Tomi Lahren Uses Feminism To Argue Against... Feminism
After her unceremonious departure from Glenn Beck's network The Blaze, Tomi Lahren bashes Obamacare and other Democratic policies by posting videos on her Facebook page. The recurring segment, which she has dubbed "Final Thoughts," often features vehemently argued conservative positions against "angry feminists," the "liberal media," and everyone else that bothers the right-wing commentator.
But what's most interesting about Lahren's videos is not her passionate arguments, which sound like the stuff hard-line conservatives have been peddling since the Reagan revolution — no, Lahren's most compelling moments are when she brings herself into her arguments.
Lahren signs off segments with a brief tagline:
But those are just my final thoughts.
It's almost as if she's diminishing her third-person political argumentation into an intimate, first-person perspective. Indeed, for Lahren, these moments are just part a larger project of speaking her truth, as she understands it. "I speak my truth. If you don’t like it, tough," she said, according to POLITICO, after someone criticized her on Twitter for coming out as pro-choice.
People can love you or they can hate you. It really doesn't matter. What matters is that I'm making a connection with people and getting a reaction. I'm going to stand in my truth no matter what. I have a voice, and I'm going to keep using it.
And Lahren did indeed use her voice at Politicon on Saturday, when she came out hard against Obamacare. Lahren told liberal comedian Chelsea Handler:
I believe it's my right to purchase health care, I don't believe it's my right to pay for it for other people. We need to find alternatives — what we have now is not working. What we had before Obamacare wasn't working.
And then after Handler pressed her, the conservative commentator made a surprising admission: The 24-year-old is benefiting from the Affordable Care Act herself, as she is still on her parents' health insurance.
"These tactics are quite similar to the consciousness-raising tactics of the second-wave American feminist movement."
The ironic thing about Lahren's insistence on "speaking her truth" and making arguments from her first-person perspective (whether or not they make sense based on her actual experience) is that these tactics are quite similar to the consciousness-raising tactics of the second-wave American feminist movement prevalent in the late 1960s.
In consciousness-raising groups, women would openly discuss their personal situations and feelings in an attempt to both bond with one another and see how societal conditions affected them. According to the National Women's Liberation organization's website:
In C-R, women answer a question using examples from their personal lives, then the group uses these personal testimonies to draw conclusions about the political root of women's so-called "personal" problems.
Lahren's "Final Thoughts" Facebook video segments are especially rooted in this tradition. In the videos, which look like they were made using her laptop's camera, Lahren sits in different parts of what is presumably her Dallas, Texas, home. The walls of her home are painted a neutral beige. It looks as if she might have hard-wood floors. The tone is informal. Ignore the fact that she's using modern-day technology to communicate with her sympathizers, and it might as well be an at-home CR session.
"I think that's a testament to why people are watching me," Lahren told POLITICO, when asked about the grainy quality of "Final Thoughts." "It's not the studio, the lighting, the production value. It's my message, and my message is resonating with a lot of people."
Lahren openly and gleefully bashes contemporary feminists. She once even said that "Modern-day feminism has to be the dumbest load of hypocritical crap ever masqueraded [sic] as an equality movement."
Although she may not like feminists, she does owe them — or their second-wave foremothers — some gratitude. Whether intentionally or not, she is co-opting their hallmark tactic, the "personal is political," every time she uploads a video on Facebook.