Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Women Fiddle Over Sexism Debates While GOP VP Pick Sarah Palin Burns Down Years Of Sacrifice And Progress By All Women In America

Women should never wonder why Hillary Clinton didn't win the Democratic nomination. It's obvious. During the democratic primary, too many American women got distracted with whining and wringing their hands about the sexism Hillary Clinton was facing instead of paying attention to the fact that she was failing mightily in garnering the attention and the votes of minority women voters. They were too busy crying about the media slighting "the woman" that they were missing the fact that "their girl" was running a lousy campaign. Instead of campaigning and championing Clinton, women were running around screaming "it's not fair" and "it's her turn" instead of realizing that Obama was out-running her for the position.

Now history is repeating itself.
Women who would never consider voting for McCain, must less a McCain/Palin ticket are now falling all over themselves to defend GOP VP pick Sarah Palin from sexism. And not any ordinary sexism because no one is saying much about Pat Buchanan calling Palin "gal" or Rush Limbaugh calling Palin "babe." And no one is saying a word about the absolutely sexist statement by Karl Rove stating that picking Palin was "not a governing decision, but a campaign decision", clearly admitting she was picked as a marketing ploy and not because she was viewed as ready and able to lead the country. Nothing gets more sexist than that.

No, these women are upset with the bloggers and mainstream media folks on the left for going after Palin on beauty, sexuality, motherhood, parenting, and pregnancies. Yet, what I find most interesting is that every single thing that folks are decrying as sexism were introduced into the election by Palin herself. It was Sarah Palin that rolled out her being a mother and her massive brood as a major qualification for her newly selected position. And I'm sorry, but
the only job I am aware of that celebrates being extremely fertile as a positive attribute is motherhood, certainly not for running as the Vice-President of the United States.

Her stance on family values and morals including being pro-life were celebrated as some of the most important things to know about her. How exactly is it sexism when her carefully constructed familial house of cards came tumbling down with the revelations of her daughter's unplanned pregnancy? Palin wants to tell other women how to live, how to raise their families, to control their options with their own wombs, but we are supposed to be upset when folks point out the hypocrisy. I find that troubling that Palin's allowed to use her motherhood and children as a positive attribute for running for public office, but if her family stuff gets prickly, it's sexism and unfair to criticize her.

I remember how it turned my stomach to watch VP Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary grasping her pregnant belly and admantly stating "this baby is a gift from God!" knowing the role her father was playing in denying that same right to other lesbian women. I remember that the same "private matter" line was tossed around with Mary Cheney, so no one could ask her parents how hypocritical it was to claim gay marriage is wrong and gay parenting is wrong when their own daughter was doing all those very things they said were wrong. I also remember women defending Mary Cheney. Now good ole Mary Cheney is enjoying her family and other gay women struggle for the right to have families.
And what about the GOP painting Palin as a "real" woman in contrast to other women, particularly Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. GOP pundits have already pointed out that Palin wears dresses and skirts unlike Clinton and her rainbow collection of Skittles-colored pantsuits. And of course, Palin is the white standard of feminine beauty, so Clinton the harsh, shrewish, ball breaker is ugly and Michelle Obama is automatically rendered to the sidelines. I wonder how much we are going to hear about Jackie-O and Michelle Obama now that Sarah Palin is on the scene. Where's the upset over that sexism?

And if it is sexist for anyone to point out or discuss Palin's attractiveness or her beauty pageant past, it is equally sexist and condescending to say that Democratic VP pick Joe Biden must "watch" what he says or appear not to be "picking" on the woman candidate when they debate. If Palin cannot hold her own in a vice-presidential campaign debate without depending on men to take easy on her, then what is she going to do when she has to face male leadership from other nations who won't care that she is a woman? What does that say about us as women if we have this expectation that Joe Biden and Barack Obama need to "be nice" to her? That sure in hell ain't equality, that's women expecting something they would ordinaryly call sexist to be enacted. Play nice with the girl during the debate. Now who's being sexist?

