Why the attacks on Sarah Palin are the best argument for voting for her

Saturday, September 13th, 2008 · 105 Comments »

The treatment of Hillary Clinton this year showed us that sexism is far more acceptable and more endemic than racism in this country. Naysayers liked to claim that the hatred was for Hillary alone, not for all women; but they were wrong.

Just look at Sarah Palin. She’s different from Hillary in almost every respect, yet she’s being assaulted just as Hillary was, only to an even more intense degree. It’s a virtual lynching. A burning in effigy. The hysteria of it, the ferocity of it, terrifies me.

Every day, almost every hour, another frantic hater chimes in. It’s not enough for them to disagree with Palin’s policies or complain that Republicans are wrong-headed. The Sarah-haters aren’t even interested in her actual policies; if they were, they could easily spend a few minutes with Google and learn the facts, instead of feverishly repeating lurid rumors (no, she’s not anti-contraception; no, she doesn’t believe in abstinence-only sex ed; no, she doesn’t think rape victims should have to pay for their own rape kits; no, she doesn’t think the dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago; no, she doesn’t reject evolution; no, she didn’t ban books; no, she isn’t against equal rights — in fact she is very much in favor of gender equality and is raising her kids that way; no, she doesn’t deny that sexism exists — in fact she’s spoken at length and with intelligence on the obstacles faced by women politicians; and on and on and on.)

The real Sarah Palin is simply a Republican (and not even a particularly nutty Republican) with Republican views on many things. That ought to be enough to disagree with right there. It’s enough for me. I judge Palin by her politics, as I do McCain. (For the record, I’m still planning to vote Green.)

But the haters don’t care about Palin’s political positions. They’re driven by some inchoate impulse to crucify the woman herself. To rape her with words.

She’s a slut. She’s a skank. She’s a cow. She’s white trash. She’s a redneck. She’s a moron.

Photoshopped images abound: Palin as a dominatrix (Salon), Palin in a bikini (Huffington Post), Palin in cheesecake poses (everywhere). An “action figure” is made in her likeness, except it’s dressed as some kind of pornified schoolgirl.

Obama supporters publicly fantasize about doing to her the only thing she’s good for:

Basically, I want to have sex with her on my Barack Obama sheets while my wife reads aloud from the Constitution. (My wife is cool with this if I promise to “first wipe off Palin’s tranny makeup.” I married well.)

And all of this is done gleefully. The nation is having itself a grand ol’ witch-burning party. It reminds me of that picture from Indiana in the 20s: the crowd of smiling white folks milling around under a tree where a black man has been lynched. Hey, isn’t this fun?

That the lynching is being conducted primarily by Obama supporters who consider themselves “progressives” isn’t completely surprising; we learned with Hillary that Obama’s brand of “progressivism” typically includes an alarming quotient of sexism. The assault on Palin just confirms it.

And therein lies a twist. Race is supposed to be the big story of this election year. The historians who are gearing up to write their narratives are expecting to tell a story about race, about black and white in America. Barack Obama, the first black nominee. Big milestone. The year America finally nominated/elected a black man.

But the real story this year is gender. The looming fact of 2008 is our discovery that misogyny is the gravest ill in our society. It’s virulent and violent and spreading. It’s out of control.

Today’s generation of young adults has marinated since childhood in a pornified, sexist culture in which women are relentlessly objectified, demeaned, and ridiculed. Hating on women (or should I just say “bitches” or “hos” now?) is all they really know. It’s second nature. It’s on TV, in the magazines, in the music, in the pornography. The public debasement of women is more commonplace than I’ve ever seen.

That’s why women are going to vote for Sarah Palin. Especially women over 40, because they’re the ones old enough to have grown up before the backlash, before the zeitgeist of misogyny took hold. They’ll be voting from their guts. They’ll be acting on the deep understanding that we desperately need change — and not the kind of amorphous Pepsi Generation empty promise Barack Obama specializes in.

We need to change the culture to one where women have power and respect and dignity. Where a woman can run for President or Vice-President without automatically having her likeness rendered as a sex toy. Where a woman in the White House is no big deal.

The sooner we get there, the better.

Filed under: Second Wave Squared · Tags:

105 Responses to “Why the attacks on Sarah Palin are the best argument for voting for her”

  1. donna darko says:

    Is there a Women Against Romney? Women Against McCain?

    If Obama picked VP Clinton, there would be no progressive abuse of VP Romney. They’d go after his policies.

    For that matter, Palin isn’t weirder or scarier than Romney yet here is this misogyny again.

    Feminists are confused with the MSM which conflates Palin with the Fourth Wave. This is a mistake. Violet isn’t conflating the two. The misogyny from progressives against Clinton and Palin lead to the Fourth Wave. Palin’s policies aren’t feminist but somehow there wouldn’t be this abuse of a VP Romney.

  2. donna darko says:

    Women over 40 are also excited the representation of Palin as VP. Vice President! The same way black women are excited by Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. The Second, Third and Fourth Wave are about representation, equal pay, etc. It takes 30% representation in any legislature to promote women’s issues and Vice President would be a higher position than any woman in American history.

  3. Apostate says:

    Then vote for her, Violet. Put your money where your mouth is.

