Saturday, September 27, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

Apparently many feminists have
said that Sarah Palin is not a feminist nor is she a friend to feminists and women. I think it is a lot more complicated than that.

Disclaimer: I am a feminist. My interpretation of feminism is equality for all. Somewhere along the way people have co-opted the word and turned it into something dirty. I dislike that and find it hateful. The same way the word liberal has everyone running to hide. When did that happen? Was I napping again?

Right leaning media (What you may ask? When did the media lean right? Has the earth tipped on its axis yet again?) has portrayed the comments of a few to stand in for the whole movement of feminism.... like we are some monolithic group. While Sarah Palin is a woman and stands to break the big glass ceiling in government, she is not the woman that we thought would do it. There are feminists who find her appalling, but we should disagree with her for her politics- and not her gender. But I also find the spin of the right wing (Jonah Goldberg, portray these comments in a way that it sounds as if women are going to throw themselves off the tops of buildings and the quoted as "enraged lefties."

I would like to think that feminism is a big tent sort of thing that allows for disagreement and differences. This is a concept that has disappeared in the political arena in the last 20 years or so. Platforms are written in a way to differentiate the parties so if the Democrats say Potahtoe, then the Republicans need to say Potaytoe. While I admit that I am not keen on Sarah Palin's politics (among other things), she would be a huge step forward for the feminist movement- allowing other women to run for higher offices. As I always say- women have just as much of a right to be idiots as men.
So where does that leave us? Are we feminists narrow minded bigots for not embracing Sarah Palin's meteoric rise to the top of the political heap? I think there are certainly some narrow minded feminists crashing their way towards a Feminist Valhalla. I also think there are a bunch of feminists who take Sarah Palin's trajectory in stride- as if we always belonged here. She is redefining what a woman in politics looks like. She is letting them know what it means to run like a girl-and she is leaving a lot of guys in the dust.


Michelle said...

I too am getting enraged (as much as I do) and confused. I have been accused of being anti-feminist because I was not going to vote for Hillary or now Palin. This from a gay man. He seemed to think that being a femininst meant that no matter who is running, I should throw my support willy nilly at them just becasue they do not happen to own a penis. I agree with you, being a feminist means, to me, that anyone can run, and I can vote for the best person for the job,be it a penis or a vagaga (you can edit that if you want)

smith kaich jones said...

Sarah - This is one of the most sensible posts I've read re:Palin.

The funny thing is, I always felt annoyed BEFORE Palin was part of the picture - the main-stream media always talked about how Hillary had "the female vote" & even though I am not a Hillary fan AT ALL, I felt she was treated in a sexist manner, as were ALL women, since we were apparently all going to vote for her. It's a very bigoted attitude. In addition, if I hear someone talk about "women's issues" I just want to scream. What does that MEAN? MY political issues are no different from my boyfriend's. Ditto when I hear "Latino issues", "black issues", issues for older people, issues for college students, for gays, for whomever. It offends me.

Thanks for such a well-written piece.

For a girl, you done good! :)


SMC said...

Michelle- yes, I too find it offensive that it is assumed that I will vote for a woman simply because she shares my taste in lingerie.

SKJ- Many do have a simple minded approach to politics, but I think there is a quiet bunch of voters out there who don't necessarily ascribe to a party line. If I vote for Obama it won't be because or in spite of his color.

Although.... I sometimes feel that white males assume they have inherited the earth and all seats of authority. That being said, I still find them adorable.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Okay, I agree with all of you... and I want to add in my own $.02 also. One thing that's bothering this particular feminist about the treatment of Sarah Palin is this: As a woman, I want equal treatment, not a free pass. I can't help but think that she's getting a free pass here somehow, since nobody seems to really be asking her the tough questions that they would be asking if she were a male. Or, if they are, they're labeled as "unenlightened" or as "picking on her"... makes me a little crazy. I don't really give a darn whether she wears lipstick or doesn't... but I do care what kind of ideas she has (or not) about all of the myriad issues facing us as a country.

SMC said...

Blackswamp Girl- I agree with you TOO. She should not be getting a free pass because she is a woman and the men who are pretending to protect her by saying journalists are being unfair are not helping anybody- certainly not themselves.

I thought the Couric/Palin smackdown was a good matchup. Couric asked some tough questions about International Policy. Palin answered in an unabashedly honest way that makes me think the country is in REAL danger if McCain is elected and then dies. On the other hand no other politician has had the guts to say "I don't know." It seems as if both McCain & Obama are trying to prove their International chops by showing they can pronounce Ahmandinejad several times in a row.

The real question is who will be their respective Secretary of State?