Republican Conference Tells Young Women to Give Up Their Dreams & Their Birth Control

“Every ill that we're fighting right now in society has been brought forth by women," Candace Owens said at Turning Point USA's Young Women's Leadership Summit.

Republican Conference Tells Young Women to Give Up Their Dreams & Their Birth Control

This past weekend marked the conservative organization Turning Point USA’s annual Young Women’s Leadership Summit. Over the course of three days, as Media Matters’ Madeline Peltz reported, a stacked roster of some of the worst people on the internet offered some variation of the same speech imploring young attendees to give up their career aspirations and their birth control. The Daily Wire’s Candace Owens literally wrapped up the convention by telling attendees, “Every ill that we are fighting right now in society has been brought forth by women.”

Ironically, nearly all the speakers at the conference—from Owens and TPUSA’s podcast lead Alex Clark to Fox host Laura Ingraham and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)—were invited because of their high-power, high-earning careers and massive platforms. But they spent the duration of their speeches preaching that if young women focus on professional dreams rather than marriage and childrearing, then (as Clark put it) they’re contributing to our “degenerate rotten culture.”

Peltz, who suffered through the conference for the sake of journalism, describes a venue in Grapevine, Texas, teeming with bedazzled purses shaped like guns and “dump your liberal boyfriend” t-shirts available as merch, and even bathrooms papered in advertisements for transphobic tampon brands. Seared into her brain, she says, are hours of speeches akin to Owens’ telling the audience of roughly 2,500 young women, “You should strive to be more like your grandmother.” This, of course, is entirely inconsistent with Owens’ whole persona. “It’s not like she’s gardening, cooking, raising children in the kitchen all day, growing food from her garden,” Peltz notes. “She puts out a show five days a week. She’s never given up her career—that’s why she was there.”

Charlie Kirk—TPUSA’s founder and, for all intents and purposes, a dude—spoke several times at the conference, but offered his most notable remarks to a college student who shared her dreams of becoming a successful surgeon, as well as her concerns with the tension between this ambition and her desire to start a family. “You’re going to have to choose which one matters more,” Kirk told her.

According to Peltz, Kirk instructed the young woman to “spend a couple of days with infants and see how she feels afterward,” told her she’d run out of time to find a husband if she focused on her professional aspirations in her 20s, and then hit her with this utter doozy: “There are a lot of successful, 35-year-old orthopedic surgeons that have cats, and not kids, and they’re very miserable.”

Conservative columnist Benny Johnson told attendees, “There ain’t nothing wrong with being a trad wife. Being a trad wife’s based. Men love this.”

Meanwhile, Clark, who opened the conference on its first day, dedicated most of her stage-time to ill-received tangents on the supposed evils of hormonal birth control and daycare. “Who in this room has decided to ditch hormonal birth control?” she asked. After “very few hands went up,” per Peltz, Clark repeated the question: “How many of you are considering ditching hormonal birth control?” Even fewer hands.

Clark has dedicated much of her podcasting and social media activity to spreading disinformation about birth control and advocating “natural” methods that are scientifically unsound. She said at the summit that once women do have children, they should rearrange their lives to raise them on their own and avoid the supposed evils of daycare. “The feminist movement gave way to the notion that a woman could have her cake and eat it too,” Clark said, telling attendees it’s “a lie to tell women that we can have it all.”

The rest of the conference saw Kirk call women “cliquey” and “mean”—compared to men, who commit the overwhelming majority of homicides around the world—as he encouraged attendees to network with each other. Rants excoriating trans women (including Kirk’s claim that there’s a “relentless assault on women in this country” by “creepy, narcissistic freaks who are men wearing dresses to compete in sports against many of you”) drew the most applause from attendees. Gina Loudon, host of far-right talk show Real America’s Voice, went on a tangent about what cis women are now supposedly being forced to endure, notably skipping over the collapse of Roe: “You’ve had your restrooms taken over by men who say they’re women and you’ve had your entire gender completely, just, undermined,” she said.

The strangest part of all this is that Republicans don’t seem to be using conferences like this to get young women to vote for them, but to push them out of politics and leadership altogether. “The conference was hardly a ‘get out the vote’ program, because the message really was you should defer all politics,” Peltz said. “They don’t have anything else to tell young women, really, other than ‘be a wife, be a mother.’”

I guess when Candace Owens suggested on Twitter that women should lose the right to vote altogether, she really meant it?

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