On October 7 Slate posted a slew of opinion pieces by prominent feminists responding to the question, “Who gets to be a feminist?,” since conservative women have lately been counterclaiming the title from liberals.

I found the response by pro-abort Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the book, Who Stole Feminism? to be enlightening and helpful on 2 counts.

Sommers identified women’s issues that are much more pressing than the legal freedom to kill one’s own children, all dire.

And Sommers recognized conservative women as “male-friendly. They don’t view men as the collective enemy as liberal feminists often do…

The guardians of feminist purity are not amused by the idea of right-wing girl power. Rebecca Traister and Anna Holmes, for  example, recently specified that members of the sisterhood may not oppose “reproductive rights”…

Millions of women, for reasons of conscience, cannot bring themselves to support abortion on demand. According to a 2009 Gallup Poll, 49% of women are pro-life.

Even if you are pro-choice (as I am), it is both unsisterly and impractical to organize a “women’s” movement that excludes – and often demonizes – half of the American adult female population.

After all, there are many other pressing issues: embattled women’s groups in oppressive societies like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Congo are fighting barbaric practices such as child marriage, honor killing, stoning, and genital mutilation.

If the women’s movement would drop the purity test on abortion it would find millions of Catholic and evangelical women eager to join the next great wave of feminism: the emancipation of women in the developing world….

Conservative feminism is pro-woman but male-friendly. If boys are languishing academically, if blue-collar men lose most of the jobs in the recession, or if innocent young men are falsely accused of heinous crimes – as several members of the Duke University Lacrosse team were in 2006, with campus feminists at the head of the mob – conservative feminists will speak out on men’s behalf.

The feminists now in power in our universities and in Washington see the world differently – as a zero-sum struggle between men and women, in which their job is to fight for women. But that is not the attitude of most women, whether conservative or liberal in political outlook. Men are their fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons; when they are in trouble, so are the women who care about them and, in many cases, depend on them.

If conservative women wish to describe themselves as feminists, and if they offer a new model of women’s empowerment that large numbers of American women find inspiring, even determined feminist bouncers like Traister and Holmes won’t be able to keep them from the party.

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