“Is “Feminism” Still Another Dirty “F-Word?”: The Case of Conservative Feminism”

Codes of Conduct - Code Switching and the Everyday Performance of Identity - K. Merinda Simmons

Leslie Dorrough Smith [+-]
Avila University
Leslie Dorrough Smith is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Avila University (Kansas City, MO), where she is also the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She is the author of Righteous Rhetoric: Sex, Speech, and the Politics of Concerned Women for America (Oxford, 2014) and is working on a manuscript on the social significance of political sex scandals in the United States. Her research interests focus on American conservative Protestants, critical theory, and the use of method and theory in both religious studies and gender studies.


Since the 1960s and 1970s, most historical accounts of the feminist movement detail the strong opposition that the movement experienced from politically-organized conservative women. Fast forward several decades later, and many of those same conservative women’s movements are now using openly feminist language – even calling themselves “true” feminists – in their public self-descriptions. While most feminists and other liberal activists have cried foul in response, this presentation considers what is involved in the popular notion that liberals “own” the feminist label, and whether the rhetorical strategies employed by conservative women’s groups are a unique moment of code-switching in their own right.

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Smith, Leslie. “Is “Feminism” Still Another Dirty “F-Word?”: The Case of Conservative Feminism”. Codes of Conduct - Code Switching and the Everyday Performance of Identity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Sep 2021. ISBN 9781781791844. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24869. Date accessed: 31 Mar 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24869. Sep 2021

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