Salon.com recently posted an interview with an editor of Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. The book is a collection of stories of modern day feminists talking about their “eureka” moment when they realized they were feminists. I had a similar moment, but the moment for me was realizing that I was not a feminist in the modern sense; I was a NeW woman.
I was about to begin my second year of college. My dad came home from work one day excited to tell me about a young woman he’d heard interviewed on the Laura Ingraham Show, Karin Agness, the founder of a conservative book club for college women. He had written the website on a scrap of paper from his car and told me this was the group I was going to start at the University of Florida. I smiled at the idea of a forum for conservative women to discuss ideas, but I wasn’t convinced. I told my dad I didn’t know enough about the issues. I may have been conservative, but I wasn’t able to lead a group like this, let alone find other women on campus to join. That’s when he said, “Holly, that’s the point. This is an opportunity for you and other women on campus to come together and learn about the issues affecting you most.” Realizing he had a point, I thought there might be something to this NeW idea. I went online, emailed NeW’s founder, and got excited as I learned more.
But the “aha” moment for me was when I realized I wasn’t alone. I knew if this group was going to get off the ground, then I had to have the support of other women on campus. That’s when I turned to fellow blogette Jessica, a friend from freshman year who knew more about politics and had more zeal than I did at the time. After pitching the idea, it took me about five seconds to convince her. Jessica’s enthusiasm and excitement for NeW encouraged me in so many ways: I recognized that to be a woman and not to be a feminist wasn’t a contradiction. I realized I wasn’t alone in my conservative convictions, and I wasn’t the only one on campus who valued family and motherhood while also having passion to pursue a career. And from that moment on, I was hooked.
We were young, but we were excited about the potential to build a community for conservative women on our campus. NeW was the opportunity we needed to develop and foster my beliefs and then put them into practice. And now, over three years later, I am more proud than ever to call myself a NeW woman.