Kathryn Lopez

Is it sexism? It's an interesting question. It surely is a curious thing. After decades of insisting that women have "equal rights," even when that really just means special rights to ensure the numbers of women in executive positions and other job -- despite the priorities and choices women make -- women are on the rise in electoral politics, but they're not exactly the type that longtime female-president proponents had in mind.

In their 2000 book "Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling," Eleanor Clift and her husband, the late Tom Brazaitis, wrote: "Political analysts believe the first woman president will be a 'Sister Mister,' having the body of a woman with the character traits of a man. More than likely she will come from the moderate-to-conservative segment of the ideological spectrum."

"Women," they continued, "frequently go too far in proving their toughness. Seeking credibility, they cater to men's issues -- military defense and the economy -- sometimes at the expense of losing touch with their natural constituency of women."

Women don't all want that. In the run-up to November's midterm elections, one poll found 57 percent of women saying "the private sector has better ideas than the federal government about how to improve the economy and create jobs." And the economy and jobs are what motivated so many right-leaning women to become engaged in what has become known as the tea-party movement.

We don't need whining, as Sarah Palin recently noted, we need solutions: reform; spending discipline; seriousness. The unemployed are probably more interested in those things then academic discussions about feminism or trivia games.

Phyllis Schlafly was a pro-life, conservative woman in politics before such a thing started to become commonplace. She declares her love for Sarah Palin, but has little patience for her and any attempts to give new life and meaning to the word "feminist." It's a word she wants to make "a pejorative."

Like long morning-show conversations about what era John Quincy Adams rightly belongs to, Michele Bachmann seems to have little interest in using or otherwise talking about the f-word. When Kirsten Powers pressed her in a recent interview, Bachmann called herself an "empowered American" -- as "pro-man" as she is "pro-woman." She said: "I'm a woman comfortable in her own skin. I grew up with three brothers. My parents didn't see us (as) limited (by gender). I would mow the lawn and take out the trash; I was making my own fishing lures. I went along with everything the boys did."

And so she does so now, with a feminine touch. No "feminist" and no "Mister Sister." Just another candidate, bringing her gifts, natural and otherwise, to the stage. That's not flaky, that's just where we ought to be.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.