  4. Violet says:

    Can you imagine if there was a Men Against McCain?

    I’m so tired of being othered.

  5. Violet says:

    Put your money where your mouth is.

    Is that really the phrase you want? The implication is that I’m talking a big game but won’t follow through. But that’s not accurate here. In this post I’m explaining the feminist argument for voting for Palin, and I know many, many women (including feminists) who are going to do just that.

    But there are many factors to consider in this election, and one of them (as I’ve written about extensively) is the need for a third party and especially for an explicitly feminist party. I continue to think that my little vote for the Greens might be my best contribution in this election.

  6. Apostate says:

    Maybe the phrase is awkward in this context- I’ll plead English as a second language.

    But making a case for how feminists can vote for a woman who would force her own daughter to have a child if she is impregnated through rape – well, then do it.

    If you have the stomach to make that case, then do it. Otherwise don’t make the case. You wouldn’t have made the case against voting for Obama while inserting into your post the caveat that you were voting for him anyway.

    That’s all I’m saying.

    About women against Palin and men against McCain – aren’t you making a very unsubtle error here about how the nature of identity differs for women? It’s because of feminists like you that feminists like me are feeling the extra need to distance ourselves from Palin.

    It’s because the gender of Palin is stressed to the point of making it enough for me to identify with her – just because I’m a woman – that I feel compelled to come out against her.

    If there were men’s rights blogs going on about voting for McCain BECAUSE he’s a man, you bet there might be a liberal male Men Against McCain.

    The nature of men’s and women’s public identities are different. I thought you understood that.

    I think, though, I’m going to stop banging my head against the wall here.

    I don’t know how to put it politely, but I can’t respect your writing at this point.

  7. Violet says:

    But making a case for how feminists can vote for a woman who would force her own daughter to have a child if she is impregnated through rape – well, then do it.

    How do you know she would do that?

  8. Apostate says:

    Watch the video on Echidne’s blog. First post.

  9. Violet says:

    If there were men’s rights blogs going on about voting for McCain BECAUSE he’s a man, you bet there might be a liberal male Men Against McCain.

    You’re missing an essential part of my post. It’s not that Palin is a woman, but that the reaction to her reveals how profound the misogyny really is and how desperately we need to change the culture.

    It’s because of feminists like you that feminists like me are feeling the extra need to distance ourselves from Palin.

    I am behind on my blog reading so I don’t know what you’ve posted recently about Palin, but if you disagree with her policies, by all means say so. Disagree with her as a politician. That’s the level I wish the entire dialogue were being conducted on.

    But if you feel the need to couch your disagreement with her in sexualized, derogatory terms, or if you think that misogyny in the service of political disagreement is okay, then I would take issue with that.

  10. Apostate says:

    Of course I don’t think sexism against Palin is okay. We’ve been through this with Clinton. And no, it most emphatically is not okay. It’s not a surprise any more, but it’s still not okay.

    But it’s also not a reason to vote for her.

    Everything you say about American culture is true. It’s still not a reason to vote for a fundie nutjob like Palin. She’s part of the problem, not any conceivable solution. And I have to admit, it feels horrible to have to defend her in feminist terms, even as I see the point and necessity of doing that.

    But, I’ll repeat, that doesn’t mean feminists vote for her.

    Anyway, sorry – I’m out. I can’t have this conversation any more.

  11. Violet says:

    You mean the part where she said “I would choose life”? I notice that she didn’t say, “I would force my raped daughter to bear a child she didn’t want, even if she begged me to let her have an abortion.”

    If you don’t think there’s a difference there, or even the possibility of a difference, I think you’re naive.

    However, there’s no need to argue about what Palin would do with her own daughter. She’s said that she would be in favor of an amendment outlawing abortion in all cases, so we can just consider that. Obviously, it’s not a stance I agree with. I think it’s batshit crazy. I also think it’s profoundly anti-woman.

    What I don’t think is that the abortion issue is the sum total of Sarah Palin or her impact or her effect, nor do I think abortion is the sine qua non of feminism. Not by a long shot. Equal rights for women will take a whole package of changes — legal, social, psychological. Roe v. Wade didn’t make us free.

    As for Palin’s possible impact on the abortion question, what are we talking about? As VP she will have zero power. Besides, she has a reputation in Alaska for going along with the public will, even when it conflicts with her own beliefs. Or to put it another way, for not forcing her beliefs on the populace. That’s one reason she’s so popular in Alaska.

    The greatest danger is if McCain died and she became President, and then a Supreme died/retired and she had the option to appoint a Supreme. But the Court is already lost anyway. They have the votes to overturn Roe any time.

  12. Elegrese says:

    I guess the Fourth Wave is going to be so different than the past three. If Erica and others are the past, I am so glad that someone had some insight about clarifying what feminism is. Thanks Violet.

    What it is not is a bunch of angry, sullen and screeching women threatening females about choice. What it is not is those same women sprouting vitriol about another woman in everything they write or say. It is not trying hard to be so vile so you can be accepted by the angry mobs as in the progressive bloggers.

    It’s too bad that woman cannot just ‘like’ another woman and disagree with her policy. That, instead, she has to be thrown to the wolves and written as a porn substitute for Michael Seitzman and his wife.

