Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin's New Feminism

Gloria Steinem, in today's Los Angeles Times, claims that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is "an unqualified woman" whose "divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention."

Steinem claims that Palin "shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton," and that for Democratic women to "vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, 'Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs.'"


As I've noted before, John McCain's nomination of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate has thrown the radical feminist movement into a debilitating identity crisis. For years I recall women saying that what they really want is the same opportunity for professional success as men. Now, though, when we have a conservative woman who really does "have it all," women's activists are mobilizing against her with a vehemence of a reverse-Suffragette movement.

Folks on the left may be shocked to realize that the culture wars are back, and Sarah Palin represents the vanguard of the "new feminism," as
Robin Abcarian points out in her essay on Palin's challenge to the women's liberation movement:

The topic was Sen. John McCain's vice presidential pick, and talk show host Laura Ingraham was on a roll. Accepting an award from the Republican National Coalition for Life on behalf of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was under wraps working on her convention speech, Ingraham chastised anyone who would suggest that Palin is not up to the job.

As a pro-life working mother of five, including a special needs infant and a pregnant 17-year-old, Ingraham said, "Sarah Palin represents a new feminism. . . . And there is no bigger threat to the elites in this country than a woman who lives her conservative convictions"....

Talking with reporters Monday, McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt took offense at the idea that Palin might have trouble juggling the vice presidency and her family obligations.

"Frankly," he said, "I can't imagine that question being asked of a man. I think it's offensive, and I think a lot of women will find it offensive."

In an interview Wednesday with Katie Couric, prospective first lady Cindy McCain defended Palin and echoed Schmidt: "She will be a marvelous vice president, and she is already a marvelous mother. . . . I think most of the people asking the questions wouldn't be asking this if it were a man."

Later, Cindy McCain nodded strenuously when the Wednesday keynote speaker, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, reacted with outrage to the question of Palin's balancing act.

"When do they ever ask a man that question?" he asked.
Palin's rise to the heights of national politics is nothing short of revolutionary. As Kathleen Parker argues:

Should Palin and McCain prevail come November, feminism can curtsy and treat herself to a hard-earned vacation. The greatest achievement of feminism won’t be that a woman reached the vice presidency, but that a woman no longer needed feminists to get there.
Indeed, and thus we can see why Steinem's so angrily ruffled at the rise of Sarah Palin as America's true feminist role model.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times


Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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