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Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Unhinged Sexism

I simply can not believe the blatantly sexist attacks thrown at Sarah Palin. As a women, I'm beginning to wonder if I've been sold a huge pack of lies. What angers me the most is the suggestion that Sarah Palin isn't a good mother simply because she is running for national office and she happens to have five children. She would not be facing this criticism if she was a father of five children.

What about her husband? He reportedly spends most of his time at home running his businesses. I wouldn't be surprised if his commercial fishing business is largely seasonal. Does this sound familiar? It should to those who know me and my family. My Dad was around much more than most during my childhood due to similar circumstances (he owns and operates a seasonal business).

In fact, during my first nine months of life, my Dad took me everywhere. My Mom decided to go back to teaching and my Dad was my caregiver during the day during the school year. There are stories of how he took me with him when he would take care of business for the canoe livery. One of my Grandfather's best friends talked about it for years. This man, who decidedly came from a very different generation, happened to own our small town newspaper and provided many printing services for my Dad's business. He couldn't get over a businessman caring for his infant daughter, taking her everywhere with him.

My point is this. Gender still does matter a great deal to Democrats when it comes to powerful Republican women. A commentator, a female at that, had the gull to suggest that conservative Republicans are the ones who have issue with a mother of five as the Vice Presidential candidate. Hello? Has this woman met many modern conservatives?

Due to family and societal circumstances, I happen to know roughly an equal amount of conservative Republicans, so-called progressive Democrats, and what I'll term "old school" Democrats (Roosevelt Democrats). Of all of the conservatives I know, there are maybe three out of several dozen that I'd term sexist. They are unlikely to support any female candidate for high national office. Actually, one of the three actually called me almost as it was announced that Palin was the choice. She was upset (yes, women can be some of the most ardent sexists), but as soon as I told her what I had heard about Palin, she was happy (although still disappointed that it wasn't Romney). In my experience, sexism is less prevalent in conservatives than in other camps.

On the other hand, some of the most hypocritical, sexist people I know term themselves progressive Democrats. Many like to term sexual equality in terms of brute sexuality. Women are now able to express themselves sexually. In those terms, many progressives think that that is all that is needed. Yet, they hold women to a double standard. If a woman sleeps around, she is a slut. Think of the portrayal of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears by supposedly PROGRESSIVE Hollywood. Women can have choice, but there is hell to pay if it is the wrong choice.

What about true opportunities, specifically job opportunities? What about what really matters? I, for one, am much more than just a sexual being. This is exactly why this garbage hurled at Palin just leaves me reeling.

I can't help but think of my Grandpa. According to the traditional progressive Democratic party line, he would seemingly be the most sexist person around. He was a lifelong conservative Republican businessman, a father of five daughters, and his wife was a stay-at-home mom. Why then did he win an award from a women's group for his work in supporting women in business? Why did all five of his daughters receive college educations and go on to successful careers, in spite of the fact that all of them are mothers too? Why did four out of five of his granddaughters (of college age) pursue business degrees? He never fit the mold and he never doubted the talents of smart, independent women. My Grandma is the one who made the decision to stay home to raise her five daughters. She may have regretted not pursuing a teaching career, but my Grandpa had nothing to do with her choice (those who know my Grandma know that she is nothing if not her own woman). He would be appalled at what the press is doing to Palin.

Hopefully it is clear just why I am so angry with the treatment of Palin thus far. She is certainly becoming a role model for me. I hope that she continues to inspire a whole generation of women, not just conservative women. She certainly represents a strain of American culture.


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