and when the roasters actually roasted Lowe, it was. As a Washington Post writer put it, there was “an undercurrent of affection” for Lowe (and the other roasters) throughout the night.

There was no such undercurrent for Coulter, however, who heard that night that she should kill herself (Jimmy Carr) because she was repugnant and “hatched-faced,” that she was a “racist cunt,” (Pete Davidson) that she should start making America great again by wearing a burka (Jeff Ross), and that the only person she would ever make happy was the Mexican who would dig her grave (Nikki Glaser). Among other things.

Now, Coulter has heard all of this and worse throughout her time in the public eye. She’s a tough woman who, love or hate her, has demonstrated that she can take it as well as she can dish it. I’m not worried about her, or most other conservative women, who are consistently the most capable and confident women I know (including my wife).

My concern is with the staggering hypocrisy on display. Conservative women are routinely subjected to the same sort of commentary that progressives, rightly, denounce as demeaning and unfair.

Progressives’ apparent incapacity to comprehend the very possibility of sincere, thoughtful conservative women who are worthy of engagement in public discourse somehow compels them to go to incredible lengths to discredit them.

This discrediting even extends to assuring whoever will listen that conservative women are, somehow, not really women, or at least not really “pro-women.” “Female impersonator” is apparently a favorite phrase of feminist activist Gloria Steinem, who uses it to refer to any woman who deviates from progressive sexual orthodoxy, including Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

After Senator John McCain announced that Governor Sarah Palin was his VP nominee in 2008, Cintra Wilson remarked in an article for that she “may be a lady, but she ain’t no woman.”

Betty Friedan, a feminist leader and author, once called Phyllis Schlafly, a leading female conservative also during Friedan’s time, “Aunt Tom;” and Feministing founder Jessica Valenti backed out of a 2010 panel because doing so would concede that a fellow panelist (conservative Allison Kasic) qualified as a feminist.

My column inches are not enough to document the sheer scope of this demonization. It is so reliable a feature of the conduct of American progressives that I’ve given it a name. I call it the ‘Law of Merited Misogyny’ (the language borrowed from Rod Dreher’s ‘Law of Merited Persecution’), and it states: “It is perfectly appropriate to express any degree of sexism, provided that the intended target sufficiently steps outside of the bounds of acceptable opinions for women to hold.”

The singer Jewel practically confessed to this double-standard at the beginning of her contribution to the Lowe roast, when she joked, “As a feminist, I can’t support everything that’s being said tonight, but as somebody who hates Ann Coulter, I’m delighted.”

Progressives know their hypocrisy. They just don’t care. The few who do care aren’t succeeding in changing that. When liberal pundit Kirsten Powers wrote a column calling for “equal-opportunity accountability” for liberal media personalities guilty of such mistreatment, one of those personalities (Keith Olberman) doubled-down on his vitriol by targeting Powers herself.

I daresay that the only opponents that progressives hate more than female conservatives are black conservatives. But that’s another column for another time. My point here is at least twofold.

To conservatives: pay attention for this, and when you notice it, don’t hesitate to call it out. If nothing else, few things destroy your opponents’ credibility more than effectively revealing their moral and intellectual inconsistencies.

To progressives: get your act together. You wouldn’t think that needed to be said explicitly. Yet here we are.