Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin's not a woman

Wendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions at U Chicago's Divinity School, says:
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.
Of course, McCain's gained, not lost, female support. And having children and driving them to school doesn't merit mockery. The egregious bit, though, is that the writer, a divinity school prof, denies Palin her humanity because the prof disagrees with Palin's politics. That's from the Washington Post's website.

Over in Salon, Cintra Wilson has some similar thoughts:
Sarah Palin may be a lady, but she ain't no woman.
Wilson takes a different tack, though, and sexualizes Palin to demean and humiliate her:
Like many people, I thought, "Damn, a hyperconservative, fuckable, Type A, antiabortion, Christian Stepford wife in a 'sexy librarian' costume -- as a vice president? That's a brilliant stroke of horrifyingly cynical pandering....Palin may have been a boost of political Viagra for the limp, bloodless GOP....she is their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread....akin to ideological brain rape. What this Republican blowup doll does with her own insides....she does this ideological lap dance. It is a kind of eerie coincidence that Sarah Palin is being sprung on the public at the same time as the bimbo/frat-boy titty comedy "House Bunny," which features a poster of a beautiful young lady with Playmate-style bunny ears, big, stupid eyes and her mouth hanging open like someone just punched her. Sarah Palin is the White House bunny....Sarah Palin may put out to be popular...."
Wilson also thinks that Palin would relegate woman to "second-class, three-holed chattel" status. Setting aside the fact that she's using pornographic attacks to dehumanize Palin, what about the weird "Stepford wife" claim? Palin's a governor. Her career easily eclipses her husband's. You can't claim that she's an example or a proponent of a return to patriarchal gender roles. But there's another bit that's worth quoting:
What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right.
Setting aside the creepy venom of the phrase "Down syndrome baby", this comes close to saying, "Gee, any rational person would've aborted that defective baby. And, seriously, shouldn't the teenager have gotten an abortion, too?"

I highlight this because of its similarity to a current debate between Jacob Weisberg and Ross Douthat. Weisburg argued in Slate that conservatives should want legal abortion because it allows for traditional mom-pop-kids families, rather than more unstable arrangements - teenage marriages or single parenthood. Douthat, in reply, drew a distinction between being pro-choice (safe, legal, and rare) and being pro-abortion (safe, legal, and when appropriate) and argued that Weisburg was saying that Bristol Palin should've aborted the baby. Weisburg took offense.

Ok, one more wacky Palin quote. This time, let's visit our frigid northern neighbors. Heather Mallick, writing for CBC News, says:
She added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn't already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America's name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right.
That's classy. She also calls Republican men "sexual inadequates". Oh, and Juan Cole compared Palin to a Muslim Fundamentalist.

Those fundamentalist Muslims sure do have shockingly progressive notions about gender roles.

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