Discussions Of Sarah Palin's "Feminism" Are (Mostly) Split Down Partisan Lines

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Feministing has a message for the mainstream media: Sarah Palin is NOT a feminist. This is in response to stories by The Wall Street Journal, Townhall.com, the L.A. Times, NPR, Adweek and the New York Post, all of which had the words "Sarah Palin" and "feminism" or "liberated woman" in the headline. While some news outlets are painting the proposed veep as a feminist, there are a few lone voices, columnists who very firmly insist that Governor Palin is not a feminist. Interested in keeping score? The fors and the againsts, after the jump.Yes, She's A Feminist:

"So have evangelicals accepted the sexual revolution? Yes and no. While they generally agree that women should have careers, evangelical women and men still have some traditional social views — that sex should be reserved for marriage, that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that the possibility of abortion on demand, far from being a key to women's happiness, is simply wrong. In other words, like most Americans, they have rejected the more radical elements of feminism."


— Naomi Schaefer Riley, in the Wall Street Journal.

"Palin grew up in an age when many of her female counterparts chose to reject marriage and husbands. She grew up in an era when many women decided to send their children to day-care or not to have children at all. She grew up in an era when women could pursue the most masculine of careers and make a good living doing so. […] If feminism is about giving women choices, she should be cheered as an example of the success of feminism."

— Karin Agness, on Townhall.com.

"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."

— talk show host Laura Ingraham. From a story by Robin Abcarian, in the Los Angeles Times.

"On the one hand, her political views (she's anti-abortion and pro-gun and an evangelical creationist) seem directly counter to the until-now traditionally liberal tenets of feminism. Yet at the same time, she's a powerful governor and mother of five, a combination that seems the very definition of what the women's movement was fighting for. […] Palin is a classic third-wave feminist, benefiting from all that came before her in terms of the women's movement, while remaining the embodiment of patriotic, religious, small-town values. […] Certainly, she's the change agent they might need: a right-wing politico in the body of an attractive modern "executive", wife and mother."


— Barbara Lippert, in Adweek.

"On that stage last night, Sarah Palin represented everything the feminist movement claims to strive for: a successful working woman with a happy family life and a husband who helps raise the children. Yet, rather than hailing her accomplishment, the feminist establishment has sat by silently as she's savaged for being a working mother. Turns out old feminism is really just a bunch of good 'ole girls telling you what to think. […] Where is the condemnation for the sickening misogyny, such as the DailyKOS's mock Playboy cover with Palin? The Huffington Post's photo montage of Palin, headlined "Former Beauty Queen, Future VP?" The Washington Post's Sally Quinn criticizing Palin for being a working mother? Well, I suppose she could've stayed home and baked cookies."


— A column by Kirsten Powers for the New York Post, via FrontPageMag.com.

"Palin's candidacy brings both figurative and literal feminist change. The simple act of thinking outside the liberal box, which has insisted for generations that only liberals and Democrats can be trusted on issues of import to women, is the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion. The idea of feminists willing to look to the right changes not only electoral politics, but will put more women in power at lightning speed as we move from being taken for granted to being pursued, nominated and appointed and ultimately, sworn in."


— Tammy Bruce, in a column for the San Francisco Chronicle. No, She's Not

"Really, most of the 'feminism' talk is coming from conservatives appropriating the language of the movement to push a ridiculously anti-feminist candidate. But what I find even more upsetting is the Palin/feminist talk coming from mainstream outlets who are demonstrating absolutely no knowledge of feminism. Take the Adweek article, for example, which says 'Palin is a classic third-wave feminist, benefiting from all that came before her in terms of the women's movement...' So by this definition, any woman who has benefited from feminism is a feminist. So, all women are feminists? Uh, yeah."


— From a post by Jessica Valenti, of Feministing.com.

"The Palin pick is disheartening on so many levels. For starters, even what little we know about the Alaska governor's policy views is enough to make a traditional feminist weep. The staunchly conservative Palin not only opposes abortion rights (even in cases of rape or incest), she also supports abstinence-only sex education and takes a strict free-market approach toward health care. Of course, these days, the feminist mantle is claimed by pro-life conservatives and pro-choice progressives alike. Palin herself is a proud member of Feminists for Life. Feminism seems no longer to denote a particular set of values or ideological agenda; it is merely a label appropriated to proclaim that one is committed to the best interests of women—whatever one believes those to be."


— Michelle Cottle, in an article for The New Republic, September . (Here's a reaction piece by Emily Bazelon on Slate.)

"Conservatives have probably used the word 'sexist' more in the past week than they have in the past 50 years. This would all have been entertaining if it were not such rank hypocrisy. These are people who have inveighed against affirmative action, a version of which undoubtedly played a part in this selection. […] The governor has talked about the choice she and her pregnant teenage daughter have made, but would deny other women the right to make their own choices. She talks about fighting the old boys' network and corrupt politicians, but would turn over the private reproductive decisions of American women to both. […] But she could certainly help move the inevitable tide of women's rights, the tide that has floated her own boat, by demanding that she be honored with the same tough scrutiny the guys in this race get. Which was, in case these improbable born-again friends of feminism missed it, the entire point of the exercise in the first place."


— Anna Quindlen in Newsweek. Note To Mainstream Media: Sarah Palin Is NOT A Feminist [Feministing]


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