Interview with Author Ashley Herzog

July 15, 2008 | NeW Staff

We are excited to announce that we are starting a new series on the blog–author interviews.  For our first interview, I decided to interview Ashley Herzog.  I have met Ashley at many different conferences in DC and admire her tenacity and spirit.  She decided she wanted to write a book before age 25 and has just done it!  She even mentioned NeW in the book.  Her book, Feminism v. Women, was published earlier this summer.  I asked Ashley 10 questions and here are her responses.  Click on the image below to order the book!

1) Ashley, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and I’m now a senior at Ohio University in Athens. I became involved with the College Republicans and the OU student newspaper, The Post, during my freshman year, and that was really when I became interested in political activism and political writing. I’ve been published in the Washington Times, the Houston Chronicle, the Austin American-Statesman, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and I’m a columnist for I interned for a Texas State Representative, Wayne Christian, and I also worked at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute in Washington DC.

2) When and why did you become interested in politics?
I was always interested in politics, but I really got involved during the 2004 election—I was a Republican living in a crucial swing state, and for the first time, I felt like getting involved in politics would make a real difference.

The interest in women’s issues probably came after I began writing a column for the school newspaper. At the time, it was a very liberal paper (it’s changed a lot since then), and the only people writing about women’s issues were leftist feminists. They had a monopoly on the discussion, so I decided to shake things up.

3) Why did you decide to write a book?
I always said I wanted to publish a book before age 25, but I didn’t really become serious about it until my junior year of college. I had written dozens of columns on feminism and women’s issues, and when I put them together, I realized I had the beginnings of a book there. I worked on it on and off between November 2006 and May 2008.

4) What was it like to write a book as such a young woman?  What were the biggest challenges?
Honestly, I had fun writing it. I sincerely enjoyed doing the research, interviewing other young women about their experiences with feminism (including Karin Agness!), and writing the chapters. My biggest challenge was staying focused and motivated—since I was working entirely on my own schedule (I didn’t have a contract or an agent while I was writing the book), I had to really push myself to finish.

5) What is your goal in writing the book?  What do you hope to teach your readers?

Since I’m only 22 and haven’t graduated college yet, I hope this book will be the starting point for my career as a writer. I’ve proven that I can write a book, so I’m hoping I can sign a contract with a major publishing company to write another. I think my main audience is other college students and young people, since they can relate to the experiences I described in the book.

As the title, Feminism vs. Women, suggests, I don’t believe that feminism is a movement that represents and advocates for all women. It is a rigid ideology dictating what we should think and how they should live. I want my readers to realize that they don’t have to apologize for rejecting the “women’s” movement, because it isn’t a women’s movement at all.

6) What is the biggest failure of feminism today?

There are plenty (and I covered them in the book!), but I’d say feminism’s biggest failure is its goal of making America into a gender-neutral society—where it is socially unacceptable, or even illegal,  to acknowledge that men and women are different. That was why the Equal Rights Amendment failed. Americans realized that men and women are not interchangeable.

7) Can you give us an example of the detrimental impact feminism has had on college campuses?
At my school, I often meet privileged, successful, educated women who sincerely view themselves as victims of the “patriarchy.” It’s unfortunate that modern feminism encourages women who have so much freedom and opportunity to view themselves as oppressed. I think I’ve been more successful than most of the young feminists I know because I have a positive attitude. I don’t assume that people are trying to hold me back because I’m a woman, and I don’t view every setback through the prism of gender oppression.

8) If you could change the world for the next generation of women, how would you change it?

I would bestow the same rights and opportunities that American women have on women in the third world. I feel lucky every day to live in this country, and I truly wish all women had it as good as we do.

9) What do you think women who don’t agree with all the tenants of modern feminism should do?
Do what I did: get involved in elections, write columns, intern with conservative women’s groups. Or start a chapter of NeW. Above all, stop apologizing to feminists for what you believe—it’s such an enormous waste of time.

10) What is your favorite book and why?
My absolute favorite is The Power of the Positive Woman by Phyllis Schlafly. First, it exposes some fundamental flaws in feminist theory. Second, as the title suggests, Schlafly demonstrates that the real key to success as a woman is not a victimhood complex, but a “can-do” attitude and a sense of personal responsibility and autonomy. Like Schlafly, I have a positive attitude about my own opportunities, as well as American society and the role of women in it. I think that’s why I’ve been successful.

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