Wednesday, September 24, 2008
My two cents about Palin, Feminism, and the upcoming election...
I’ve been relatively quiet about this in the blogosphere—the whole Sarah Palin business—because I like to process things a bit before I write about them. Of course in the real world (of the non-digital variety), I’ve been ranting about it almost nonstop. I think my mother is screening her phone calls now, and my husband has taken to hiding in the garage. To put it bluntly: I’m furious.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint what it is that makes me so angry about Sarah Palin. Some of the reasons are easy: I don’t agree with her beliefs about women’s reproductive rights (I’m fiercely protective of a woman’s right to choose), gun control, education, the environment, or the economy. It terrifies me that she even ASKED a librarian about removing certain books from the shelves (And that Palin tried to have her fired when she refused to consider it). It disturbs me deeply when women (who may be at their most vulnerable) are charged money for evidence collection and rape kits. She also appears seriously uninformed about a number political matters, both foreign and domestic.
And no, I didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was, either. But I’m not running for Vice President.
I am the kind of woman the McCain campaign is trying to court using Sarah Palin. I’m a middle-class, nearly-middle-aged, white, college-educated mother. I have a developmentally disabled child. I vote. But I won’t be voting for the McCain / Palin ticket. No way.
I see a good number of Republicans stomping their feet and accusing women who don’t support Palin of some kind of deep-seated misogyny. They just don’t get it. Misogyny is what women are fighting when we protest Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate. The selection of Sarah Palin is--in and of itself--a misogynist act on the part of the Republican party, and that makes me angry.
I’m angry when I see a woman used as a prop to further a man’s political career.
I’m angry when politicians try to dress their patriarchal ideology in a skirt and call it feminism. I think many other women feel the same.
Yes, feminism is—in part—about women being able to smash through the glass ceiling and establish careers in all the same fields as men. Sure, it’s about women having careers and families and not being criticized for choosing both. But it’s also about the fundamental rights that Sarah Palin does not support. As feminists, we want safe streets, a healthy planet, the right to choose what happens to our bodies. We want equal pay for equal work. We want our daughters to be educated about sex (as opposed to abstinence only education). We want them to have access to effective birth control, to recognize that they have the right to make choices, about their bodies and their futures.
I’m not angry because Sarah Palin is a woman, or because she’s the mother of five children and running for the second-highest office in the United States. I don't think I'm in any way obligated to support her candidacy just because she's a woman.
The problem isn’t that women have failed to support Sarah Palin.
The problem is that Sarah Palin has failed to support women.