Posted by: hellonhairylegs | June 27, 2009

A Word on Clinton and Palin

The feminist reaction to the Republican nomination of Sarah Palin to the vice-presidency was very interesting. Some mocked her, some stayed silent, some defended her against sexism and some supported her candidacy. Then feminists were told they weren’t doing their job properly by op-ed writers, who thought all feminists should support Palin because she had a vagina (either that, or we were jealous because she is prettier than we are). They compared our support (less than optimal, but according to them, overwhelming) of Clinton to the support of Palin. Some people are still comparing the two. What they forget is that Clinton is one of us, a pro-choice feminist who has worked for women’s rights consistently for decades (and there’s also the issue that the launch codes in Clinton’s hands would be a damn better sight than the launch codes in Palin’s). Palin stopped calling herself a feminist after no longer finding it politically convenient. That feminists as a group supported Clinton more than non-feminist women shouldn’t be a huge surprise.



  1. Also, Clinton was a presidential Candidate who would likely have picked a feminist (ally) as VP, whereas Palin was VP to a misogynistic, homophobic presidential Candidate. That would have made it much harder for me to support her, because I would be giving implicit consent to McCain.

  2. I agree, though I also think feminists should speak out against sexist treatment of Sarah Palin (and not engage in any ourselves!), even though she’s not herself a feminist. She’s still a woman, and still subject to sexism, which we oppose regardless of its target.

    But, yes, defending her against sexism doesn’t imply supporting her.

  3. Women who supported Clinton were told they were “voting with their vaginas” and that supporting her because she was a woman was just as sexist as a man withholding support just because she was a woman. Then when McCain annonced Palin as his running mate, those same people told the women who criticized Palin’s politics that they were acting in a very anti-feminist, anti-woman way. (And of course, it was because we were just jealous of her.)

    No one questions why the extremely wealthy tend to vote Republican. Why people thought American women would support a candidate who actively worked against our best interests is beyond me.

    The selection of Palin as a running mate was in itself an act of sexism. McCain knew he had no chance of winning without gaining the support of disgruntled Clinton supporters, so he had to pick a woman. But the woman he chose had to subscribe to the pro-life, religious extremist politics that are the bread and butter of the Republican party, and she also couldn’t be too threatening (read: assertive and masculine) to the typical American male voter. She wasn’t chosen for her qualifications (at least not primarily)- she was chosen because she was pretty.

    But somehow, all the talking heads kept insisting that the feminists who were defending Palin against sexism even though they weren’t planning to vote for her were sexist, and all the people passing out buttons reading “The Hottest Governor from the Coldest State” at campaign events and making jokes about the VPILF were promoting gender equality.

    Sometimes I feel like I must have entered an alternate universe.

  4. I hope this is an illusion universe plainjane. I really do.

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