By: Hayley Morris
“Make Women Great Again.” From the catchphrase on their website, it sounds like a joke. I thought it was at first too, until I kept reading and realized no, this is horrendously real. The 22 Convention is a three day event from May 1-3 being held in Orlando, Florida, later this year. Described as “the most pro-woman event on planet earth” and “100% funded by women” you’d expect this to be some kind of large feminist convention, right?
Well, no. Scroll further down the website’s lovely feminine pink hues and you’ll be blasted with bold text announcing The 22 Convention to be “the mansplaining event of the century.” That’s because all of the speakers at the event are men, giving speeches on how to “improve your life as a woman,” arguing feminism has caused women to be “pushed to act like men” which has “left millions of women feeling unhappy, confused, frustrated, and hopeless.” The website argues that “povery, crime, mental health issues, and overall decline in well being is rampant today in America and the West in this context, thanks to feminist anti-motherhood propaganda.”
One of the websites main focuses is the supposed “war on motherhood” being raised by the feminist agenda, and how this supposedly distracts women from their biological purpose to reproduce. They add men are “all sizing you up for reproduction” so if you’re not young, skinny, and beautiful, you’re irrelevant in men’s eyes. But don’t worry, if this knowledge makes you panic and wonder how you can “raise your femininity by 500%” these speakers will “teach you the skills to get wifed up, knocked up, and have as many babies as your heart desires” and provide you with “the secrets of becoming the ultimate wife material.”
Now if you’re sitting there reading this thinking, gee, an event where men tell me what I should be doing with my life, this really sounds like the event for me! — don’t worry, it gets even better. Tickets are $1,999 (currently on sale for $999).
It’s easy to laugh at this event and brush it off, saying to yourself, “who in their right minds would actually attend this?” And sure, it does seem incredibly absurd, however the very fact that events like these are still being hosted reveals there are people who do genuinely still believe in the importance of following traditional gender roles. Those with a patriarchal mindset can be particularly impressionable upon young girls and boys, distorting their perceptions of themselves and reinforcing the much outdated stereotype that women are inferior and submissive to men.
In addition to perpetuating the continuing battle against sexism, events like The 22 Convention create an incredibly inaccurate understanding of the feminist movement. Their websites paints feminists to be the destruction of humanity, associating negative data with anti-motherhood feminist propaganda. So let’s get one thing straight: Feminists certainly aren’t against motherhood. Far from it. Feminists support women doing whatever they wish with their bodies and lives, whether that’s remaining single and never having children and pursuing “manly” professions, or getting married and having kids and becoming a homemaker. Events like The 22 Convention completely miss the point of feminism and often convince other people feminists are the reason for all the world’s current woes.
Feminism is empowering. It has granted women around the world the power to vote, to have access to the same economic pursuits as men, to be valued both in the workplace and in society, and has taught both girls and boys to be proud in their bodies and live as freely and happily as they please. The 22 Convention teaches the opposite of this. It forces both men and women to conform to strict gender roles that disregards individual expression and happiness. It needs to be called out for it’s outdated and harmful beliefs about what it means to be “great.” After all, shouldn’t “the most pro-woman event on planet earth” be pro-woman?