Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Please, People: Stop Making Me Defend Sarah Palin

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Look, I don't want Sarah Palin to be our next Vice President and I'd also prefer that she not be our next President. I disagree with her on just about every issue she's got a publicly-stated opinion on, except for maybe her current opinion on the Bridge to Nowhere (if not her initial assessment). Of course, those public opinions number about 5: choice; drilling; Obama's fitness for the Presidency; the media; and... well, I'm sure she's got another opinion on something that she'll tell Charlie Gibson about eventually. I got to write exactly one piece about how I disagreed with her after which it was all "not Trig's mom" this and "this is what abstinence brings to a family" that and plenty of name-calling that used to rightly horrify feminists when flung at Hillary Clinton. And then, finally, some people wrote smart things about why not to support Palin that didn't include the word "bitch" and I breathed a sigh of relief. That sigh came too soon.Because, you see, then came Cintra Wilson's piece in Salon today, and, oh boy, let me count the sexist and/or just plain offensive smears. No, really, let me count 'em!

  1. "fuckable"
  2. "Christian Stepford wife"
  3. "she is their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread"
  4. "Sarah Palin is a bit comical, like one of those cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms."
  5. The part where she compares electing Sarah Palin to allowing child-rapist Warren Jeffs to babysit her kids.
  6. The part where electing Palin "is akin to ideological brain rape."
  7. "this Republican blowup doll"
  8. The part where electing a Republican woman into office equals "women being downgraded to second-class, three-holed chattel."
  9. "the self-abnegating, submissive female Uncle Tommies"
  10. "she has done everything but volunteer for her own circumcision."
  11. "She tacitly promises a roll backward into old-fashioned sexual roles" (despite being a breadwinner and the more powerful spouse).
  12. "We must regard Sarah Palin as the Carmella Soprano of the GOP — an enabling wife of organized crime"
  13. Being a female Republican is performing an "ideological lap dance" for men.
  14. "Sarah Palin is the White House [Playboy] bunny."
  15. "Here's an It Girl vice president who is easy on the eyes."
  16. "She's like a grown-up version of Mary Ann from 'Gilligan's Island.'"
  17. "Women, even if they are vice president, can always look pretty, worship their husbands in the fear of God and never, ever resist invasions from unwanted sperm."
  18. "Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa..."
  19. "She's such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty..."

So, to summarize: according to Wilson, despite being the governor of a state and a candidate for Vice President, Sarah Palin is, basically, a too-pretty Republican bimbo too stupid to realize she's being played by men, completely subservient to her husband and the men of the Republican party with few independent thoughts of her own who is unwillingly impregnated by her husband but too submissive to resist. Um, ugh? Just because she disagrees with feminists doesn't give us the right to forego our (supposedly) strongly-held beliefs about the inappropriateness of sexism. I know plenty of Republican women who understand everything I have — or anyone else has — to say about choice or social justice or pay equity and still vote Republican. They vote Republican because they have strongly-held and often (I know this might be shocking) well-researched beliefs about everything from taxes to defense to choice issues. And I respect their right to hold those beliefs and vote those beliefs without resorting to calling them "stupid cunts" or anything else because I don't actually believe that they are stupid or cunts. I believe that they are wrong on those issues, but they're not ill-informed or tools of some nebulous patriarchal conspiracy. So, look, I really, really want to talk about the issues I disagree with Sarah Palin on. I want to talk about her shifting position on earmarks; about how she hasn't said a word about most of the issues facing the country today; about whether 8 years as mayor of Wasilla and 2 as governor of Alaska prepared her to lead this country; about the firing scandals; about the appropriateness of airplane-assisted wolf hunts. There are lots and lots of things I want to talk about and want to rip into her about and even some good points in the midst of Wilson's sexist and disgusting hyperbole that need to be made about Sarah Palin. But I first want to stop shouting into the darkness about how sexism doesn't just hurt women when it's directed at liberal women. Being sexist to Sarah Palin hurts us by reinforcing stereotypes about women and by allowing conservatives to point fingers at us and call us hypocrites. By assuming she's a Republican because she's too stupid to know better, we're driving the Reagan Democrats and centrist Republicans and conservative independent voters into McCain's arms, because no one wants to vote for the candidate that makes them feel stupid. This is how George Bush won two elections and this is the genius of Karl Rove's strategies — he doesn't ever make those people vote for him, he gets us to do it for him. So, stop with this shit, please. Let's try assuming Sarah Palin is a capable, intelligent politician with whom we disagree and start disagreeing with her as a politician. Why Aren't Women Furious About Sarah Palin? [Salon]