Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So Not a Woman Thing

And speaking of adding 2 cents to the HuffPo forum on women and Palin (see previous post, below), here's Virginia Rutter chiming in already with 8 cents of her own! -GWP

Not a Woman Thing

By Virginia Rutter, PhD

Framingham State College

Last week I kept getting those emails, "women against Sarah Palin." Though I am a woman against Sarah Palin (and McCain), I did not join. Believe me, Palin is a problem: As Deborah put it in HuffPo today "I firmly believe that Palin is unprepared and find McCain's choice,and logic, insulting to any Clinton supporter worth her salt."

Still, I didn't sign, I didn't forward. Why? Palin's policies and positions are anti-feminist and anti-woman, so why shouldn't women stand up together against her?

Here's why. Because I believe that the "women against" gambit feeds into the identity politics of Sarah Palin that make her so damn scary. Ironically, by mounting a "women against" campaign, we make her a "woman's candidate." And that is what is driving us f-ing crazy. (At least one poll shows a boost in support from Republican women.) Maybe I read too much Foucault back in the day (or perhaps have more recently seen too much Rove?), but I am telling you this looks like a tough one to handle.

Her identity politics are about "I'm a hockey mom so respect me." "I am an authority figure, so don't question me." "I'm a Christian, so don't doubt me." "I am a woman, so don't get feminist with me." On the facts, womenagainstpalin are totally right. On the politics of it, it doesn't work. So, I am not going with womenagagainst. Instead I'm sticking with "she's more Bush than Bush." (Pun intended? Oh gosh, no.)


Kimberly said...

Thank you for posting this. I have felt the same all week but was unsure how to adequately voice my concerns without being part of the identity politics that it promotes.

David said...

Well, I think I understand. But it would help if you're a bit more explicit. It seems that you're left with sitting this one out, saying nothing. What does Foucault say about that? Sorry, I never went to grad school, so you'll have to enlighten me.

Virginia Rutter said...

David, Not sitting it out! Not sitting it out! But very very worried about just how insidious the identity politics related to Palin are. I don't think this is saying nothing. I think it is saying that the issues not the identity stuff is what will work. That may be earnest, but that is what I believe.

Adina said...

I completely agree with you that it's best to attack her candidacy by making points about her being unqualified for the position, rather than making it a women-against-Palin thing or a feminists-against-Palin thing. Frankly, I'm guessing that you (and me) are against her for a myriad of reasons, the least of which may be the fact that we are women.

David said...

Virginia, thanks for the clarification -- now I get it. Duh.

Virginia Rutter said...

Glad I clarified. But David, I think your point and your skepticism are important. It is a close call about which way to take the bad feelings related to SP not to mention JM. But yes I'm just saying there are other tools in the toolbox, and turns out the womenagainst thing is a tool that might cause injuries to the user.

Anonymous said...

The problem (that they aren't getting) is that the attack against her lack of experience can't come from a "sexist place".

I just saw a YouTube video that portrayed her as unworldly and weak in a way that offended my feminist core....and I wouldn't vote for McCain/Palin if they were they only choice. So if I am finding the arguments against Palin a bit too "womanly" what are the perceptions of people a whole lot less educated and politically aware?

I think we walk a fine line between giving her a fair shake and appearing to support her politics. At this point, I am not impressed.