Posted by: minnow | September 19, 2008

Is Palin a Feminist?

I heard an interesting comment on CNN last night.  (I wish I remembered who the woman was who said it but I do not even remember what show she was on so I have little chance of coming up with her name.  So, I apologize.  I do not usually quote someone without giving them credit.  Anyway…)  The people on the show were giving their analysis of the Palin factor, and the closeness of the presidential race.  After being shown several sound bites from a variety of women, one of the guests stated that all the clips that the host showed of women who did not like Palin came from “old school” feminists.  She then said, “the old guard fought for two things: abortion rights which they eventually attained and equal pay for equal work which they never achieved.  Now along comes a person like Palin and they think ‘She’s a throw back’ because she does not appreciate what they accomplished.”  In fact, Palin and many women like her do not think the old guard achieved anything at all “for women” because they do not believe the “right” to kill your baby is a good thing. 

Should Palin be elected vice president she will have broken a glass ceiling that has existed since our nation was conceived.  It is a ceiling the old guard has tried to break and could not.  Now, the old guard is doing everything in their power to keep that ceiling from being broken—by Palin.  Why?  They are afraid their signature issue—abortion rights—will be set back.  Their legal, safe, and rare mantra might be challenged.  We may take another look at what it is we are doing by allowing abortion to be a birth control “choice”.  If Palin is elected having children will never again be a valid excuse for women to not achieve what they set their sights on.  Her example alone will prove that children are not the enemy. 

The feminist stream that requires a correct view of abortion rights (aka: keep abortion legal) wants to be seen as the only legitimate voice for women.  The truth is, however, that women all across this country do not believe abortion should be a right given to women.  They have not been able to get behind the feminist movement because they could not in good conscious support the only achievement  feminists have had.  Women who would fight for equal pay, childcare benefits, birth related medical leave, etc. but cannot embrace the pro-choice stance have not found a friendly platform for their concerns because abortion advocates keep pushing them off by suggesting they do not really care about the concerns of women.

 

The choice doctrine is so ingrained in our societal vocabulary that we do not bat an eye when we hear people refer to Palin’s having a Down Syndrome baby as her choice  rather than her conviction.  Do we really think that Palin and her husband chose to have a baby with Down’s Syndrome as if a baby with special needs is what they hoped for?  No more ridiculous I suppose then thinking the million plus babies aborted annually represent women who have been raped, do not have access to birth control, or have not had adequate sex education.  The bottom line is that we have had choice  since the beginning of time and even if Roe vs Wade is completely overturned our choice  will not be eliminated. 

Perhaps Palin’s run for the vice presidency does not have to end with a win to shake up the feminist movement enough to make room for women who oppose abortion but see a need for women to stand up for equal rights in education and the work place.  Hopefully Palin’s current success as a sitting governor and mother of five is enough to encourage other women with similar convictions to give voice to their concerns.  The old guard feminists have turned their backs on Palin because they are afraid.  In the end such behavior says more about the old guard then it does about Palin. 

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Responses

  1. very well written & true.

  2. Senator Clinton and Governor Palin are proof that women can and do diverge on important issues.

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