    Good luck Obama. You broke it. You own it. I am not interested in putting it back together again.
    I am so done with this mess that I will prepare myself to put it back when McCain is done.

  13. donna darko says:

    Shouldn’t it be Feminists Against Palin?

    Why aren’t there Women Against Condoleezza Rice groups? Think of what she’s done. Or Women Against Elaine Chao, the anti-labor Secretary of Labor?

  14. Apostate says:

    Of course you can rationalize your support for Palin. That’s not the issue. It’s a matter of principle.

    You and I differ on the issue of abortion. I happen to think it’s the cornerstone of women’s rights. Whether or not Palin has the power to do anything about overturning Roe is not the question. The question is, can I, as a pro-choice feminist, support a woman who would like to put young women like her daughter in that position? And given her support for parental notification for minors, and for the “pro-life” stance, she is not saying anything other than how I paraphrased her stance.

    “I would choose life…” Never mind that it’s not her choice to make. But she doesn’t see that.

    And you are okay with supporting her.

    Fine.

  15. Apostate says:

    Donna, Condi Rice is a cabinet member. She wasn’t elected to office, so nobody had the option to vote for her or oppose her.

  16. Apostate says:

    Roe v. Wade didn’t make us free.

    Having a token woman VP is not going to make us free.

    Roe went a hell of a long way towards making us free – far more than a token VP would.

    I wouldn’t be tempted to compromise my principles even if she was running for president. And the VP is a visible but essentially ineffectual position, which makes it even less tempting to compromise every value just to see a woman in high executive office.

    (I did support Hillary Clinton, but I wouldn’t have supported a conservative Republican.)

  17. Apostate says:

    I keep saying I’m going away and I keep coming back because you keep responding!

    The thing is, I’ve been reading you a long long time, Violet. And you just don’t sound like yourself. It’s like suddenly discovering your old friend is a closet Randian.

    Ah well. It’s been a crazy election season.

  18. Violet says:

    Apostate, I really think you’re misreading me. Or maybe I’m just so old or something that I come at this a completely different way.

    You ask “how can I, as a pro-choice feminist, support a woman” who, as we know, is batshit crazy on the subject of abortion. First of all, I’m not supporting Palin so much as pointing out the arguments in her favor. But we as Americans, as citizens, make all kinds of decisions like that all the time. All of the feminists who are voting for Obama have made precisely that kind of trade-off. They know he’s horrible for women in some respects; they know he’s a sexist. But they’ve looked at the cards, calculated the odds, and decided that overall the Democrats are still the best bet for women.

    Politics isn’t an exercise in purity.

    Many women right now are feeling that the best thing they can do to advance women’s status in this country is to elect a woman to the highest office possible, even though — paradoxically — that woman doesn’t share one of the key planks of American feminism. (Though she does share most of the others, an extremely important fact that should not be overlooked. It makes a difference that she explicitly espouses a belief in gender equality.) These women feel that the symbolic value of shattering the glass ceiling is worth it.

    Consider, by the way, that her counterpart — Joe Biden — is hated by many women of my generation and older because of his sexism and his relentless attacks on Anita Hill.

    For my part, I’m aware that there are many different ways to advance women’s status. Policies are one. Representation is another. They both matter. Neither is sufficient alone.

  19. Apostate says:

    Yes, neither is sufficient alone, but in her, we aren’t getting either. Not really. And even if neither is sufficient, there’s no reason for me to not therefore want both.

    I don’t see her as a feminist. She frames herself in typical Republican terms.

    I’m also surprised that you don’t see her to be what she is: underqualified and not very smart. A bit of an embarrassment, really, almost as embarrassing as the clueless McCain.

    I can do without representation like her.

    I don’t think it’s your age, by the way, whether you meant that seriously or not. I’m married to a guy your age (or what I think your age is. My husband is 45).

  20. Violet says:

    It’s still not a reason to vote for a fundie nutjob like Palin.

    That’s another thing: she isn’t a fundie. She’s an evangelical, and her church is Assembly of God. They ordain women, endorse gender equality, and they’re often flexible in interpreting the Bible. The fundie nutjobs are people like the Southern Baptists.

    What is so painful for me in this situation is that so many women (and I’m not talking about you, Apostate) whom I’ve always considered good feminists, are not even giving Sarah Palin the courtesy of understanding who she is. They’re treating her with the kind of othering and disrespect that we’ve always accused men of.

    It’s as if they can only deal in stereotypes. They think “pro-life” automatically means fundie, and fundie automatically means Stepford wife, so obviously Sarah Palin must be a fundie Stepford Wife.

    If there is anything we should learn as feminists, it’s to see women as human, not other them as stereotypes.

  21. Apostate says:

    I don’t know, I’ve read some pretty outlandish things about her church, including that they want to pray gay people back into being “normal” and straight.

    Certainly haven’t heard that they ordain women, but I might be underinformed.

    I am calling her a fundie because frankly, that’s how she sounds. Not because she’s pro-life. Christianity is clearly a big part of who she is – and I’m just talking about what I’ve read about her own beliefs from her own mouth.

    Whether you want to call me that or not, I am one of those feminists who are not giving Palin much courtesy. And that’s partly because for some feminists – including me – it’s very hard to see past the pro-life thing.

