Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway gave an interesting interview this weekend where she objected to criticism of her performance in the White House as “gender-based.” The suggestion that sexism drives her critics has unleashed a new round of criticism that she is “playing the gender card.” I thought it would be an interesting question to debate on the blog.
Conway was speaking to Bob Vander Plaats, president of social conservative group The Family Leader, at a conference in Des Moines, Iowa. She stated “I understand that we’re a nation of charged opinions and partisan rancor, but I do find that most of the vitriol comes from people who don’t know me, and who are very brave on social media.” She insisted that “so much of the criticism of me is so gender-based.” Conway added, while encouraging increased civility in policy debates. She added “I pray for my country and I pray for my critics.”
At the outset, I should note that Conway is a former student of mine at George Washington Law School. However, I have previously objected that conservative women are often excluded from celebration of leading feminists and that feminism is often treated as by definition advancing liberal views. Conway is right that she should be viewed as a feminist and a female leader given her accomplishments, particularly in being the first women to head a Republican Presidential campaign.
However, Conway has been slammed for a variety of reasons from defending Sean Spicer in his use of “alternative facts” to dismissing the importance of presidential tweets (when the same day the White House was calling them “official statements”) to her recent use of word cards that has unleashed memes and ridicule.
What do you think about the charge of sexism from Conway?