While Conway isn’t single handedly responsible for Donald Trump being elected, she was certainly instrumental. A strong case can be made that if it weren’t for her, Hillary Clinton would have become President. In my opinion, this has to create tremendous pause within the movement.
Is Kellyanne the troll of women’s rights? The pawn that men used to tear down another woman? Or, is Kellyanne the posterwoman of the movement’s success?
Conway forged a successful career in a highly male dominated field. She was hired as Trump’s campaign manager based on her merits, and she blindly went after Hillary as a competitor regardless of gender ideology. She was hired to do a job, and she did it well. Professionally, Kellyanne represents everything Feminism stands for—except that she used it against them.
Conway benefited from the progress Feminism afforded her, and then potentially sabotaged its future. If it weren’t for Feminist—strong women paving the road before her—she never would have been able to rise to the career and political stature that she’s earned. Ironically, through the various doors that Clinton has opened herself as being a woman in politics, she may have given rise to the woman who would bring her down. Conway, consciously or not, used the “advantage” that was fought for by generations of women before her, and in turn stopped a woman from holding the most powerful and prestigious office in the free world. For Feminists, the symbolism of holding the Presidency is a milestone the movement has been working towards since… forever.
If you’re looking for resolution, well so am I. I’m not going to be able to answer my own question.
For one, it’s not my place. I’m a dude. I’m just observing. I’ll take a stance long after you’ve (women) told me which is the correct answer. I can also see a lot of you saying, “Would we even be having this conversation if it was about two men? What about every other campaign where men pull each other down?” The answer is obviously no. Of course we wouldn’t be talking about it. Men don’t face this problem in our society and it’s certainly not notable when one gains or loses power—which is exactly why there’s a Feminist movement in the first place.
Second, and I do know this much, the idea of Feminism and equality is much larger than the Presidency. While the symbolism is monumental, Feminism is a philosophy to be lived by—not a person.
Third, while at the moment Kellyanne may seem to be the Darth Vader of Feminism, I believe it’s too soon to tell the impact she has had. While Conway has achieved several “firsts” for women, history will decide if her legacy did more harm than good—not us.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that Kellyanne is a person first—a human of her own free will. While appreciation and respect should be given to those before you, she doesn’t “owe” anyone anything. She is not obliged to agree with Feminism or carry on the movement’s viewpoints simply because of the way she was born. She may even agree with Feminism but also reject Hillary’s policy—tangible legislation outweighing symbolism.
Above all, I do hope that Conway was sincere in her pursuit. The ramifications of her actions, regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, will have a lasting impact on our nation and society.