Palin's political record concerning women is atrocious bordering on severe neglect of her own gender. I'm wondering when women are going to start asking about the poor quality of life that indigeous women lead in Palin's home state of Alaska. Instead of worrying about the sexism Palin is facing, why aren't we as women worrying about the Inuit women in Alaska that face extreme poverty, high suicide rates, high HIV/Aids rates, high fetal alcohol syndrome rates, high rates of domestic violence and rape assaults and what in the hell has Palin been doing to help those women?

Yet, she is barely one week into her selection and her GOP surrogates and other women are already crying about the sexism she is facing. American women who have battled against sexism and fought for equality for women, should be insulted that a woman who has done absolutely nothing to advance the cause of women, is now using her gender to cry wolf to avoid answering perfectly acceptable questions and logical inquiries into her background that her own actions brought the attention too in the first damn place.

The most significant problem with Sarah Palin is the very fact that she represents a significantly major backwards step for women in American politics and socio-cultural representations of American women. American women have worked too hard to combat and overcome the stereotypes and stigmas that Sarah Palin seems to be so willing to embrace and embody to the American public in order to get elected as vice-president. I'm not exactly sure what women are breaking their necks to defend someone that wouldn't lift a finger to help them.

When Sarah Palin is sitting in the white house plotting and planning how to roll back nearly every hard-earned right women have gained over the years, do folks really think she will be thankful to all the women that defended her against sexism?


Anonymous,  September 3, 2008 at 8:44 AM  

And if it is sexist for anyone to point out or discuss Palin's attractiveness or her beauty pageant past, it is equally sexist and condescending to say that Democratic VP pick Joe Biden must "watch" what he says or appear not to be "picking" on the woman candidate when they debate.

I've been running around screaming this at the top of my lungs.

I actually did a quick take on the sexism thing using Palin's quote about Clinton and the McCain campaign quote that Obama was being sexist for targeting her experience.

GOP live deep in their rhetoric and then you have weak-ass Democrats who believe you should just shut up about this stuff or it will "backfire".

focusedpurpose September 3, 2008 at 10:29 AM  

hi Professor Tracey-

just so that i am clear, is "women" code for "white women"?

the fact that white women say women, meaning only their white selves seem to confuse many. despite their consistent actions which should clear up any confusion, somehow, most non-white women foolishly insist they are somehow counted and considered. i.don'

when white women cry it is a national emergency. when non-white women are brutalized and die, it is just another day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor...


gsutiger September 3, 2008 at 10:40 AM  

Very well written author.

Tami September 3, 2008 at 3:20 PM  


I hear ya. Sarah Palin is useless, but we can't say regressive, sexist talk is not okay for Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton, but a-okay against the other side.

My thing is, this woman is suprememly unqualified, is under investigation for shenanigans while in office, is on the wrong side of most every woman-related issue around, was once a member of some wacko successionist group, was not vetted by the McCain folk AT ALL--there are like 5 million reasons to hate her that don't have anything to do with, say, whether a mother of five should run for higher office.

Her record is disgraceful. We need to be making sure voters know about that. I'm more concerned that Palin wants to take away my right to choose than I am that she once was in a beauty pageant.

Anonymous,  September 3, 2008 at 5:54 PM  

Well said, Prof.

notburnttoast September 3, 2008 at 6:07 PM  


I agree with you. When they use her heading the PTA as part of the justification for her executive experience and play up her role as a mother of five - then her being a mother is fair game and we can ask the question about how she plans to do it all. We can also discuss what went wrong as a parent. Don't put your pregnant daughter on stage if you do not want her discussed.

Republicans = hypocrites and Sarah Palin is the poster woman.

I Do No Want a McCain/Palin administration.

Let the Republicans defend her - we have an election to win.

sista gp September 3, 2008 at 8:55 PM  

I'm afraid that many may think Obama will now be a shoe-in and won't vote at all, solidifying McCain a win.

femmeautonome September 4, 2008 at 11:09 PM  

excellent remarks? May I link to this post on my blog?

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