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Young GOP women to Elle: Don’t call us ‘Baby Palins’
It comes as somewhat of a surprise that fashion magazine Elle, which is known to feature fun, light pieces such as “Alexander Wang’s New Nail Polish” and “Khloe [Kardashian’s] Killer Calves (And Thighs!),” would publish a four-page spread on conservative women and politics.
This month, the magazine printed a story called “The Best and the Rightest,” which includes interviews from accomplished conservative women, including “Girls Just Wanna Have Guns” creator Regis Giles, Fox commentator S.E. Cupp, conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Independent Women’s Forum Executive Director Carrie Lukas and Network of enlightened Women (NeW) founder Karin Agness.
The article, which dubs the aforementioned women “Baby Palins,” said they “share almost every goal of feminism” and “want to be — and in many cases, already believe themselves to be — ‘empowered’: educationally, financially, sexually. But they resist any effort to put advancing their fellow women front and center.”
Ten days after “The Best and the Rightest” hit the Internet, one interviewee, Ms. Agness, penned a National Review Online column challenging the “Baby Palins” label, which refers to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The final sentence of the Elle piece includes the words, “you can betcha,” an allusion to Mrs. Palin’s frequently criticized catchphrase.
“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,’ ” Ms. Agness writes, adding that many of the interviewed women immersed themselves in politics long before Mrs. Palin’s name appeared on the 2008 Republican ticket. A University of Virginia law graduate, Ms. Agness started NeW four years before Mrs. Palin made headlines.
Ms. Agness went on to say that many choose to lump all young conservative women into the “Baby Palin” category instead of taking time to explore each woman’s ideals. The Washington, D.C., lawyer also noted that Mrs. Palin’s image has been heavily tarnished by news outlets, so the association diminishes young Republican women.
Ms. Lukas, whom the magazine describes as a “Virginia mother of three and former Republican congressional staffer … who quit her job to be with her kids,” said she was “horrified” by her portrayal in the piece.
“I was totally shocked and pretty horrified by the way I was characterized by this Elle piece,” Ms. Lukas told the Daily Caller, adding that she did not stop working when she had children.
“Palin is an interesting media phenomenon but … a lot of conservative women have mixed feelings about her. This idea of putting people in this Palin box is a liberal caricature of what all conservative women are like,” Ms. Lukas said. “It’s ridiculous, this idea that this all started with Sarah Palin. The Independent Women’s Forum has been around for 20 years. There are a ton of conservative women out there. … The idea that everyone is following a trend of Sarah Palin is really demeaning.”
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