Oh, brother. Carly Fiorina is "redefining feminism," according to a hot-take think piece
by professional critic of feminism Christina Hoff Sommers and coauthor Christine Rosen. Never mind the question of how someone who peaked at 7.7 percent
and is currently at 4.8 percent in the HuffPost Pollster aggregate of the Republican presidential primary could possibly be redefining all of feminism, let's take a look at what she's supposedly redefining it into. The main aspect of Carly Fiorina's redefinition of feminism, it turns out, is:
... that her candidacy represents the beginning of a postfeminist era in politics, where what matters is a woman’s opportunity, not adherence to specific policies or a platform built on “women’s” issues.
Fiorina recently describes a feminist as “a woman who lives the life she chooses. … A woman may choose to have five children and home-school them. She may choose to become a CEO, or run for president.”
She may choose to become a CEO ... but precious few women are hired
as CEOs of major companies, so it's not like this is an opportunity and a choice residing solely in the hands of individual women. She may choose to run for president ... but until we've not only had a woman president but have had enough that it's no longer remarkable, it is again not some individual act unaffected by the biases of others. Mostly what Sommers and Rosen want is anything that's not nasty dirty equality-wanting, unless it's located safely in the past:
The second wave [of feminist victories] actually started in the early 1960s. Its landmark achievements were the work of a group of Republican and Democratic women—lawyers, commissioners and legislators. Aided by male colleagues, they garnered strong bipartisan support for women’s rights in America and won major victories in Congress and in the courts. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act. The Title IX equity law and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act were signed into law in 1972 by President Richard Nixon, a socially conservative Republican. Between 1971 and 1975, a Republican dominated Supreme Court struck down one discriminatory law after another.
Those were not uncontroversial moves back then! Talking like these things just happened because women were awfully polite about asking is ludicrous.
But okay, taking the authors on their own terms, where does Fiorina stand on the need for similar advances today that would, through legislation rather than unseemly displays of activism, make actual equality more achievable for women? Raising the minimum wage? Paid family leave? The Paycheck Fairness Act? The Pregnant Workers Discrimination Act? Oh, right ... while she might pay lip service to the pro-equality laws of the past, when it comes to legislation on the table today, Fiorina opposes things like paid family leave and raising the minimum wage—laws that, by the way, have strong bipartisan support from both women and men, if you're talking about voters rather than legislators. It would be quite a redefinition of feminism, if Carly Fiorina had even a tiny shred of an impact on the definition of feminism.