    To me, that’s pretty much the end of the conversation – with men and women. I simply can’t tolerate it at all, because to me, it represents a fundamental callousness towards women’s lives and humanity.

    I recently rejoiced in a certain political pundit’s HIV positive status because he’s an anti-choice Catholic. That’s the level of my intolerance for the anti-choicers. It’s not othering of Palin exclusively – it’s simply a horror of anyone who can champion a cluster of cells over lives of women.

    Can’t.Get.Beyond.It.

  22. Violet says:

    Certainly haven’t heard that they ordain women, but I might be underinformed.

    They definitely do. Assembly of God was one of the first evangelical churches to ordain women. I’ve been to services in an AOG church with a female preacher, and this was almost 30 years ago. They’re quite well known for that (not that you would know, since you’re a new citizen here).

  23. donna darko says:

    That’s it, Violet, we’re old. Just kidding.

    All of the feminists who are voting for Obama have made precisely that kind of trade-off. They know he’s horrible for women in some respects; they know he’s a sexist. But they’ve looked at the cards, calculated the odds, and decided that overall the Democrats are still the best bet for women.

    What I don’t get is the many feminists who preferred him to Clinton. What was the trade-off there? Their racism? Or are they in denial?

    Joe Biden — is hated by many women of my generation and older because of his sexism and his relentless attacks on Anita Hill.

    Democrats: The Sexist Ticket. Positively Rovian. He takes a Democratic asset and makes it their weakness. Republicans are feminist and I’m loving it. Because when Republicans oppose sexism we’re getting somewhere.

    Though she does share most of the others, an extremely important fact that should not be overlooked. It makes a difference that she explicitly espouses a belief in gender equality.

    I noticed she was feminist in a number of ways. Probably because I’m old.

  24. betsyfromtexas says:

    Fascinating debate between the two of you. But this 52 year old FEMINIST is voting for the McCain ticket simply BECAUSE he had the cajones to do what Obambi could/would not do. I was ready to vote third party until Palin was selected. Even though they are Republicans, they are a damned sight better than the alternative! And Palin being a heartbeat from the top job advances any true feminist’s agenda!

  25. Violet says:

    And that’s partly because for some feminists – including me – it’s very hard to see past the pro-life thing.

    You’re not alone. I understand that.

    Personally, my own feminism is more ecumenical. It’s because of a lot of things: how I’ve lived, the people I’ve known, the history I’ve studied. For me the hardest people to accept as feminists are the women who glamorize prostitution. But I steel myself to accept them, or at least not to quarrel with them.

    It’s actually much easier for me to cope with the pro-lifers, because I know them. I guess it wasn’t here, it was somewhere else, but I was telling some other feminists about my friendships with radical Catholic nuns. An old friend of mine, Sister Christine, exemplifies the paradox of “pro-life feminism.” Yes, she IS a feminist. She’s a short-haired, hard-core, radical feminist nun. She’s been a feminist and an advocate for women’s ordination since the 70s. The priests hate her. And she’s a wonderful, woman-loving woman. She runs a DV shelter, she’s spent her life helping poor women. But you know what? She can’t countenance abortion. She truly believes that it’s the murder of a person. She looks on pregnancy as a unique 9-month period when a woman shares her body with another person.

    I’m not defending “pro-life feminism” by any means, because I believe it’s incoherent and leads inevitably to anti-woman laws. But, I do recognize that not all pro-lifers are evil anti-feminists.

  26. cellocat says:

    If we permit through a lack of sufficient challenge the behaviour and attitudes to continue that contribute to harrassment, rape and assault against women in this country, we will be, at the least, shooting ourselves in the foot if we focus exclusively on the issue of abortion rights.

    Choice is of course pivotal. So is challenging the atmosphere of intimidation, disrespect, and objectification. We have to some degree sacrificed fighting the latter in favor of fighting the former, in my opinion.

    Women who have felt insulted, threatened, passed over, etc all their lives may take the immediacy of being able to vote for Palin as an appealing proactive option.

    There are too many people who say they’re in support of feminism, who believe in choice, who nonetheless feel it fine to behave in horrible, sexist ways. This MUST be addressed, and is just as pivotal to feminism as the issue of choice.

  27. donna darko says:

    For many women, the last eight months was the worst sexism they experienced in their lives. Under any Presidency Republican or Democrat. And that was just the primary! Imagine what life would be like under an Obama Presidency. He was just getting started. To me, it’s worse than losing Roe v Wade.

  28. donna darko says:

    Basic respect for women is more important or at least as important as Roe v Wade.

  29. Yanni Znaio says:

    Ms. Violet:

    I just came across something you might find amusing:

    They’re making READ MY LIPSTICK McCain/Palin 2008 T-Shirts.

    To quote,"This is deployment of multi-leveled irony as an offensive weapon."

    Not an ad site for them as I would never do that on your site.

    This is commentary on this phenomenon- and insightful commentary at that. From someone who sounds not too far removed from where you are on the spectrum.

    Again, best regards and thanks for putting up with me,

    YZ

  30. NIjma says:

    Why must we have to choose BETWEEN “power and respect and dignity” in the bedroom (reproductive rights) and “power and respect and dignity” in our work lives?

