Monday, September 1, 2008

Radical Feminists and Sarah Palin

Kenneth Davenport has already done a fabulous job identifying the abject hatred found on the feminist left for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who is shown below caring for her 4 month-old son just after being introduced as the GOP vice-presidential running mate in Dayton, Ohio, on August 29.

Sarah Palin With Son

Palin has been slurred as a "token" and stalking horse for Hillary Clinton's cadre of women voters alienated with the Democratic Party's abject sexism demonstrated in the primaries.

The good news, however, is that with the Palin pick, Americans can get a genuine look at what the radical women's rights agenda is all about. It's not about honoring women who work hard, play by the rules, and take on the entrenched big-boys bureaucracy, all the while holding down the role of outstanding wife and mother.

Indeed, Palin is threatening to radical feminists because she shows that a women from a small-town background with regular, all-American education and working-class credentials is the ultimate alternative to the post-1960s women's liberationist ideology of having it all, but only on my politically-correct terms, baby.

When the news of Bristol Palin's pregnancy broke through to dominate the media cycle today, prominent feminist bloggers attacked Governor Palin for the alleged totalitarian stifling of her daughter's right to choose. Here's
Ann Friedman, for example, on the press release on Bristol's decision to have her child:

While it's obvious why they made this statement to assure the public that Bristol was not coerced into keeping the baby (after all, she does have a parent who is a staunch opponent of the right to choose and is currently on the Republican presidential ticket), as my significant other pointed out, there's some serious hypocrisy at play here. I mean, John McCain and Sarah Palin don't believe women have a right to choose. It's absolutely absurd for the campaign to emphasize the fact that Bristol "made this decision," and then push for policies that take away that choice.

In reality, Bristol's actual "choice" was probably not whether to terminate the pregnancy or carry it to term, but whether raise the child herself or put it up for adoption. But the reason that the McCain campaign chose to emphasize Bristol's agency in this decision was to reassure the public that this pregnancy is not coercive. They know the public wants to feel secure in the knowledge that it was Bristol's choice to keep the pregnancy. And coming from the McCain campaign, which opposes a woman's right to choose, that statement is disgusting.
What Freidman here is basically saying (by assumption, since the family's decision-making is a private matter) is that as parents the Palins should not in fact be able to counsel their daughter on what to do, that is, they should not as custodians have a say on the welfare of their grandchild. In other words, they have violated Bristol's rights. Note, of course, that the Supreme Court has upheld parental notification requirements for minors seeking abortion, so Friedman's criticism is an all-out attack on the sanctity of the family institution.

But see also
Echidne's quick rant on McCain's alleged anti-feminist decision-making:

My head is spinning. My first reaction to the choice of Palin was that John McCain is one of those funny guys who things [sic] of the concept of a "woman" as a spoonful out of some imaginary mountain of the characteristic "womanhood", so that any woman is just as good as any other woman, and that he doesn't see any reason why feminists wouldn't vote for Palin. Even if Palin only supports abortion in the case when a woman's life is at risk. No rape exception ... But she's got a vagina, right? So those feminazis must like her.
This is a strange passage, considering how empowered Sarah Palin is, domestically, politically, and socially. To call McCain a sexist in selecting the Alaska Governor defies reason, unless a women in office is only good for rubber-stamping the radical hard line on abortion on demand.

Katha Pollitt, however,
at the Nation, probably offerred the most vehement feminist attack on Palin seen so far:

Palin is a rightwing-Christian anti-choice extremist who opposes abortion for any reason whasoever, except to save the life of the girl or woman. No exception even for rape, incest, or the health of the woman. No exception for a ten-year-old, a woman carrying a fetus with no chance of life, a woman on the edge of suicide - let alone the woman who is not ready to be a parent, who is escaping domestic violence, who is already stretched to the limit as a single mother. She wants to force over one million women and girls a year to give birth against their will and judgment. She wants to use the magnificent freedom the women's movement has won for her at tremendous cost and struggle - the movement that won her the right to run those marathons and run Alaska - to take away the freedom of every other woman in the country.
"Christian" and "extremist" in the same sentence is jolting, but all the rest of this leaves out something important: Why are "over one milliion women and girls" ending up in situations where they'd need to terminate a life? Isn't the freedom to choose a death warrant for the human product of sex without responsibility?

As for all of the other extreme examples Pollitt outlines, I'm sure Palin herself will respond do these questions herself during the course of the campaign. But politically, if the balance is between a "woman stretched thin" having a child she might not have the means to care for, or of an infant born as the result of a botched abortion, without any power whatsoever to escape the cold, uncaring death of a Chicago-area soiled linen-closet, I doubt many Americans would have a hard time identifying the true extreme between the alternatives.

But note
one more example in Taylor Marsh, who so eloquently rebutted sexism against Hillary Clinton during the primaries, but reserves nothing but disdain for Sarah Palin's own career and family choices now that it's clear there's no political angle to be gained any longer by hammering Barack Obama:

At some point, women have to stand up and say no to insulting selections that make a mockery of the rest of us who have not only had to pay our dues, but wait our turn. It took Hillary Clinton 35 years to prove her prowess. It's taken me decades, including honorable investigative work that is often ridiculed, plus years of working tirelessly to make a name for myself, to get where I am today. Women need to be able to stand up against and separate themselves from a political marketing plan based solely on packaging, as opposed to a worthy choice that honors the expertise of women of real stature. The choice of Sarah Palin is gender affirmative action and nothing more, which no independent woman should support or condone. It's nothing less than a slap in the face to all sisters wanting equality based on merit, not marketing.
It all reeks of genuine nihilism (i.e., anti-progress nothingness devoted to the destruction of the traditional family).

As Davenport agued today, Sarah Palin is "the wrong kind of woman." In other words, radical feminists deny successful, family-oriented womanhood to women who don't toe the line to the gendered totalitarianism of abortion on demand for custodial minors or for women whose achievements don't qualify as "real stature" outside of the (f)rigid feminist pro-choice quota system.

Photo Credit: McCain Blogette


Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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