Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

10/13/2008 (6:50 pm)

Deconstructing Anti-Palin Feminism

The weekend’s blogging brought us Michelle Malkin’s response to the unbelievably disingenuous media theme of the rage among Republicans, a rogue’s gallery of unhinged leftists and their ongoing, gibbering fulminations against all things conservative. She’s got to be setting a new internet record, 139 trackbacks and counting. Two more just appeared while I was typing this, and mine will add one more. Malkin is the source concerning unhinged leftists.

I continue to labor toward my first presentation of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist,” part II, but I read this link from Malkin’s site referring to why feminists are filled with rage when they watch Sarah Palin, and had to comment. It’s been a long time since I saw anything so thoroughly irrational. It comes from a site appropriately named “Jezebel,” a label for a domineering harridan of a woman based on the wife of Israel’s King Ahab, from the Old Testament. The contemporary Jezebel admits that merely watching Palin on TV reduces her to a trembling rage, and incites comments from her feminist friends that include frequent f-bombs and crude references to female genitalia, expressions of intended violence and visceral fear and loathing.

She goes on:

Why does her very existence make us feel — and act — so ugly? New York Times columnist Judith Warner calls Palin’s nomination a “thoroughgoing humiliation for America’s women,” because “Palin’s not intimidating, and makes it clear that she’s subordinate to a great man.” Palin, who obviously is incredibly ambitious, masks that ambition behind her PTA placard and “folksy” talk…

I think what Ms. Warner is dancing around, but not saying outright, is that for a certain kind of feminist, Palin is a symbol for everything we hoped was not true in the world anymore. We hoped that we didn’t have to hide our ambition or pretend that our goals were effortlessly achieved (“I never really set out to be in public affairs, much less to run for this office,” the Governor has said.) We hoped that we could be mothers without having our motherhood be our defining characteristic, as it seems to be for Palin. We hoped that we did not have to be perfect beauty queens to get to where we wanted to be in life, that our looks, good or bad, wouldn’t matter. Whether or not you think it’s appropriate to comment on Palin’s appearance, the fact of her attractiveness exists, and is being used to her advantage by Republican sloganeers (“the hottest Governor in the coldest state,” et. al).

Incoherent poppycock. From the top:

1) “Palin’s not intimidating.” So, the goal of feminism was to create an image of women that is intimidating? I thought it was equal treatment for women. In what way is this intimidating image supposed to be helpful in a world needing better communication between people? How is the lack of it a humiliation for feminists?

2) “…makes it clear she’s subordinate to a great man.” So, it’s a rage-inducing humiliation to feminism that a woman aspires to be Vice President before one reaches President? Why? Would it serve feminism better if she expressed disdain for her running mate? How?

3) “We hoped that we didn’t have to hide our ambition…” Just a moment; didn’t Judith Warner say Palin “obviously is incredibly ambitious?” If it’s obvious, what’s hidden? And if the answer to that question is “Well, she’s trying to hide it,” who’s saying that she has to? It’s not alright if she didn’t have to, but chose to anyhow? Would it be equally humiliating to feminists if it turns out that she’s really not all that ambitious, but actually does want to serve the public?

And just for the record, didn’t Hillary Clinton also hide her ambition behind a folksy veneer? Is the problem that Palin’s folksy exterior is believable and probably authentic, whereas Clinton’s was emetic and insincere? How does an insincere, folksy veneer serve the goals of feminism?

4) “We hoped that we didn’t have to … pretend that our goals were effortlessly achieved (‘I never really set out to be in public affairs, much less to run for this office,’ the Governor has said.)” Um… Palin is not pretending that her goals were effortlessly achieved, she’s saying that high office was not her goal. That’s different, and in most politicians, if it were true we would regard it as a good thing. Selfish ambition is a vice, not a virtue.

5) “We hoped that we could be mothers without having our motherhood be our defining characteristic, as it seems to be for Palin.” So, it’s a humiliating defeat for feminism that a high-achieving woman actually revels in being a mother? Isn’t her motherhood a legitimate instance of the “choice” feminists refuse to stop railing about? Or is choice only choice when it chooses to end a life, but something abhorrent if it chooses to rejoice in one? How very, very revealing.

6) “We hoped that we did not have to be perfect beauty queens to get to where we wanted to be in life, that our looks, good or bad, wouldn’t matter. Whether or not you think it’s appropriate to comment on Palin’s appearance, the fact of her attractiveness exists…” I began to write “What’s the evidence that she had to be beautiful in order to get where she is?” And then it struck me, inducing a torrent of abrasive adjectives of my own: did this “Jezebel” woman just acknowledge that a woman has to be ugly in order to achieve the goals of feminism??? Oh my freakin’ GOD! She actually did! That’s the logical implication of the statement, the only way it can be parsed: Sarah Palin cannot serve feminism unless she’s ugly.

Well, gee whiz, now we understand why y’all are reacting in such an ugly manner.

