Sarah Palin is all anyone can talk about these days, and I'm not going to be an exception. I'm going to talk about her right here, right now, so if you are sick of hearing about her, don't read this. If you're like me and still fixated on Governor Palin and all she represents, read on and enjoy my latest rant.
Sarah Palin-bashing is something I find quite problematic. I worry that it might have become a socially acceptable outlet for misogyny. Here's the thing; when men said Hillary Clinton was "a stupid bitch" when she was running for president, they were clearly being sexist. Hillary Clinton is an Ivy Leaguer well-versed in topics from international law to theology. Such derisive comments were a transparently sexist backlash against the fact that Hillary Clinton is actually SO SMART IT CAN BE THREATENING to woman-haters. With Sarah Palin, it's different. She's ignorant and poorly spoken. She can't seem to answer a basic question about the economy in a debate and it doesn't seem to bother her that she can't. Because of this, lots of people, even my feminist friends, often find her laughable and have even called her "Stupid." I'm not going to defend her policies. I'm not going to try to pretend this woman is not ignorant. That is not the point of this piece.
The problem I have right now lies in the fact that some of the most aggressively anti-Palin people I've met are men. Men who also didn't like Hillary Clinton and called her stupid when she obviously was not. Such men simply think all women with the gaul to run for office are silly knitwits who don't know their place. Whether they say it that bluntly, that's the clear implication of their prejudicial pattern. So, when talking about Palin in a group that may contain members with that prejudice, I always feel uneasy about enforcing their belief that Palin is stupid by agreeing with them. I'm afraid that so many people (women as well as men, I'm sure) think Palin is a poor candidate not just because she is actually incredibly inexperienced and ignorant, but because she's a woman. After all, from my personal observations, many of these people who decry Plain's lack of political experience in office were the same people who dismissed the argument that Hillary Clinton should get the democratic party's nomination over Obama because she had more experience in office than he did. Does political experience only matter as a reason not to vote for a woman, not as a reason TO VOTE FOR HER?
So, I don't like to agree with the Sarah Palin haters when they're hating on her in public. I don't like doing it, because I wonder why they hate her, and I wonder why they'll think I hate her if I agree with them. Will my agreement really enforce their sexist beliefs? If I ask them why they hate her, would they even give me the straight answer? IF it happened to be out of sexism, would they tell me? Would they even admit it to themselves?
I cried when Sarah Palin accepted her nomination at the Republican National Convention. I cried because I'd never watched a woman receive such a honour in my life-time. I cried because I knew there would now be more sexism to come in a campaign that had already beaten Hillary Clinton black and blue with "the sexist stick." I cried because I knew I wouldn't agree with a fucking word she said, and lamented how the possible first woman vice-president might make the world much worse for women with her anti-choice, anti-gay rights philosophies. And every day, every time someone says they hate Palin, and I'm not entirely sure what the origin of that hatred is, I feel like crying again. I cry because it's just so hard to defend someone against sexism that you don't like. I cry because this woman's political rise has provided a guise for misogynists to hate a woman publicly for any sexist reason they like without coming off as sexist, because all the feminists I know hate her, too...