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In still another fund-raising scheme, NARAL attacks TED and TED Women for thinking wrong thoughts

by | Feb 14, 2014

By Dave Andrusko

NARAL Pro-Choice America president, Ilyse Hogue, is chortling that TED Talks (and its spinoff TED WOMEN) is practically on bended knee.

We read, “Less than 24 hours after TED’s policy towards abortion speakers was exposed in The Nation and a rapid response campaign by NARAL Pro-Choice America TED Talks soften their position last night in the face of public outcry.”

What exactly is going on? What is TED, what is TED Talks, and what is TED Women? ted talks

The parent organization TED [Technology, Entertainment, Design] describes itself as “a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.”

As for “TED talks, “they “are inspiring, creative, informative, entertaining, and, judging by the numbers, wildly addictive,” writes Carmine Gallo for “Presentations on have been viewed more than one billion times. Viewers are watching Ted videos on the site at a rate of more than 2 million times per day.”

[As an viewer, although more often a listener to the conferences on our local public radio station, I concur: they ARE addictive.]

TED Women was spun off in 2010 and the usual pro-abortion harpies have been harping ever since on the notion that these conferences were a consolation prize.

Which brings us back to Hogue and still another manufactured crisis for NARAL to raise money off of.

It surely was no accident that pro-abortion feminist Jessica Valenti lit into TED in a piece written this week for The Nation. Her litany of laments is the most inside of inside baseball, but for us outsiders the gist is actually quite simple.

TED (and even worse TED Women) doesn’t talk enough about abortion, or they don’t talk about it in the approved hectoring/lecturing tones.
“The corporate interpretation of feminism [of which TED Women is cited as a part] has more to do with cheerleading all women’s accomplishments than ending patriarchy and pushing for equal rights. Sometimes it will even cheerlead for women when their accomplishments roll back other women’s rights.”

Clue One. TED and TED WOMEN are part of the “corporate interpretation of feminism.” In English that means either they don’t blatantly advocate for “abortion rights” or—gasp—occasionally highlight the achievements of feminists who do not hew to the Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW line.

Commenting approvingly of Valenti’s piece, Katie Mcdonough (writing for Salon) tells us:

“The TED policy is also emblematic of the larger cultural tendency to cordon off abortion rights from other issues of social and economic justice. As Valenti points out, there is ample room within feminism(s) for complicated personal [my emphasis] views about abortion, but you can’t be a feminist if you don’t support abortion rights.”

Following the publication of her article (according to Newsweek and other outlets), TED posted a tweet that said the quotes of Kelly Stoetzel, a content director at TED and TED Women co-host, were taken out of context in Valenti’s story.

There was more back and forth and somehow out of that Hogue condescendingly concluded (to quote the NARAL release) that “We appreciate their acknowledgement that this is a blind spot on their part and that they are open to thoughtful discussions on this topic.” [Or else?]

Of course, a more accurate description of what Hogue/Valenti are saying is that there is one prescribed position on feminism and abortion. If TED and TED WOMEN fail to actively promote that position, it implies that someone can be a feminist and pro-life. Those are the kind of bad thoughts that the Abortion Establishment is dedicated to stamping out.

Just to be clear, even Valenti concedes TED has featured feminist voices. But she is worried that the wrong people will co-opt the label feminist and places like TED and TED Women may occasionally given them a forum. Here is one of those priceless examples of honest bigotry that pro-abortion feminists are capable of:

“But trying to mold feminism into an identity that anyone can claim [Valenti is especially annoyed that entertainer Miley Cyrus calls herself a feminist], no matter what they believe about women’s rights, is a mistake. Whereas feminism used to be an active belief system that challenged patriarchy, it is now (at least in the public imagination) “anything a woman chooses to do”—even if those actions directly contradict feminist values.

So, shape up TED and TED Women. Organizations ostensibly dedicated to the free exchange of ideas at the highest levels must march to the [one] tune set by the likes of NARAL, which by the way is seen by many younger feminists as hopelessly lost in the 1980s.

And that tune is? That you can’t have “feminism without the fight” against (what else?) patriarchy.

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