June 25, 2010

Sarah Palin Is A Title IX Feminazi

Article first published as Sarah Palin Is A Title XI Feminazi on Blogcritics.

The silence from jewsforsarah.com on Glenn Beck's promotion of Elizabeth Dilling is like a tree falling in the woods. I wouldn't wonder what they think if Palin were not sharing a bill with Beck on August 28 at the Lincoln Memorial. That's "I have a dream" day, in case anyone missed the significance.

Other people are hearing that tree fall. A couple days ago, the NAACP and Urban League expressed their intent to keep "I have a dream" where it belongs, not with Dilling-hugging white nationalists like Beck, but with the communities that gave it life.

The loud wails from the traditional feminist left over whether people like Sarah Palin can label herself "feminist" or not, however, that's a different matter. Yesterday, Kathleen Parker weighed in. Today, Gloria Steinem did.

In an interview for @katiecouric, writer and activist Gloria Steinem responded to Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist, saying, "you can't be a feminist who says other women can't" have an abortion.

Couric was joined by Steinem and Women's Media Center president Jehmu Greene. The discussion ranged from sexism in reality TV to the latest field of female GOP candidates.

Greene is a Steinem protege and a rising star within the DNC.

Like a typical rightwing woman, Parker — noted for her call to Palin to step down from VP candidacy — and her gender politics are on the right track, but going the wrong way. Needless to say, Parker, "as a woman" as they say, sounded embarrassed of and for Palin's damaged performance in the early days of her announcement. Like many, her attitude towards Palin has shifted since then. From yesterday:

Palin's full house and career haven't happened without the manly support of one Todd Palin. Real men don't hold their wives back.

Oh Kathleen, for shame. This is an unprovable assertion. There are plenty of successful mothers in both the private and public sectors who did not have or do not need a man's blessing to be successful.

Such women raise boys to become presidents.

The reason Palin so upsets the pro-choice brigade is because she seems so content with her lot and her brood. One can find other reasons to think Palin shouldn't be president, but being a pro-life woman shouldn't be one of them.

Though this is ancient history for me and my generation, some of whom are now welcoming grandchildren into the world, some of the lessons we've learned bear repeating. Chief among them is that many women who have had babies find it harder, if not impossible, to see abortion as nothing more than a "choice" to eliminate an inconvenience.

This is a classic peter pan antifeminist argument, that the only true real women bear children, and that those women who have not borne children are naive enough to think reproductive autonomy is a choice out of lazy, amoral convenience.

Some of us women do not have the luxury of putting all our eggs in the reproductive-rights basket.

In the confused, gender-conflicted world of white rightwing feminism, the only women who count as "women" are those in traditional relationships, preferably with natural-born children, and those with children acquired/purchased by adoption coming in a distant second.

Though they readily (and sometimes rightly) castigate the Steinems of the world as basing "feminism" on one's abortion stance, they ultimately need "women's issues" to be defined solely in childbearing, and child rearing, because that is all their limited experience has afforded them. Why else would nonsense like career-politicians-as-hockey-moms, and mama grizzlies, and barracudas, and pink elephant stampedes, and other ridiculous metaphors like pitbulls-with-lipstick appeal to them? What else, outside of forced-childbirth/childrearing and state-based criminalization of non-traditional relationships, are their stale old elitist, exclusionist, special-rights-for-"opposite-marriage" values based on?

Love? Please. American conservatives define themselves by who and what they hate. American conservatives have little individual identity of their own outside of what groups they are told to despise. Without a hate-object, they are disoriented people.

Of course, that's not what Parker is getting at in her piece. Call it low expectations, but no one would ever expect a Parker critique to ever be able to encompass more than a myopic/white conservative, abstract/pie-in-the-sky/ivory tower point of view. And yet, to some degree, I end up agreeing with her over Steinem though for far different reasons.

Fact: the word "feminist" is a lot like the word "Christian". Just as there are "Blacks against Obama" Blacks, Christians and feminists are no monoliths. Still, Christianity survives and persists; so do Black people. Thus, OCHIACOSP's sentiments on the matter remain the same as ever; I don't accept these fallacious No True Scotsman arguments for who is and who is not a "feminist". Let Sarah Palin do the heavy lifting of making "feminism" interesting and popular again. Then when people inevitably inquire about what "feminism" is, simply tell them, based on actual history rather than Palinoid revisionism which seeks to topple pro-choice feminism, completely.

If we tell them, about our Civil Rights legacy, about feminism's legacy, they will come. I have that much faith in our history, and its full story. In Evangelical terms, this is called witnessing, or testifying. It's a principle that works well, in our Protestant Christian-dominant culture.

Let it also be noted again, probably for the millionth time, the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action, even as many of those mama bears try to eschew what they see as a stigma.

For her part, Our Pretty Tomboy is very quick to cite the federal statute Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 in her own personal success story. But don't hold your breath for how long it takes the the confederate redmeats/conservative male-supremacists of the right to label Sarah Palin a feminazi. That word is reserved for the rest of us, even if on the same grounds.

So, in the meantime, go Sarah Palin. It's good that she is teaching these mouthbreathing teabaggers a thing or two about "feminism", and the gender inequities their side has spent many generations perpetrating. And maybe some day because of her, they'll actually get up off their lazy bee-hinds, go to wikipedia.com, and look up "sexism" and "misogyny", newly-discovered-as-of-2008 terms they were finally forced to take seriously after three waves of feminism, once "Sarah Palin", the phenomenon, burst upon their scene.