The Corner

Conservative Women as ‘Baby Palins’

Conservative women have made Elle magazine’s “biggest fashion issue of the year,” the 554-page September issue. In an article cleverly headlined “The Best and the Rightest,” reporter Nina Burleigh strings together interviews with a half-dozen conservative female leaders under 35, including S.E. Cupp of Glenn Beck TV, Dana Loesch of, Regis Giles of Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, Ashley Sewell of Smart Girl Politics, Alyssa Cordova of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, and me. It is nice to see the magazine acknowledging and covering women on the right.

While an interesting read, this article turns out to be less a commentary on conservative women and more an example of how conservative women are viewed by women on the left. To them, we are all “Baby Palins.”

The subheading says it all: “A new generation of conservative women is stepping forward to dis feminists and cheer low taxes, guns, and motherhood. Nina Burleigh reports on how these ‘Baby Palins’ are going to reshape the 2012 presidential election.”

I have never heard anyone claim to be a “Baby Palin.” Of all the interviews in the article, no one self-identified as a “Baby Palin.” In fact, S.E. Cupp and Dana Loesch both cited 9/11 as their inspiration to jump into the political debate, and I started the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) four years before Gov. Sarah Palin hit the national stage. Palin is only mentioned five times in this almost 4,000-word article. Why then try to associate us with Palin and create a unifying narrative around her?

Rather than try to understand how some women could be conservative and the arguments we have against feminism, it is often much easier to explain us all away as “Baby Palins” following in Palin’s footsteps. With the “Baby Palin” label comes the Palin brand. The Palin brand has been so damaged by the media that the “Baby Palin” label serves the purpose of quickly stereotyping and delegitimizing us at the same time. Would a typical journalist call someone a “Palin” as a compliment? Ultimately, categorizing us as “Baby Palins” is a way to dismiss us. 

In her “Editor’s Letter,” Roberta Myers describes us as “young, angry, and brimming with conviction, proudly shoring up the flanks of the Republican party under the banner ‘Baby Palins.’” She must have forgotten that her reporter was the one who created the banner. The most humorous part of this coverage is when Myers refers to us as “Baby Ps.” Watch out J. Lo and P. Diddy.

I know this was Elle magazine and not the Washington Post, but it is important to evaluate media coverage of conservative women, especially since we could have two conservative women in the 2012 race.

— Karin Agness is the president of the Network of Enlightened Women and a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

White House

The Trivialization of Impeachment

We have a serious governance problem. Our system is based on separation of powers, because liberty depends on preventing any component of the state from accumulating too much authority -- that’s how tyrants are born. For the system to work, the components have to be able to check each other: The federal and ... Read More

‘Texodus’ Bodes Badly for Republicans

‘I am a classically trained engineer," says Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, "and I firmly believe in regression to the mean." Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today's politics is problematic. In any case, Hurd, 42, is not waiting for the regression of our politics from the ... Read More

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More

Not Less Religion, Just Different Religion

The Pew Poll tells us that society is secularizing -- particularly among the young -- and who can deny it? That is one reason that the free expression of religion is under such intense pressure in the West. But it seems to me that we aren't really becoming less religious. Rather, many are merely changing that ... Read More