October 2, 2008

Rebecca Traister on Palin: cry me a river. Not.

Excellent commentary by Rebecca Trasiter at Salon.com today after Palin fumbles repeatedly in interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric.

Highlights include:

Where I come from, a woman — and especially a woman governor with executive experience — doesn’t have to rely on any elder or any man to protect her and pull her ass out of the fire. She can make a decision all on her own. (Palin was more than happy to tell Charlie Gibson that she made her decision to join the McCain ticket without blinking.) I agree with Coates that the McCain camp was craven, sexist and disrespectful in its choice of Palin, but I don’t agree that the Alaska governor was a passive victim of their Machiavellian plotting. A very successful woman, Palin has the wherewithal to move forward consciously. What she did was move forward thoughtlessly and overconfidently, without considering that her abilities or qualifications would ever be questioned…

So here it is, finally. And as unpleasant as it may be to watch the humiliation of a woman who waltzed into a spotlight too strong to withstand, I flat out refuse to be manipulated into another stage of gendered regress — back to the pre-Pelosi, pre-Hillary days when girls couldn’t stand the heat and so were shooed back to the kitchen.

Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude — trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice — well, then, I don’t feel bad for you.

When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid — or in Palin’s case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling — I don’t feel bad for you.

When you don’t take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don’t support, I don’t feel bad for you.

When you don’t have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test — a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics — I don’t feel bad for you.

When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don’t feel bad for you.

I don’t want to be played by the girl-strings anymore. Shaking our heads and wringing our hands in sympathy with Sarah Palin is a disservice to every woman who has ever been unfairly dismissed based on her gender, because this is an utterly fair dismissal, based on an utter lack of ability and readiness. It’s a disservice to minority populations of every stripe whose place in the political spectrum has been unfairly spotlighted as mere tokenism; it is a disservice to women throughout this country who have gone from watching a woman who — love her or hate her — was able to show us what female leadership could look like to squirming in front of their televisions as they watch the woman sent to replace her struggle to string a complete sentence together…
Read full article here.
Traister echoes my own sentiments.  I’m tired of this woman.  I’m tired of the gender games and manipulation that has been waged by this campaign and their phony feminist ideology and concern for women’s rights.  Palin’s response to Couric’s question regarding her feminist identity was ludicrous.  How can you honestly state to the people, especially the women of this country, that you are for women’s equality and choice when your record indicates the exact opposite?  I’m tired of the transparency of this campaigns lies which is a slap in the face to the citizens of this country. I’m tired of the stage craft and political drama this campaign has utilized as distraction. I’m sick of hearing the same lame line about this team of “mavericks.”  The fact that Palin and the McCain camp can’t make up their mind about how they want to craft her image speaks to their insecurity, lack of integrity and dishonesty.
I’m ready for the debate.  Unfortunately, this debate, like all of her official speeches, has been careful crafted and she has been diligently groomed for her role.  I hope that people don’t forget who the real Sarah Palin is: the woman we saw unscripted and incapable when questioned by Gibson and Couric.

September 24, 2008

Sexy Girls, Sexual Boys…

…and it starts so early.  I’ve posted several items in the last few weeks exploring the early sexualization of younger and younger girls from heels for infants to stripper poles and “virgin” waxing.

Gender socialization is not a recent phenomenon. From color codes to silly head bands on bald baby girl heads, parents and society expect that clues about the infant’s anatomy will be provided through the use of various sign systems. Right or wrong, this has been around for quite some time and certainly lends itself to lengthy conversations and analysis.

What is more recent and more disturbing, in my opinion, is the blatant sexual socialization of younger and younger members of our society in line with the sexual expectations society dictates of heterosexual men and women.

Girls/women are sexy. Boys/men are sexual.

I’m almost 6 months pregnant and I am having a son.  As a budding feminist in my early twenties, I imagined myself raising an empowered daughter.  My best friend and I used to joke about the inevitable likelihood of giving birth to a son.  As expected, 15 years later, I have been given the task of raising a conscious feminist boy.

I spend a lot of time browsing the internet for baby gear. In doing so, I am sick and tired of running across crass sexual messages for infant boys proclaiming their sexual prowess long before they can hold up their own head. I mean, seriously?  Boob man?  Lock up your daughters?  You’d be hard to press to ever find a onesie for a girl reading: Penis gal!  Lock up your sons!

In either case, do we need to thrust these sexual/sexy messages on newborns?  I can’t help but recall a scene in The 40 Year-Old Virgin where one of the main characters puts his unborn son’s sonogram on a big screen TV and points out the large penis his boy is packing in utero.

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