I love it when other people say exactly what I’m thinking, but in better words. Take Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin for instance:
Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing--the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party--are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women--and to many men too--who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. (via the LA Times)
That’s right. Good for them. ’Bout freaking time. Of course, Steinem goes on to describe many reasons why the ploy (trying to win the female vote) won’t work. I highly recommend the article, if you haven’t seen it. I agreed with her on most points:
Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
It took me a long time to realize that was the goal of feminism, but she’s right. Still, I couldn’t help wonder if she was attacking Palin in the wrong manner, not giving her any credit for being a strong independent woman. (I think she deserves that, even if I don’t agree with her.) I found that feeling echoed by an editorial response to Gloria Steinem’s editorial. The author of the response, Katherine Mangu-Ward, criticized Gloria Steinem for speaking for "all women". Katherine felt Steinem didn’t represent her personal views, rather, she agreed with Palin on some issues, such as gun control, and ultimately suggested she find a stronger argument:
I, like Steinem, will cheerfully defend other women’s "right to be wrong." But that means if you oppose Palin, you had better oppose her on the merits. A perfectly good argument would be, "I detest that lipstick-wearing pit bull because she is wrong about whether polar bears are endangered, she’s a shill for Big Oil, and I loathe her
While that made me laugh, I hate to say, I don’t vote for fashion. I mean, look at Hillary’s day-glo power suits. At the DNC, the woman looked like a freaking traffic cone. Does that make me immediately want to write her off? No. I listen to what she has to say. And when I listened to Sarah Palin, something really bothered me, something that had nothing to do with her hairdo.
It had more to do with her stand on parenting. I don’t care if Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant or not. I do, however, get a cold chill every time she says that her daughter and husband-to-be "chose" to have the baby. (Honestly, I can’t imagine a couple in America with any less choice than those two poor kids.) The reason I get a chill is because ideally, her daughter had a right to make that choice for herself, and Palin would happily take that choice away... from all of us. At that point, I think Gloria Steinem is doing all of us a service by speaking out.
But, as I said, other people summarize it better than I. There was a response to the response by a Miss Amanda Marcotte, a sort final word on the subject, which I thought deserved a strong "hell yeah!"
[A]s someone who sympathizes with libertarians on many social issues, including gun control, I have a question for you, Katherine, woman to woman: Is the right to own a gun really more important than the right to birth control and abortion? I’ve shot more guns myself than had abortions, but I can’t help but point out that the latter probably matters more to my quality of life.
Anyone want to say it with me? Hell yeah!
Thanks for the link, Mom!
Palin was chosen not *just* because she's a woman, but also because she appeals very strongly to the religious right, a large part of the Republican party and a group not particularly enamored of McCain. The fact that McCain chose her made me suspicious of her before I even knew anything about her. I think her eagerness to abuse her power (which we've seen more than enough of recently in the White House) in the past is a real cause for concern along with her religious fundamentalism.
A new pie? How about a change in the recipe so that it serves enough to go around?
Rev Matt, I agree with your assessment that Palin was chosen to appease the religious right. Being religious isn't really an offense in my book, but trying to shove religion where it doesn't belong (i.e., in our bodies and the laws protecting them) certainly is offensive to me. The point of this post was that no other view of Palin's, be it a shared gender or an affection for guns, will make me accept her intents to take away my right to choose.
Bill the Cat, I think that might have been what Steinem was hinting at. I just hope the new pie comes with better table manners. :)
Another blogger pointed out that Palin is the ideal conservative wife - pretty, capable, tough, bear-skinning, gun-totin and so on. She matches the description in Prov 31 - or seems to.
The counter to this, if we have to go archetypical, that Palin is the evil step-mother. Pretty, but evil. Wants to keep you at home sweeping up the cinders while she goes to the ball. Even ready - like Snow White's evil stepmom - to poison you for being prettier than her. How? If you are sexually active, she wants to end your carefree youth by forcing you to bear the child.
You made me go look for pics of Hillary at the DNC. I had totally forgotten that orange powersuit.