I’m pretty much a hippie. I use Dr. Bronner’s; I don’t mind the smell of patchouli; I have a peace sign tapestry in my bedroom; and I’ve protested in the streets and canvassed for liberal politicians. I’m actually upset George McGovern didn’t win the 1972 election even though it was more than a decade before my birth. So it’s a surprising and unsettling experience for me, as I watch the GOP race, to find that I respect and admire a conservative Republican candidate. Carly Fiorina’s policies are in direct opposition to my own, and yet there’s something about her life and story that moves me.
I don’t know exactly how to define feminism, as it has a different connotation in different contexts and for different people. But if, at its basis, it is about women being equal to men and breaking glass ceilings, Fiorina has done just that. To be clear, her stance on defunding Planned Parenthood is, to me, deeply disturbing. Planned Parenthood is not the abortion factory conservatives make it out to be, and in reality it saves lives and gives lower-income women medical treatment they would not otherwise receive. But taking aside the political issues, and looking only at the way she has lived her life, it does seem like there is an element of girl power to it.
It’s not cool in this day and age to see nuance. We have our party lines, and we don’t cross them.
She rose to the top of the tech world, which has a notorious gender-equality problem. Now she’s taking on the Good Ol’ Boys club of the GOP. She’s not dumbing herself down to make people like her, backing down when men are aggressive, or apologizing for herself. It’s a relief to see that on television, in a fictional or real person. She walked into a debate with 10 men, most of whom are of the “cigar and brandy” brand of masculinity, and not just held her own, but also walked away with the headlines the next morning. So many of the strong women I admire are known for their liberal stances: Barbra Streisand, Katharine Hepburn, Lena Dunham. How does a conservative fit into that bias I have mentally created?
It’s not cool in this day and age to see nuance. We have our party lines, and we don’t cross them. We have our issues we care about, and anyone who disagrees is stupid/wrong/the enemy. I don’t want Fiorina to win the election. I don’t even really care if she gets the nomination. But she has lived her life in a way that I can’t help but feel is inspiring, in a way that is how I would like to live mine. Knocking down doors, being unintimidated, and showing that women aren’t helpless or weak. I’ll never be a conservative; it’s just not my value system. But I wouldn’t mind being a little bit like Fiorina. Then again, perhaps seeing the humanity in people just makes me more of a hippie. To which I say, “Smile on your [sister]; everybody get together; try to love one another right now.”
Lori Chandler is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, NY, which is the most unoriginal sentence she has ever written. You can look at her silly drawings on Tumblr, Rad Drawings, or read her silly tweets @LilBoodleChild. Enough about her, she says: how are you?
PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/Getty Image