Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh, Sarah...

My fellow interns and I were talking this morning about the Sarah Palin-David Letterman scuffle. While we had nothing new to say on the topic, other than the general "They're both at fault, he shouldn't make asinine sexist jokes, regardless of which daughter he was talking about, and she shouldn't pretend like the military is in any way involved, yadda yadda yadda." Luckily, Pajamas Media showed up in my Twitter feed today with fun (read: infuriating) new (read: old) opinions on why people have such strong reactions to Sarah Palin.

In an article titled "Why They Hate Sarah Palin," in which the "they" seems to stand for everyone the author could think of, John Hawkins explains why everyone from liberal feminists to Beltway elites to Republicans hate Palin. He explains why Palin is the clear favorite to become the first female president, an assertion which he backs up with...nothing, how elitists worry about her educational background because she won't know how to eat caviar properly, and how the conservatives who "never really liked Reagan" want to undermine her because she's too real for them.

What I found most interesting about the article, however, were the author's thoughts about the feminist reaction to Palin and the identity politics of her fame. He first mentions the commonly-held view that a man with Palin's qualifications would never have been picked for a Vice-Presidential run. The problem he identifies in this situation, however, is that the men on the Right are resentful of her. He fails to see the issues of tokenism and sexism involved in Palin's pick, and proclaims the identity politics behind her pick as "the best thing to happen to John McCain's campaign."

Hawkins also, unsurprisingly, has a completely misguided view of the feminist argument, and feminist critiques of Palin. He describes feminism as "intellectually bankrupt...stand[ing] for nothing more than increasing the number of abortions, encouraging teenage girls to act like skanks, and pointlessly complaining about the “patriarchy." Conservative bloviators propagating this definition of feminism, and furthering the idea that a working mother of five who chose not to have an abortion is somehow an antithesis to the feminist ideal, one of the reasons more women don't identify as feminists.

Hawkins himself is operating under the dangerous assumption that the reasons he lists for people not liking Palin do not, in fact, matter. He assumes that because he doesn't respect the various groups who have issues with her, their concerns are completely invalid. His crush on Sarah Palin doesn't make her perfect.

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