Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You find sexism in the strangest places

The day John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate, I made Noah and Olivia sit there with me and watch the announcement on CNN. That broadcast included the now-infamous moment where John Roberts of CNN questioned whether Palin should be considering a run for VP when she has a child with Down syndrome, who will require a lot of care, you know. There I was, surrounded by my three kids, yelling at the TV in the middle of a summer day, saying exactly what every other woman in America was probably saying at that moment: Would you ask that question if Palin were a man? And the answer, as we all know even if we all won't admit it, is absolutely not. Of course, that was just the first of many, many variations of that same sexist question.

Olivia, who really just wanted to play a video game or run outside and collect leaves and acorns, asked why she had to sit there and watch the announcement at all. I looked her and, with a definite tone of annoyance in my voice, told her that this woman on TV could possibly be the first female vice president of our country and that as a girl who will one day be a woman, this should matter to her, will matter to her, matters to her right now, in fact, even if she doesn't understand it yet. It wasn't until I watched the reaction to Palin's candidacy that I realized just how much it matters.

What has happened to Palin in the past few days is nothing short of mouth-dropping. The very same people who beat us over the head during the Democratic convention with promises of finally getting women equal pay for equal work are suddenly doubting that a woman with young children can do a tough job. The people who line their camp with NOW and NARAL supporters in an effort to convince us that because they are pro-abortion they are pro-women have suddenly gone all 1950s on us. The word "bimbo" has actually been bandied about, as has "Barbie" and "trophy" and a lot of unflattering and unprintable descriptions of the smart and savvy Sarah Palin. The worst part, I think, is that a lot of the nastiest attacks are coming from women, and that just stinks. Come on, if you're a woman, then you know how tough it is to be a woman in a man's world and you can probably imagine the kind of grit and fortitude it must take to get to the top of the Republican heap not only in Alaska but now on the national stage.

Sarah Palin has changed everything in this race for the White House. Regardless of what you think of her positions on policies, the mere presence of a woman on the Republican ticket has turned the world upside down. Who'd have thought a few weeks ago that we would see the old guard of the Republican party cheering a woman on for vice president while the Democrats tear her down, using her daughter's pregnancy to try to humiliate her and her family and even going so far as to report on her husband's traffic violations from years ago. Has anyone run a license check on the spouses of the other candidates?

Anyway, I could go on and on about this, but I won't. If you want to read a couple of good articles, go to Peggy Noonan's column from the Wall Street Journal by clicking HERE and go to National Review Online for Jim Geraghty's humorous take on the situation by clicking HERE. Here's one more from Andrea Peyser.

1 comment:

A.L. said...

Great blog.