    Why is the question suddenly being framed if we can’t have both? And why are young women buying into it?

    This absolutely infuriates me.

    Do the young women think they will never be old? That they will never have to live without the financial security of a husband’s paycheck? It happens all the time. And when that happens they will be trying to make a serious living in a world that only takes them seriously as a sex toy.

    A lot of us have already tried talk with these “new progressives”. Women who can think and work are below their radar. The only thing they will understand is a vote.

    It is not a vote “for repealing abortion rights”–that’s not gonna happen. It is a vote against taking economic power away from women.

  31. octogalore says:

    “There are too many people who say they’re in support of feminism, who believe in choice, who nonetheless feel it fine to behave in horrible, sexist ways. This MUST be addressed, and is just as pivotal to feminism as the issue of choice.”

    Completely agree.

    And I agree with the thrust here as well. Blatantly biased, sexist attacks on Palin are going to achieve the kind of result diametrically opposite to that which the writer supposedly advocates. Nobody who isn’t already convinced will be convinced by something like that. There’s plenty factually not to like. Straying off the facts will not turn any moderate feminists looking at Palin, or Independent men or women.

    So if the goal isn’t to change minds and effect results, maybe it’s something else.

    And it’s that something else that I read Violet as opposing.

  32. no pasaran says:

    My Governor is Timothy Kaine who was among the remaining three choices considered for Obama’s Veep. Kaine is a pro-lifer Dem and here in Virginia there is no “Women against Kaine”. Why not? He is certainly not portrayed as some fundie nutjob. Why not? Would Kaine have been eviscerated if he were chosen Veep? I don’t think so. It is obvious the attacks on Palin are a witch hunt. And I’m more angry than I’ve ever been.

  33. Charity says:

    Assembly of God is classified as a fundamentalist Christian church. Wanted to get at least some semblance of accuracy in here.

  34. looking for integrity says:

    What escapes me is that some of the anti-Palin women are blind to the fact that many prominent democrats, Casey and Biden included, are pro-life. If they do not force their beliefs on the people why is it that people expect Palin to?. In her years in office she has never done this. How better to judge someone than by their deeds? As with Obama I have researched her thoroughly and have paid scant attention to the misquotes, the non-objective articles, the intentionally biased interviews.

    A recent non-partisan analysis came about comparing and contrasting Obama’s and McCains staff and wages for men vs. women. Whereas Obama had few women in the top 25, highest paid campaign staff positions and paid the women within this group 83 cents to the dollar the men made, McCains top staff is predominantly female and they get paid $1.04 to every dollar men make.

    I disagree with “apostate”. I believe that equal pay for eaqul work, and that hiring within the top positions in the jobmarket should not be based on gender, is the most important cornerstone of feminism. I say this as a single mother who also saw her divorced single mother (Master’s degree) struggle to raise her three children, and as a woman who did have an abortion (medical reasons) after which I had two children.

    I do not believe that the right to choice is a fundamental feminist right that may be obliterated during a McCain/Palin administration. I believe that just as we have a right to be pro-choice, others have a right to be pro-life without being vilified. It is not for me to tell another woman that she would be better off having an abortion. The decision to make have an abortion is a very nuanced and painful decision, and one not made lightly, even by young teens. I have worked with women from both camps who have dealt with this issue and the choice is made based upon their own specific circumstances. Some pro-choicers have wound up, not unlike Reba’s show, supporting the teen mom, grandchild, and often the teen dad, and some pro-lifers have supported the choice of their child not to have the baby although they have offered every mode of support.

    Because Roe vs. Wade defends a constitutional right: “According to the Roe decision, most laws against abortion in the United States violated a constitutional right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”, it will not be overturned. I have heard McCain (often and with emphasis), and Palin state that they are constitutionalists. This would preclude them from trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade, whatever their personal feelings may be.

    In fact, a related case (Doe vs. Bolton) which overturned the abortion law in Georgia by the Supreme Court through a decision made on the same day as Roe vs. Wade, came up again in 2003. The Supreme Court, one of the most conservative, refused to accept the appeal made to overturn the decision from 1973.

    “In 2003, Sandra Cano (the Doe in Doe vs. Bolton) filed a motion to re-open the case claiming that she had not been aware that the case had been filed on her behalf and that if she had known she would not have supported the litigation.[3] The district court denied her motion, and she appealed. When the appeals court also denied her motion,[4] she requested review by the United States Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court declined to hear Sandra Cano’s suit to overturn the ruling.[5]”

    Additionally,Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), also gave a predominantly conservative court, appointed by pro-lifers, the opportunity to overturn Roe vs. Wade in its entirety. This did not happen. In fact, the rights guaranteed under the 14th amendment were supported, the reasons for “stare decisis” were noted, and going one step further, women no longer had to notify their spouse.

