At some point, the term “feminism,” like “liberal,” became a dirty word (I guess that makes me a very dirty girl). Be that as it may, the word “liberal” has a true meaning that is far more attractive than one might be led to believe by conservative name-callers (it means favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs; favoring or permitting freedom of action and freedom from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant,open-minded ).
The labels “feminist/feminism” also have a far more benign meaning than we currently suspect. “Feminism” means “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” “Feminist” simply refers to someone who follows that doctrine.
Unfortunately, the term “feminist” has become so criminalized that most women are no longer willing to use it in reference to themselves. Do women realize that in doing so they are actually saying that they don't support equal rights for women? I don't believe for a minute that this is the message they mean to convey, but sadly, even the women who believe that they do indeed deserve equal rights have been brainwashed into saying that they don't...without even realizing it.
Regardless of the negative connotations the label brings to mind for some, the current presidential race here in America has brought attention back to feminist values. For so many women, Senator Clinton's run for the White House reignited the flame of feminism and sadly, for just as many, Sarah Palin's addition to the Republican ticket threatens to extinguish it.
I read a post recently whose author wondered aloud where all the so-called feminists are now...why are they not coming out in droves to defend Sarah Palin against all of those horrible sexist attacks (you know, things like being asked about her administrative experience or her position on nationally-relevant issues). Why, demanded the author, are women not outraged? Where is the National Organization for Women (NOW)...why are their spokespeople so strangely silent? (Actually, they haven't been totally silent - read NOW's official position on Sarah Palin here.)
Why indeed. NOW defines it's purpose as “dedication to making legal, political, social and economic change in our society in order to achieve our goal, which is to eliminate sexism and end all oppression.” To get more specific, NOW lists the following as the organization's primary objectives - To:
eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society;
secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women;
end all forms of violence against women;
promote equality and justice in our society.
Based on what little we know of Governor Palin's positions on the issues, is it any wonder that NOW is not rushing to the aid of Sarah Palin? Not really.
NOW does make a point
of fighting sexism wherever they find it. The trouble is they
haven't found much in the case of Sarah Palin. True, some questioned
her ability to be a mom and lead the nation at the same time which is
sexist, but those concerns were quickly dropped by many and replaced
by far more meaningful and legitimate ones such as “Why is she
refusing to cooperate in an investigation in which she had originally
offered her full cooperation?” “What does she know about
economic policies?” “What foreign policy experience does she
have?” “Why does she keep lying about the bridge to nowhere?”
“Why won't she release her tax information?”
Tough questions on these subjects are not sexist, they are relevant, fair and necessary. Complaining that these types of questions are unfair, “gotcha” media tactics implies that Gov. Palin isn't up to the task...that she can't handle tough questions...that she isn't capable of holding her own in an interview. Now that's sexist.
The women who fought on the front lines of the feminist movement did so because they wanted to make sure that women were not barred from any opportunity simply because of their gender but the reverse is also true. Feminists did not, and do not, promote the idea that women should be entitled to any position or opportunity simply because of their gender. We need to keep this in mind when we think about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Just as she shouldn't be disqualified for the vice presidential slot because she is a woman, we must also remember that she isn't qualified to be vice president (or to be supported by feminists, for that matter) simply because she is a woman.
I think that I can freely speak for many of the women that I know when I say that we don't want any woman, a token woman, in the White House; we want a capable, competent and accomplished woman in the White House – one who has earned her place through hard work and dedication to sound ethical principles. We want a woman of whom we can be proud, someone who stands as an example of that to which we, and our daughters and granddaughters, can aspire. Sarah Palin has shown us in myriad ways that she is not this woman.
Repetitive lies, secrecy, blind ambition, knowledge and experience deficits combined with arrogance...Sarah Palin does not represent me or most of the women I know. She does not embody my highest ideals. She is nothing more than, at best, a throwback to an earlier time when the most a woman could hope for was to be an adornment, a beautiful bauble with little substance or purpose other than to provide a shimmering distraction from the decline of the man upon whose arm she resides. At worst, she is a dangerous woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals no matter how self-serving and detrimental to the common good they may be.
there is no need to accept my opinion of Sarah Palin. Perhaps you
might be more interested in knowing what those who know her best
think. The people of Alaska have a lot to say about
but for some reason it seems that few are listening. See
for yourselves. In a state whose citizens are not exactly known for their participation in public demonstrations, surprising numbers of Alaskans are coming out for anti-Palin rallies.
no mistake, Sarah Palin is not
the new face of feminism. She is simply a woman whose ambition
surpasses her abilities and whose presence on the national political
scene threatens to set the feminist movement back a hundred years.
Ladies, we can do better than this - don't doubt it. While we
all want to see a woman in the White House, we want the
At first glance, Sarah Palin seemed like the answer to many a
woman's dreams, but she is nothing more than a shiny penny. The
glimmering, mirror-like surface attracts our attention, but upon closer
inspection we find that what lies below the surface is far less
valuable than we might have anticipated or hoped.