Monday, September 1, 2008

GUEST POST: Rebuilding the Glass Ceiling

As promised, a post on McCain's choice for running mate from first-time blogger at Girl with Pen, Emma Douglas. Emma is a radical red-headed feminist who hopes to be liberated from graduate school in December so that she can read things that are more enlightened than public administration theory. She also spends most of her time working to end violence against women as a member of the only program on domestic violence in the country. She also likes Chihuahuas a lot. We are very pleased to have her here to talk about why Sarah Palin's appropriation of Hillary Clinton's "glass ceiling" has outraged so many feminists. -Kristen

Rebuilding the Glass Ceiling
by Emma Douglas

“McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate”

The text alert noting breaking news from the New York Times lit up my cell phone almost immediately before I received a wave of flabbergasted messages from my circle of friends. The news settled in when it splashed across the television swallowing (as it was intended to) news about Obama’s larger-than-life speech the night before. Having just finished attending a week of convention brouhaha including Obama’s speech at Mile High the night before I stood astounded and thought to myself, “McCain is using Sarah Palin for her tits!”

The choice of Palin, currently the governor of Alaska, as the Vice Presidential nominee says so much about the GOP and the upcoming election, most apparent the party’s desire to share in the sexism that has been rampant in this election. Gov. Palin on the ticket looks like a desperate attempt to reel in Hillary supporters the Republican’s are hoping are disgruntled enough and apparently uneducated enough to switch sides; it’s insulting to women.

Hillary supporters have become the holy grail of the presidential election. Throughout the primaries and now into the general election season this group of people, specifically women, have been fought over by the left and the right. Clinton’s presidential bid was historic and can hardly be counted as unsuccessful. She, unlike Palin, and like Senator Obama, did not conservatize her politics to appeal to a broader electorate. Palin, who herself made reference to Hillary’s 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling in her acceptance speech, is using her conservative ideology as a caulking gun to seal those cracks.

The governor from Alaska is even more conservative than McCain: she is pro-life, anti-gay (though she says she has friends who are gay!), pro-gun, wants to teach creationism in Alaska’s public schools, is in favor of capitol punishment, thinks that global warming is not man-made, doesn’t think that polar bears should be on the endangered species list because it would interfere with Alaska’s ability to drill for oil and, she is of course, in favor of drilling in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge.

McCain’s pick also opened up the door for more of the sexist political commentary that flooded main-stream media while Hillary was running. For example this Youtube video which uses a voice over for McCain portrays him leering after Palin while she is giving her acceptance speech. Comments following a Huffington Post article on the “Six things the Palin Pick says about McCain” refer to Palin in the standard “reduces a woman to her looks and ability to get coffee” remarks.

Palin’s socially conservative politics, coupled with her gender, are terrifying for women. I can hear the booming conservative voice now, sneering, every time our rights are ripped from us, “but she is a woman!”


Anonymous said...

Women are sometimes the worst enemy of women because we believe that the restrictions will apply to other women and not ourselves.

She is the gov. of a state that gets about 80% of its operating money from oil and natural gas. and being Rep. she is going to err more on the fiscal side.

I think we have to be careful too when we use terms like "coffee fetcher" or "beauty queen" with Palin because it puts us squarely in the camp of using sexism as a tool for keeping a woman out of office (any office).

Palin's appeal is going to lie in her personal story and whether or not she can connect with the average person. Americans are not known for voting multi-issues. It will come down to the pocketbook for most. said...

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