    “The O’Connor, Kennedy and Souter plurality opinion
    These three justices began their written opinion by noting the U.S. government’s previous challenges to Roe v. Wade:

    “Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt. Yet 19 years after our holding that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy in its early stages, Roe v. Wade (1973), that definition of liberty is still questioned. Joining the respondents as amicus curiae, the United States, as it has done in five other cases in the last decade, again asks us to overrule Roe.”
    The plurality opinion stated that it was upholding what it called the “essential holding” of Roe. The plurality asserted that the right to abortion is grounded in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the plurality reiterated what the Court had said in Eisenstadt v. Baird: “[i]f the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”

    The plurality’s opinion also included some controversial language about the doctrine of stare decisis. The plurality emphasized the need to stand by prior decisions even if they were unpopular, unless there had been a change in the fundamental reasoning underpinning the previous decision. It also acknowledged the need for predictability and constancy in judicial decision making. For example,

    “Where, in the performance of its judicial duties, the Court decides a case in such a way as to resolve the sort of intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe and those rare, comparable cases, its decision has a dimension that the resolution of the normal case does not carry. It is the dimension present whenever the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”
    The plurality went on to give society’s rejection of the “Separate but Equal” concept as a legitimate reason for the Brown v. Board of Education court’s rejection of the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine. Emphasizing the need to not be seen as overruling a prior decision merely because the individual members of the Court had changed, O’Connor states,

    “Because neither the factual underpinnings of Roe’s central holding nor our understanding of it has changed (and because no other indication of weakened precedent has been shown), the Court could not pretend to be reexamining the prior law with any justification beyond a present doctrinal disposition to come out differently from the Court of 1973.”
    Since the plurality overruled some portions of Roe v. Wade despite its emphasis on stare decisis, Chief Justice Rehnquist in dissent argued that this section was entirely obiter dicta. All these opening sections were joined by Justices Blackmun and Stevens for the majority. The remainder of the decision did not command a majority, but at least two other Justices concurred in judgment on each of the remaining points.

    The plurality then overturned the strict trimester formula used in Roe to weigh the woman’s interest in obtaining an abortion against the State’s interest in the life of the fetus. Continuing advancements in medical technology meant that at the time Casey was decided, a fetus might be considered viable at 22 or 23 weeks rather than at the 28 weeks that was more common at the time of Roe. The plurality recognized viability as the point at which the state interest in the life of the fetus outweighs the rights of the woman and abortion may be banned entirely.

    The plurality also replaced the heightened scrutiny of abortion regulations under Roe, which was standard for fundamental rights in the Court’s case law, with a lesser “undue burden” standard previously developed by O’Connor in her dissent in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health.[1] A legal restriction posing an undue burden was defined as one having “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” The plurality also overruled Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983) and Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986) [2], each of which applied “strict scrutiny” to abortion restrictions.[2]

    Applying this new standard to the Pennsylvania Act under challenge, the plurality struck down the spousal notification requirement, stating that it gave too much power to husbands over their wives and would worsen situations of spousal abuse. The plurality upheld the State’s 24 hour waiting period, informed consent, and parental notification requirements, holding that none constituted an undue burden.”

    The upshot? McCain shows by his action where he stands with women’s rights, and with constitutional law. Additionally, that a conservative US Supreme Court during a conservative administration would not overturn anything related to the right of choice when given that opportunity speaks volumes for me. I cannot say the same for Obama, whose actions both within his campaign, and without are exemplary for sexist and discriminatory practices in the sexism he has fostered.

    My understanding of feminism is that it stands for the rights of women to be equal to men in all aspects, including the right to make their own decisions about every aspects of their lives and their beliefs, whether we share these or not. This includes judging Palin on her merits as a mayor and governor, and it includes judging Obama on his merits and acheivements as Senator.

    Its’ time to get down to the real issues facing our nation at this time. It’s time to set aside empty promises that cannot be kept. (As a Democrat I am disappointed in the Democratic Congress which has not kept many of it’s promises – and I am disappointed in Democrats like Obama who voted for FISA in opposition to his constituents. Being a Chicago resident I am also disappointed in the rest of his record.). It’s time to work out solutions across the board with everyone working together. Sometimes it will be a Democrat solution which will be best and at other times a Republican solution- our representatives should accept that and do what’s best for the people. And we in turn should look beyond the “brand name” of our parties and select leaders based on a thorough and fair analysis of each, and what they have already accomplished for our country via their town or state.

  35. Sis says:

    Sounds so official–”classified as fundamental”. By whom? Is there some official classification, for tax purposes perhaps, or is this your own initiative.

    Geez.

  36. abyss2hope says:

    Violet wrote: “no, she doesn’t think rape victims should have to pay for their own rape kits”

    This is her stated position, but the reality is that while mayor of Wasilla the police chief Palin selected to replace the police chief she fired did believe this enough to revoke the city’s policy of paying for rape kits.

    The complaints about this policy change led, at least in part, to a new Alaska state law which Police Chief Charlie Fannon publicly opposed.

    This policy change during Palin’s time as mayor and the state law which overrode that policy means that Palin either did support charging rape victims for their forensic exams — who could try to get their insurance to pay all or part of the bill if the rape victim had health insurance — or she was incompetent enough in several areas (reviewing budget and policy changes, not reading news coverage on city policies, not reading state legislation which overruled local policies) that she allowed something she opposes to happen until the state of Alaska made that illegal.

  37. Yanni Znaio says:

    Ms. Violet:

    Your #20 expresses it brilliantly.

