January 22, 2018 6:00 pm

Danielle Smith: Conservatives aren’t welcome at Women’s March

Watch Above: Alberta's status of women minister has fired back at the opposition UCP's communications chair for criticizing women's marches held over the weekend. Slav Kornik has the details.

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I betrayed my gender this weekend. I didn’t go to the Women’s March. In fact, I didn’t even consider going to the Women’s March. There’s lots of reason why, which I’ll get to in a minute, but let’s say I wasn’t surprised to hear other women felt the same.

I was a bit surprised at the dogpile on Sonia Kont for tweeting out her thoughts on it.

“Unpopular opinion: these ideological marches like the one in Washington does not empower women. Last time I checked, we all had the same rights in society,” she tweeted on Saturday.

Her second tweet read, “I’m all for democratic protests and marches but this one has no clarity of purpose.”

“There are better ways to empower women instead of playing identity politics in a march,” she added in a third tweet.

READ MORE: Alberta’s status of women minister slams UCP member for criticizing women’s marches

Not only did this draw the ire of the Twitterverse, but it drew the particular wrath of Alberta’s Status of Women Minister Stephanie Maclean and MLA Sandra Jansen, who made the persnickety comment: “Conservative women in the UCP weigh in on the Women’s March 2018 … no surprise here.

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That’s right, because anyone who chooses not to march with their sisters actually secretly wants to live in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Kont happens to be a United Conservative Party (UCP) volunteer, so her opinion was used as a shorthand to smear the entire party. No surprises there.

There are lots of reasons why some of us are growing weary of “the movement.” For one thing, in the U.S. it is clearly an anti-Trump movement designed to coincide with his inauguration and with the principal aim of rallying Democrats to elect more Democrats in the midterm elections. If you are a woman who is not an American voter, or a Democrat, or anti-Trump, those might be some of the reasons you might choose to opt out.

LISTEN: Sonia Knot defends her tweet criticizing the Women’s March

Similarly, pro-life women are made to feel unwelcome, but they shouldn’t be. You would think all women could align on the issue of ending gender-selective abortion, since it is targeted and terminating female fetuses. But no, that would be violating women’s reproductive rights.

READ MORE: Breaking the silence: new survey reveals more than half of Canadian women sexually harassed at work

There are some of us who think we have it pretty good in North America and should be fighting for women’s rights in places where they don’t have them: places where they wear niqabs, or are forbidden from driving, or prevented from going to school, or forced into marriage, or given female genital mutilation, or are the victims of honour killings.

But no, that would be culturally insensitive.

Even those of us who could get behind the Time’s Up movement have been aghast that what started out as a long overdue exposure of dirtbags like Harvey Weinstein, who use their position to intimidate and bully women into sexual encounters on the threat of destroying their careers, has morphed into an all-purpose smear campaign on men.

Ashleigh Banfield rightly pilloried “Grace” for trying to destroy the career of Aziz Ansari after what could more accurately be called a bad date. Columnist Rosie Dimanno tore a strip of women who are trying to co-opt the movement to complain about things as trivial as not getting paid enough to do nude scenes in James Franco movies.

READ MORE: Ashleigh Banfield fuels feud with Babe.net reporter, reads her email on air

And then there is the gender pay gap, for which economists have given multiple explanations that go beyond gender that continue to be dismissed. Besides, most of it now seems to centre around multi-millionaire actresses and female media personalities complaining they aren’t getting paid as much as multi-millionaire actors and male media personalities. It all seems a tad self-indulgent.

But even more ridiculous is the dispute that erupted over wearing the pink “Pussyhats,” with some radical feminists decrying them as racist and transphobic: racist because not all vaginas are pink and transphobic because not all women have vaginas. When will the silliness end?

I’m a gen-X woman who grew up raised by the original “supermom”: Sharon married her high school sweetheart, had five children, completed her BComm degree while working full-time and then went on to be the main breadwinner in our family. Bravo to mom and others like her for clearing the path so that women of my generation and younger could have the full range of choices available to us.

When there is a march to celebrate all that women have accomplished, sign me up. Until then, I’ll be sitting it out.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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