Jezebel’s incoherence actually gives us a clear picture of what’s bugging her, because what makes it incoherent is the pack of lies feminists have been feeding us all along. The reality is that feminism took the entire package of natural femininity and ditched it, attempting to create a new, angry, intimidating, domineering, ruling feminine elite, basically a version of the Marxist-Leninist power dialectic with economics replaced by gender. However, they lied to us about it, and hid their goals behind a palatable facade of egalitarianism and fairness (which Marxists do invariably). Palin enrages them because she’s achieving the sort of thing at which they falsely claimed to be aiming, but without sacrificing natural femininity. She shows them up to be a lie. It’s not good enough for them that she’s a woman and achieving: they wanted her to achieve by cutting off the testicles of any man who dared cross her, and hanging the withered, bloody trophy from her belt. In fact, their rage at Palin makes it clear that achievement was never the point at all, they just wanted the trophies. They hate the fact that she’s civil and family-empowering. Their rage proves that the worst things their critics said about them, at the core of things, are true.

Jezebel’s ending achieves overweening elitism and logical incoherence at the same time:

For many of us looking back at high school, we can now feel a smug superiority towards the homecoming queen. Sure, she was pretty and popular in high school, catering to the whims of boys and cheering on their hockey games, but what happened to her after high school? Often, she popped out some kids and ended up toiling in some not particularly impressive job. We can look back and say, we might have been ambitious nerds in high school, but it ultimately paid off. What’s infuriating, and perhaps rage-inducing, about Palin, is that she has always embodied that perfectly pleasing female archetype, playing by the boys’ game with her big guns and moose-murdering, and that she keeps being rewarded for it. Our schadenfreude for the homecoming queen’s mediocrity has turned into white hot anger at her continued dominance.

Of course, what she illustrates is that Sarah Palin is anything but the homecoming queen. On the contrary, she gets where she’s going “… with her big guns and moose-murdering.” I thought feminism was about women being able to do what men did, just as well as the men. I don’t know any homecoming queens who hunted moose (or deer, which is what the men hunted in Pennsylvania where I grew up.) The archetype Jezebel claims to be rejecting would never have been caught dead handling a deer’s innards or discharging a weapon.

More to the point, she admits that she hates Sarah Palin because Palin is competent and successful. Sad.

The article sports the title “Why Sarah Palin Incites Near-Violent Rage In Normally Reasonable Women.” A clear answer would be to observe that the people who respond to her in this fashion are not “normally reasonable” women.

« « The New Party Story is Back | Main | Some Issues Are More Important Than Others » »


October 14, 2008 @ 1:46 pm #

A bit off the subject, but related: Saw a disturbing 5 minute video of a McCain/Palin rally/procession which walked through the upper west side of NYC. They were booed and cursed at continually by crowds and people on the street as they walked along, carrying some campaign signs.

It was a disconcerting reminder of the very real seething hatred many on the left hold toward anyone with a different point of view. Also scary to see some children participating in the bedlam. Terrific parental role models.

I also believe the hatred was amped up a bit by the Palin factor. McCain just does not seem that polarizing or enraging a figure (to me anyway).

I would dismiss the lunacy as pathetic and laughable even, but these people may be the ones holding sway for a long time come November. From what I saw they had no sense of fairness, decency, mutual tolerance, or respect for a fellow human. It was not violent, but you got the feeling that if someone did escalate to a violent level and say, try to beat down someone who had the temerity to carry a McCain sign, they would not stop it, and many would have cheered and possibly participated. A little scary; I had the sense some of the people in the crowd could have been participants in The Lottery.

What has also become disturbing to me is the coldness and dislike toward Palin from some on the right. It seems to come at this point mainly from the salon-intellectual conservative crowd like Christopher Buckley, but it is seemingly becoming “hip” or “edgy” now for some conservatives to disdain her with sound bites like “What was he thinking about when he nominated the likes of HER?”

This kind of world weary, above it all, ad hominum dismissal without a shred of thoughtful, reasoned justification is to me contemptible. It smacks of the supercilious liberal “We know we’re right and anyone who disagrees is a moron not worthy of engagement” mindset. I have no problem taking a whack at our own when it is justified, but I’m very surprised at some of the potshots directed toward her from people who you would think would at least be somewhat in sync with her overall world view.

I’m sure the above kind of dismissive soundbite gets you a little nod of approval at an urban cocktail party, but we need to do a little better than that, really. I can read all of that I want to on Democrat Underground or hear it at a Joe Biden rally.

Would be interested if you turn your thoughts to this one day. I do not get it.

October 14, 2008 @ 1:59 pm #

While I’m at it, I took my son to an Obama rally in my hometown in March. He addressed the “lack of experience” argument by asking the crowd if they really wanted him to spend another 10 years in DC having his ideas, enthusiasm, and energy being “boiled down” to politics as usual before he tried to do something meaningful.

I understand Sarah Palin has not had the benefit of spending a couple of decades in the beltway being “boiled down”. Although this makes Obama, running to be the leader of the nation, seem fresh and new, it is seemingly held against her, even by many who one would feel would give her the same benefit of the doubt Obama is being given. They do not seem to have a problem with Obama learning in office.

And for that matter, how did the brightest, most articulate, beloved Dem of all, Bill Clinton, stack up experience wise against Palin circa 1992? He was hardly a grey haired old sage with multiple decades of hard core foreign policy experience under his belt when he ran. But that of course, was no problem. He was a DEMOCRAT.

October 17, 2008 @ 12:56 pm #

[…] of my regular readers who calls himself RM posted a comment to my deconstruction of an anti-Palin feminist screed, noting the hostility of the intellectual […]

July 16, 2009 @ 3:11 am #

[…] husband and a passel of kids, including one that most leftists think people should abort. (I addressed this one myself a while back, in response to a hard-core feminist wondering aloud why the mere sight of Gov. Palin sent her and […]

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>