    And IMHO you handle a 2×4 pretty darn well.

    Best regards,

    YZ

  38. Sis says:

    In Louisiana not so long ago, a blogger named Liz had to pay for her cancer treatments. Life or death cancer treatments. Lost her home because of that, and of course, her work too and therefore ability to pay. So this callousness doesn’t seem to begin or end at sex-related health care, or Wasilla, but looks to me to be a function of the American health care system. Bad, bad women. Getting raped and getting cancer.

  39. looking for integrity says:

    The state of Illinois charges for rape kits, as do quite a few other staes both Dem and Rep. It has something to do with federal policy. I’ll research what the connection is.

  40. looking for integrity says:

    From RD’s blog:

    myiq2xu, on September 14th, 2008 at 11:31 am Said:
    The whole meme about charging for rape kits is misleading.

    In the post-Proposition 13 (a property tax revolution that swept the nation years ago) world, government tries to recover expenses whereever possible.

    The hospitals bill police agencies for rape exams. Like any emergency room procedure, the exams aren’t cheap.

    If the victim has medical insurance, the police try to recover the cost from the insurance provider. If the rapist is caught and convicted, they are ordered to repay those costs as part of their punishment (but they won’t be paying until they get out, which hopefully won’t be for a very long time)

    The police do not demand that the victim pay out of pocket for the exams.

    If you were shot or stabbed, the hospital would treat you whjether or not you have insurance, but they will expect to eventually be paid by someone, even if you don’t survive.

  41. Megan says:

    No, Sis. It’s not the same. Rape kits are for gathering evidence. That is the job and the responsibility of the police or other law enforcement. Rape kit costs is not be a medical issue.

    America’s health care issues are big, but this is a matter of punishing women who have the bad sense to let their bodies be the scene of a crime.

  42. Mike J. says:

    I don’t want to interrupt this rather spirited discussion, but to my mind, what gives you the idea that a candidate like Obama who plainly feels threatened by powerful women and whose followers spew misogynistic hatred at the drop of the hat will actually care about women’s issues?

    In other words, what draws feminists toward Obama? What has he ever done to win your support? Because so far all I am seeing is a recitation of what a terrible person Sarah Palin is, mostly based on innuendo and unproven allegations. So is this merely a vote against McCain/Palin, or an affirmative vote in favor of Obama?

    The bottom line is, Sarah Palin does not strike me as someone who believes there should be obstacles placed in the path of career-oriented women or that there should be a double standard for evaluating men and women. If elected to high office, you can bet she will be a champion of these issues. She is a genuine feminist in that respect. Obama ain’t, and neither is Biden.

    When it comes to reproductive rights, there’s always the Democratic Senate (which will include Obama and Biden if they lose the election) to block anti-abortion SC nominees. If Roe v. Wade is still very much the law of the land after 8 years of Bush-Cheney and GOP-controlled Congress, I’d wager it’s a safe bet it will survive McCain-Palin as well.

  43. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Apostate: I recently rejoiced in a certain political pundit’s HIV positive status because he’s an anti-choice Catholic. That’s the level of my intolerance for the anti-choicers. It’s not othering of Palin exclusively – it’s simply a horror of anyone who can champion a cluster of cells over lives of women.

    Wow. That’s a lot of intolerance – similar to some of the pro lifers rejoicing at the deaths of people killed in Planned Parenthood bombings. What’s the saying? An eye for an eye makes everyone blind?

  44. Apostate says:

    TheOtherDelphyne, I hope that made you feel better.

    I don’t think the comparison you drew is similar at all — I wouldn’t celebrate actively infecting anti-choice people with a deadly virus, which is what I would have to do to be compared with people who advocate actually killing other people.

    But if it makes you feel better to take me down because I indulge in schadenfreude, like most normal people, by all means rejoice in your moral superiority to me. Lovely for you that you can get your kicks so cheaply on the Internet.

  45. Lexia says:

    With respect to anti-woman beliefs, the church to which Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy and Biden all belong officially believes that women are so tainted by their evil sexuality that they may not be ordained. Since only ordained priests make and administer the Catholic church’s doctrine and policy, this means men have the power to dispose of women’s lives and women’s bodies without women having any choice in the matter at all. Men may choose to listen to women, but they are in no way required to.

    All Catholic women must obey church policies, which are made exclusively by men. To reiterate some of these policies, the church opposes the concept of marital rape (i.e. wives gave irrevocable consent to sexual intercourse when they married), opposes birth control, opposes women terminating their pregnancies under any circumstances, including where continuing the pregnancy would cause the death of the woman (to the fathers of the church, this is not murder), and even when a woman had no choice at all in becoming pregnant. The current Pope has even said he opposes women having careers because it interferes with women’s place as wives and mothers. According to Church doctrine, the closest women may come to the divinity of men as reflected in Christ is the Virgin Mary – not exactly a role model for women since she is a biological impossibility, but definitely a Freudian ideal since she worships her son as a god and has never had sex with any man.

    Talk about batshit crazy – and this is the official position of the church not only of Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy and Biden, but of a majority of Supreme Court justices. It is the position also of the church of Peggy Noonan, Bill Donohue, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, NBC President Bob Wright, and Jack Welch, the retired chairman of NBC’s owner, General Electric.

