TPUSA's “cuteservatives roundtable” exposes the insidious impact of right-wing propaganda on young women

“Do you feel like you stand out in a good way to boys because you’re a conservative?” That’s one of the questions Turning Point USA’s Alex Clark asked a table full of college- and high school-aged girls during a recent “cuteservatives roundtable” filmed and posted to YouTube

Clark is TPUSA’s bubbly pop culture and lifestyle influencer, who recently gave a controversial speech at the organization’s radically regressive Young Women’s Leadership Summit where she passed harsh judgment on the use of day care, birth control, and other common necessities of modern life.

“Some of you aren’t old enough to drink yet,” she went on, explaining that at bars men “flock” to her because she identifies as conservative. “They love it.”

Collectively, the table agreed. One college-aged participant responded, “They just see you as a rare gem. That’s the way that I feel about it. They’re like oh, you want to be a tradwife? Perfect.” Online, the “tradwife” movement promotes the idea that women should pursue marriage, then submit to their husbands in all ways. It is closely associated with extreme misogyny and far-right communities.

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Citation From the August 19, 2023, edition of TPUSA's A Conversation With Cuteservatives

Turning Point USA prioritizes outreach to young women, and the message couldn’t be clearer: Give up your dreams and career pursuits in favor of becoming a wife and mother. That message was impressed on the crowd at YWLS in particular, even when a participant clearly indicated that she had no interest in pursuing a domestic path. Clark’s recent roundtable lends further insight into just how the message is landing.

Later, Clark asked the girls: “Do you think we control a lot more than we think with our ability to give or withhold sex as women?”

The high school student at the table responded, “Yes,” adding praise for Clark’s remarks and saying they will help her “be more prepared for parenthood at a younger stage in life.” She then claimed that the left wants young women to “be on OnlyFans,” saying, “They want us to be in unstable relationships to break down the family structure, and I really think that Turning Point is going to help that.” OnlyFans is a subscription-based social media platform known for hosting explicit sexual material.

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Citation From the August 19, 2023, edition of TPUSA's A Conversation With Cuteservatives

It should go without saying, but asking a high school junior whether she should be abstaining from sex as a way to manipulate underage boys is wildly inappropriate. It was also a loaded question — would this young girl have considered abstention as some sort of cudgel had Clark not approached her in such a leading way? It is deeply disturbing that this content is backed by a right-wing organization that reportedly raised $80 million dollars last year.

Clark also used the discussion to justify her radical speech at YWLS.

In the speech, she attacked day care as a solution for working mothers, describing it as a subversive feminist plot to harms children. She said day care rose in popularity only after “women were coerced outside of their natural roles as mothers into the workforce” in the 1970s. She said it is “a lie to tell women that we can have it all.” When Clark venerates motherhood, she is describing a world where women are robbed of most options.

Conveniently, she never mentions that many mothers do not have a choice to forgo work to begin with, nor the risks associated with being financially dependent on an intimate partner. She is selling isolation and submission to teenage girls and young women without telling the full story.

The group also discussed pursuing an education. Clark asked, “Do you feel like college has been a waste of time?” 

“I’m not learning anything,” one responded. “When I go to the Leadership Institute conferences and here, like, Turning Point conferences, that’s where I learn.”

Recalling a time when a teacher instructed her to “look at the textbook,” the high-school aged participant then denied that the two major American political parties had switched positions through the implementation of the Southern Strategy in the 1960s. She said she has “learned more” from James Lindsay, a right-wing crank and self-proclaimed expert on critical race theory, than she has from her U.S. history classes.

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Citation From the August 19, 2023, edition of TPUSA's A Conversation With Cuteservatives

The right-wing war on public education, whether conducted through radical groups like Moms for Liberty, attacks on LGBTQ+ teachers and children, or racist censorship in schools, is disturbing enough on its own. Turning Point USA’s unique message to girls in high school and college — that their education is a waste of time, that above all else they should be wives and mothers and should suppress their own sexualities to manipulate others — targets not only ideology, but the personal identities of young women, infiltrating their lives in disturbingly intimate ways.