Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sarah Palin and Feminism

Once again, there's a buzz about Sarah Palin because of this collection of the 20 Most Obnoxious Anti-Palin Quotes So Far. More on the actual list later, but I wanted to highlight a post by Ann Althouse discussing the list. She focuses in on one of the quotes and makes a point about her view of American feminism. First, the quote in question:
Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.
I've written about this quote before. The first sentence is absurdly remarkable. Apparently one of the qualifications for being a woman is that you aren't a Republican or a conservative. What a forward thinking idea. But Ann digs deeper:
The feminism of the last dozen years has been a dull, uninspired argument for keeping Democratic politicians in power.

But feminism is something that transcends party politics. Women have interests that the parties should have to compete for. I want a vivid debate about what is good for women. Sarah Palin represents one argument, and her feminism will require Democrats to improve their argument and not take women for granted. Sarah Palin brings feminism to a lot of people who've been scorning feminism -- because feminism has seemed like a strand of Democratic party politics.

There's nothing more feminist than a woman having a mind of her own and speaking it. Doniger's feminism says: Shut up and be our idea of what a good woman is.
If you look at poll internals you see a significant fraction of women that disagree with Sarah Palin. You also see a similar fraction that agree with her. To totally discount her because her views are different that yours isn't a very intellectual argument.

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