You are sure to have seen the cover of the February issue of Vogue even if you don’t hold a lifelong subscription to this women’s fashion magazine. It features Vice President Kamala Harris, wearing a simple black pant-suit and t-shirt. Her black converse sneakers make her look casual and ready to tackle anything the next four years might throw her way. The image has been described by some as cool, effortless and makes the first female vice-president relatable. Some where more critical, saying the image made Ms. Harris look weak and not stately enough. I, on the hand, thought that the photo was creative, sending the message that Ms. Harris is above fashion. As the first woman to break this latest of glass ceilings, does it really matter what she is wearing?
It is a picture vastly different than those Vogue has featured on its cover historically. It doesn’t scream fashion or give nod to the upcoming spring collection. It’s as though the 22-year-old Tyler Mitchell, standing behind the lens, wanted to say that for once, it’s the woman that actually matters, not the label she wears.
After all, didn’t our country finally join the other democracies in the world by electing a woman into one of the highest positions of leadership in The Land? She just broke a pretty thick glass ceiling for goodness sake, who cares what she is wearing…
Her attire aside, the image did stir other feelings within me. As a conservative woman, this latest cover on a coveted subscription left me with so many questions and raw emotions. When I look at the women who are plastered on the covers of fashion magazines time and again, I am left in awe of how very little space is granted to honoring conservative women. The celebration of women and our fight for equality is a noble fight, and all different sorts of women have stood up for those rights. We have come so far and we, as women and as a county, have so much to be grateful for. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the accomplishment of strong and smart women – all women. Not just the women the political left is aligned with. Surely, it would strengthen the women’s movement if the people occupying boardrooms of fashion magazines realized their readership it quite diverse, even if the editors themselves are not.
That Vice President Kamala Harris is featured on the cover of Vogue is fine. And that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was celebrated as a woman who made waves for women’s rights issues is something that should be celebrated and honored. But what about Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to be appointed to the highest court of The Land? Or Nikki Haley, the first female and the youngest governor of South Carolina? Ms. Haley is a daughter of immigrant parents, and the former United States ambassador to The United Nations. Both women worked for their achievements. They broke glass ceilings, are strong and bright and contributed in immensely valuable ways to our country and our way of life.
What are we truly accomplishing by honoring only a certain kind of woman, only one way of thinking and only a specific agenda? Does this mean that as a conservative woman, my voice, and those like mine, has no place in fashion, media or a major news network? Where does our society go from here when we subliminally teach young girls that only ideals of the political left are those that should be highlighted and valued, while all else should be ignored? Do we truly want to live in a society where the voices of those we don’t agree with are silenced? Didn’t I leave Iran to escape that?
As a conservative woman, the liberal left can chose to ignore my thoughts, feelings and ideas. They might deem me unsuitable of recognition and praise. My pro-life, pro-Israel and Zionistic stance makes me a target and labels me closed-minded and prejudiced – or much worse. I, an immigrant who worked hard to get to where she is in life, who volunteers and gives charity regularly, a woman who cares for her community and delivers food to the homeless and educates my children on kindness first, am told repeatedly that I have no place in the greater social networks of late.
Which in turn makes me feel even stronger about my values and my way of life. I admire those women who are not afraid to speak up and stand up for what is right, in an intelligent and kind manner. I admire those women who don’t simply follow the party line, like Nikki Haley, Condoleezza Rice, Kimberly Klacik and Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon. I value a strong woman who is not afraid to speak her mind, who can communicate intelligently and can engage in a civil discourse in a calm fashion. And I admire those women who don’t simply follow the herd, and, above all, could think for themselves.
Which begs the question, what happened to diversity?
Isn’t recognizing and celebrating women’s accomplishments and intellectual diversity what the women’s movement was all about? Or was it that only a certain type of woman should be celebrated and honored, while others should be quietly pushed away from the public eye?
When girls everywhere open InStyle Magazine and see numerous Liberal women as the ideal heroine, a one-sided agenda weaves its way into their young minds, not giving them a chance to question and digest both sides of the spectrum. Which is the number one reason I refuse to have a subscription to any magazine that does not honor all strong, smart, and hardworking women.
When I become a mother, the first rule was don’t judge other moms. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It seems to me that we should go back to the basics and ask ourselves if we can truly afford to be judgmental and discriminatory towards half of the political spectrum. And in doing so, what sort of a future and legacy we are leaving for our children?