A friend recently suggested a book title I might be interested in. I love to read. I read one if not two books a week; reading is a staple in my day. The content of what I read varies; for awhile I read almost exclusively books regarding early childhood, an area that is important to me, the owner of a nature early childhood center in Mankato, Here We Grow. I recently finished a series entitled “Angels Walking”, by author Karen Kingsbury but Brene Brown and Simon Sinek can be found in my library as well.
But recently I’ve been interested in learning more about history; specifically, the history of feminism. When did it truly begin? What is the ultimate goal? And who were the key players – ALL of the players not just the ones who identify as more liberal and the ones who the media elects to highlight.
So, when my friend recommended the book, “The Flipside of Feminism: What conservative women know – and men can’t say”, it resonated with me.
Because I am a conservative woman – a young conservative women who owns a business.
To say this past year has been an extreme period of growth would be an understatement. I learned firsthand what happens when people find out you are conservative. And not just closet conservative – outspoken conservative. Yard signs in the front lawn, joined the campaign of a conservative candidate, writing Letters to the Editor conservative.
I haven’t always been involved in politics. In fact, barring voting, I didn’t participate at all. That all changed when I realized the hard way how much control the government has over my business. When I realized that the Department of Human Services was unfairly treating private early childhood businesses and writing rules and introducing legislation that gave public programs an exemption.
I want to begin by saying that I am not a paid lobbyist. I am not part of any organization. Although I did accidentally begin a National Movement called “The Joy Initiative USA”. When I say accidentally, I mean God used my Minnesota Senate testimony for His purpose and it went viral across America. Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, California, Iowa, Oklahoma – and the list goes on.
I never asked for legislation to be written this past session, I simply went up to the Capitol in Minnesota – for over 30 days, logging over 4,000 miles, and I told my story – over and over and over again, in various committees (which is what it takes – stamina). Only my story was backed with evidence – I had asked a teacher at Here We Grow who has experience with research as I do (we both have a Masters Degree – hers in Experiential Education and mine in Educational Leadership) to compile data – public DHS data. Because stories are great, but at the end of the day you must prove why there is an injustice. Our report is over 3,000 pages long when printed. And it is only 15% of licensed child care centers because we were working full-time and compiling data late into the night – and we had only two months to compile enough to make a statement. And boy did it make a statement.
And it was all to save childhood.
That is not an exaggeration. What is happening in Minnesota and across America is a result of public policy from the Obama Administration which reauthorized funding through the Child Case Assistance Program (yes the same program that is wrought with fraud and made headlines this year). What that policy also did was exempt public programs from the requirements that we as private early childhood programs must comply with. Only there is on teensy, weensy little problem. The data shows that DHS is harassing private providers and giving public programs – even programs which legally require inspections such as Head Start – a free pass.
And we outed it – which comes with its own set of risks.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Many within our community were very supportive of my movement and work – defending early childhood and small female owned business.
That is until my first yard sign went up. And then the second. And then the third. And then Gubernatorial Candidate Jeff Johnson and Attorney General Candidate Doug Wardlow met with me.
And then it happened.
I became the topic of a local Mom’s group on social media. Someone didn’t care for my blog post entitled, “The Elephant in the Room” and within a matter of hours my phone was blowing up with messages and calls about what people were saying about me. People I didn’t even know were apologizing for what people were saying in that group.
I’ll address the content of the post quickly since I’m sure it will resurface. First, I spent a great deal of time trying to work with our local elected officials only to be given high fives and handshakes with no action. Nothing significant to hold a state agency, DHS accountable. And yes, I was frustrated with them and no I’m not sorry for holding them accountable. Could I have chosen different wording? Probably. But that’s the other problem America has – some get a free pass and others don’t. I’m part of the group that doesn’t. So the blog post will remain up and I will gladly discuss it with whomever. But back to the main point of why I became a topic of discussion in this social media group.
I’m a female business owner. A female who worked three jobs to put myself through Graduate School. A female who pushes back against the status quo.
Naturally, they assumed that I must be a feminist.
Spoiler alert – I’m not.
Am I a female? Yes.
Do I own a business? Yes.
Am I passionate about my work? Yes.
Did I graduate with a 4.0 from Graduate? Yes.
None of that is because of the feminist movement. None.
I’ll say it louder for those in the back – THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT IS NOT THE REASON FOR MY SUCCESS
Whew. That feels better.
I’m actually a female who is not a feminist. I’m a strong conservative female leader and I don’t believe I’m oppressed.
America has a bad habit of teaching only one side of history, and the feminist movement is one example. But America seems to suppress those women who are strong and not feminists – women such as Phyllis Schlafly. Look her up, she’s a new role model of mine.
So, while America continues to highlight women who are more liberal – I’ll be here fighting for early childhood. If you venture up to the Capitol you’ll find me there – a conservative female who pushes back but is not a feminist.
God led me through quite the journey to get where I am today. It took hard work. It took long nights. It took effort.
Do not for one-minute give credit for what God has done in my life and my hard work to the feminist movement.
Don’t matronize me.