Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'll take Feminism for $200, Alex

Kathleen Parker is writing about “hard-core” women:

The feminist woman of the left, who burned her bra and insisted that all hear her roar, is today a taupe-ish figure who wonders where things went wrong. The daughter she begat may well be a Republican - a gun-toting, breast-feeding supermom of several who condemns government for being a "nanny" and tells men to man up.

So far, so good. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting discussion of the shifting face of feminism. But then she comes up with this (emphasis mine):

We needn't name the queen of this emerging bevy of can-dos, who wouldn't deign to call themselves feminists even though they certainly are.

It’s pretty clear that “the queen” Parker isn’t naming is Sarah Palin. So what is it about Palin that causes so many people to simply assume that what they believe to be true about her - or want to be true about her or need to be true about her in order to make their world view work- is, in fact, actually true? Because Palin most certainly does call herself a feminist and based on her remarks last May it appears that the “emerging bevy” doesn’t object to calling themselves feminists right along with her (emphasis mine):

In May of last year, Sarah Palin told an audience of more than 500 pro-life women at a Susan B. Anthony breakfast that they represented an “emerging, conservative, feminist identity” with a growing ability to influence policy.

But perhaps Parker doesn’t consider Fox a news source. How about Newsweek from last August (emphasis mine):

The fact that Sarah Palin wants to call herself a feminist is astonishing. It’s not that she is conservative—there have been plenty of conservative, eccentric, and outlier feminists in history. It’s that it has been such an unloved, if proud, term for so long that it is odd to watch it being fought over, as though it were a political asset and not something women used to have to pretend not to be so they didn’t upset any voters.

Maybe this is relatively new, maybe Palin has embraced feminism only after her defeat as Vice-President and Parker just didn’t notice. Nope (emphasis mine):

Feminists for Life's policy is that all memberships are confidential. However, since Governor Palin has been public about her membership, we can confirm that Palin became a member in 2006.

I wish Parker had read Meghan Daum’s May 2010 LA Times piece, entitled “Sarah Palin, feminist”. From her wide-open definition of feminism; to her pointing out that liberal women who object to Palin calling herself a feminist are often reluctant to apply the term to themselves; to her admonition that we “think hard about who or what is to blame for increasingly narrow definitions of feminism”; Daum’s article is a must-read. Her bottom line (emphasis mine):

If [Palin] has the guts to call herself a feminist, then she's entitled to be accepted as one.

Amen, sister.