Sometimes people hear only what they want to hear, no matter how many facts and figures and testimonials you throw their way.
I have been having discussions with people who are absolutely convinced that Sarah Palin is the right choice for America, and if feminists can’t support her, it must be because feminism is part of the vast “liberal conspiracy” that is trying to take over the entire country.
In short, the accusation is this: Feminism isn’t really about equality of the sexes, it is about putting in place a liberal political agenda and trying to destroy America under the guise of something benevolent, like equality.
This topic has been one that I have been sitting on for a while now. I was thinking about the different ways this could be answered. As a feminist, I support liberal women candidates for office because they are more in line with my feminist values. That does not mean that I wish only to advance the rights of liberal women in this country. Not at all. I just feel that liberal women candidates (or male candidates) would be more likely to make things better for more women, instead of just a select few that agree with them.
But feminism is not a single mindset. Nearly every person who identifies as a feminist wants to see women’s lives bettered by doing away with a lot of the systemic inequality under which women live. But, as Habladora said in a comment on this post on The Feminist Underground, women can have different ideas about what is best for women.
Some feminists might think that having a woman Vice-President is the best thing for women, because we’d have “one of our team” in the White House in the second highest position in our government. While I might agree with that idea, I will not agree that Sarah Palin fits that equation.
Sarah Palin is an anti-woman candidate, and as a feminist, I cannot support her. This is not a conspiracy. To me, it is nothing more than common sense. Sarah Palin is against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. She did little while rates of sexual and domestic violence stayed high under her leadership in Alaska. She is on a ticket that opposes the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and has not come up with any solutions for implementing it. Again, I think that Palin is a clearly anti-woman candidate, and my support cannot be given to her.
Her narrow sense of morality would only translate into the suffering of many women. As a feminist, I seek to help change our society so that women of all political persuasions and religious affiliations can have the freedom to make informed choices about their lives and live without restrictions placed by politicians imposing their strictly faith-based policies on the country. Palin’s sense of morality may work for her, but I would resent her trying to push it on me, because I do not agree with it and would not be willing to give up autonomy over my life because of it.
So, of course I will not support Sarah Palin, even though she is a woman running for a spot in the White House. Although it might be easier for some of the men I know to call this a liberal conspiracy and not attempt view Palin’s policies through a feminist lens, that is just not accurate. At all.
Thanks to Frau Sally Benz at The Feminist Underground with some help with the links.