…that we’re going to see more comments like this one in response to a post by Matt Springer over at BlogCritics:

My “knee jerk” reaction, from what I’ve learned so far, is that this
woman breaks the mold in almost every conceivable way. I like women the
way they are, and think they should continue to be the way they are,
but if you want an example of the feminist model of a woman not being
restricted by pre-conceived notions of what a woman should be, She’s
it. She shows that woman can not only be all they can be, but also
anything they want to be. On their own.

She compares favorably to Hillary in that she’s totally self made. Her
husband, a real man to be sure, had nothing to do with her rising to
governership. There may be some minor experience issues. She’s never
had to dodge sniper fire for instance. Although, she likely would
return fire. While simultaneously breast feeding.

What’s difficult about this is that a lot of it is true. Palin is definitely an independent, outspoken woman who won an election for governor in the rough-and-tumblest state in the country. She does not conform to the traditional feminine gender role in as many ways as she does. And here’s the thing: she is the beneficiary of societal attitude changes brought about by decades of strong, feminist women standing up to demand that they be treated with the same consideration as men. She is in the position she holds because generations of women before her dared to stand up and demand that they be judged on their brains and their abilities rather than on the fact that they have a womb. She is proof that not only can a woman achieve recognition in the arena of national politics – she can do it with young children in tow.

I’m not a Palin fan. I want to make that clear up front – but I am defensive of MY rights as a woman. On that basis, I am heartily offended by those who question her love for her children – especially the youngest – because they have never seen her holding the child. It has no bearing on her ability to do her job, and I’m heartily offended by the notion that the mother of a young child should not be doing anything other than mothering that child. And just as I will defend to the death my right to hold my 17 year old daughter’s hand and support her through the difficult decision to have an abortion, I uphold HER right to be proud of her daughter and support her through the difficult decision to carry her child and raise it.

And here’s where the difference comes in. MY belief system does not limit her daughter’s choices. I would not in a million years presume to tell any woman that she MUST have an abortion, no matter how unfortunate and horrible the circumstances, no matter how much better off I believe the mother or society would be if that pregnancy is terminated. Her belief system, on the other hand, would force my daughter to have child no matter what the circumstances.

We absolutely should be asking hard questions about Palin, but those questions should not be about whether she should be running on a presidential ticket when she has an infant son and a pregnant daughter. Instead, we should be asking: how can she advocate an energy policy that further enslaves us to the oil companies (oops, doh! One pays her husband’s salary!); how does she answer charges that she abused her power as governor for famiy reasons?; why does she feel it’s necessary to lie about her opponent to score points?; and really, can she do her own taxes? Because if she can, she should have figured out that her poor parents, who just bought a service station, aren’t very likely to see an increase in their taxes under the Democrats, and might even be better off.


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