It sure is hard to be a feminist blogger these days. The agitated masses are always demanding more: more extreme claims, more pseudo-scientific evidence of widespread oppression, and more anecdotes testifying to the unconscionable struggle of women the world over. It is precisely why Hanna Rosin, senior editor at the Atlantic and co-founder of Slate’s DoubleX feminist blog, is so out of place: she is surprisingly conservative.
Wherever Rosin writes becomes a hotbed of controversy. She does not hesitate to use cold, hard facts and intelligent analysis to challenge Barack Obama, Equal Pay Day activists, and other liberals who twist statistics to support a wage gap discrimination narrative. It is easy to see how her posts, including “’The Patriarchy’ is Not to Blame for Your Juice Cleanse” and “The Gender Wage Gap Lie,” receive an enormous amount of backlash from her intended audience. Militant feminist commenters on her posts and across social media platforms retaliated, accusing Rosin of upholding rape and criticizing her marriage.
The blogger’s detractors also include fellow journalists. Rosin’s observation that present-day feminism vitally depends on an “irrational attachment to the concept of unfair” so outraged Kat Stoeffel of The Cut that she wrote a satire blaming “the patriarchy” for everything from juice cleanses to public restrooms. Nora Caplan-Bricker of the New Republic dismissed Rosin’s conclusions as mere “mansplaining,” a bizarre feminist term for men telling women what to think and a baffling expression to use against another woman. Feminists from the Nation to Jezebel to the Huffington Post have added to the onslaught of attacks.
Yet Rosin never fails to deliver a quick-witted response to her extremist progressive critics. On one occasion, when accused of misrepresenting the female population as a “rich white lady,” Rosin replied, “I am a rich white lady. So are the people responding to me. Rich white ladies are generally the ones who bother with feminist showdowns.”
Although Rosin is not a perfect conservative (after all, she is still a feminist blogger), she does a consistently excellent job of summing up sane Americans’ reactions to modern feminism: “again, I’m not sure how blaming the patriarchy will help.” One can only hope the others will eventually catch on.