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Women are deeply divided on Brett Kavanaugh

... Part of the “Women for Kavanaugh” movement traces its roots through conservative anti-feminism. For as long as there have been feminist movements in the United States, there have been women stepping forward to say “not in my name.” To them, the most important women’s issue has been keeping the government out of decisions tied to families and child rearing.

In the early 20th century, female activists successfully lobbied the federal government to pass legislation on behalf of infant and maternal health. These efforts sparked a fierce counterattack from what historians have dubbed “conservative maternalists.” These women organized to beat back the feminist campaigns, believing they had a duty as mothers to attack such legislation.

Women like Elizabeth Lowell Putnam of Massachusetts worked through organizations such as the Committee of Sentinels of the Republic and the Women’s National League to Protect our Homes and Children. These groups believed they had a moral obligation to oppose developments like the Children’s Bureau and government-funded prenatal care, because they saw such efforts as unwanted intrusions by an overly aggressive state into their domain, the home.

By stepping into politics in this way — as protectors of their brethren — women have, time and again, foiled progressive efforts at every level of American politics. They have positioned themselves as political guardians of family well-being. These activists asserted that women’s God-prescribed role in society grants them authority in debates over government measures to improve family and community life. They succeed because many Americans share their deeply ingrained beliefs about women’s fundamental differences from men, and unique temperamental and instinctive capacity to best address these issues.

Conservative women’s vigilance applied to threats broadly conceived. In the 1950s, anti-communist housewives and mothers successfully red-baited teachers, school administrators and government officials out of office. Bureaucrats and subversives, they argued, sought to undermine the power of the community and parental rights with experimental pedagogy such as social studies and “new math.”

These efforts reflected how, in the last half of the 20th century, conservative women formed the backbone of the modern religious right. So ardent were women in the burgeoning movement that National Review’s Russell Kirk called women “the conservative sex.” ...

Read entire article at The Washington Post