    Individual Catholics may not agree with their church’s official position regarding women’s inferiority and many American Catholics don’t, but the official doctrine of that church is that women are allowed no voice at all in the disposal of their own lives and their own bodies.

    And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a Mormon. If you’re going to vote on religious doctrine alone, women don’t have much choice. At least the Assembly of God has the potential for change by allowing women’s voices in their leadership. The religion of Congress members Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, Biden and Reid, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Alito and Roberts hold out no such hope.

  46. ElleR says:

    “But the real story this year is gender.” Violet, this is absolutely and undeniably true.

    The outdated patriarchal assumption that women are not fully human is being challenged front and center by the candidacies of two women for high office – unleashing a shocking level of sexism in a society which thought it had said “goodbye to all that.” It is to be hoped that the psychological meltdown exhibited specifically in the liberal visceral rage which has met the candidacies of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin will bring to consciousness the original sin of misogyny on which our culture is based. We really need to move on.

  47. Sis says:

    Oh I definitely get that Megan. Punishing too, for having the bad sense to have cancer.

    Here, anything to do with gathering evidence is part of medical coverage. The police have nothing to do with costs. I can’t imagine why they would. Dumb idea.

    I think we’re on the same page, different book maybe?

  48. julia says:

    I can not tell you how sick I feel right now.
    I have not been fighting sexism my entire life to have women treated like this.

    Palin is a governer. That’s certainly enough job experience for the symbolic role of VP.

    AmericanPumaInItaly has a great comparison of a TV interview with Obama and one with Palin. To see the difference in the questions asked is shocking.

  49. Violet says:

    The rumor about the rape kits drives me nuts. Even blogs I used to respect have spread that one without checking it out.

    Lots of municipalities charge the victim’s insurance for rape kits. It’s still done in Illinois, by the way.

    In Wasilla that was the practice until the new state law. At the time, the police chief in Wasilla said to the press that he thought the new law was a bad deal because it meant taxpayers would pay, and he thought the rapists should pay. Stupid, if you ask me, because that’s not how American jurisprudence works. States should pay for evidence, and we don’t rely on passing along costs to criminals (there often isn’t even a conviction.)

    But it’s a commonplace system in small towns all over the country.

    What the rumor-mongers have done is take this one piece of municipal history and created a fantasy of Sarah Palin, Satanic Witch, calling up her police chief and saying, “okay, any bitch who says she’s raped, by god, you make her pay for her own kit!”

  50. Megan says:

    Hey Sis, definitely a different book. I should confess my Canadian paradigm. I regularly read bloggers’ medical stories and then my partner and I give each-other jaw-agape looks and try to imagine if, in addition to having to deal with a crime or life-threatening illness, we had to deal with the attendant financial crises.

    And we’re on the same page. I think I was actually getting off-topic for this thread, since, as we’ve established, abhorrent as such policies are, they’re not really related to any serious Sarah Palin critique.

  51. Bruce says:

    Where were all the Obama supporters who are now screaming about Palin’s threat to reproductive rights during the primary season? Back in April, Obama said, “The mistake that pro-choice forces have sometimes made in the past, and this is a generalization so it has not always been the case, has been to not acknowledge the wrenching moral issues involved in it.” (Link: http://correntewire.com/obama_abortion_is_never_a_good_thing) Obama has played to the Fundamentalists for the past year, and now, that the Republicans have chosen an actual Fundamentalist (and a woman at that) as a VP candidate, the Obamacans want us to think that life as we know it will come to an end if McCain and Palin are elected.

  52. allison says:

    Wow. Reading this stuff is terrifying. As a liberal feminist, I can’t believe I’m seeing other liberals and feminists saying that “voting for Palin” would be good for women. Did I ACTUALLY just read someone say “Fuck Roe v. Wade” on another post? Disgusting.

    The reason that there is so much outrage (psst, some of the biggest sexist comments towards Palin have been from the Republicans. “The Hottest VP from the Coolest State”? “GILF [Governor I'd Like to...]? “The Hero and the Hottie”?) from women is that Palin was chosen not BESIDES her womanhood but BECAUSE of it. That is not feminism.

    Gender equality is the notion that people are regarded as equals, have the same rights and opportunities, despite their gender. Feminism is not “female supremacy”. It is based on the sexes being equal.

    Because Palin was picked only for her womanhood, and also because she’s attractive, she is not being treated as an equal. She received special treatment because of her sex. And though she’s being treated “better” than her male competitors (gunning for VP) in the short term, the fact that McCain is looking at her as a token, as nothing but a vagina, is disgusting. Her mind doesn’t matter, nor does her (lack of) experience. Just her vagina! And her pretty face. Forget policy. She’s hot. This is the rhetoric for the Republicans, especially many young men.

    They also picked her because she’s a mom! Ladies, vote for her, cause she’s a lady too! But assuming that just because she’s a woman, she has other womens’ interests at heart is foolish. What has she done to help teen mothers? Mothers of special needs children who can not afford hired staff to help? What has she done to ensure women get equal pay from their employers?

    She is facing sexist attacks because she has presented herself as a mother. In press photos, she posed with John McCain AND HER BABY. She calls herself a hockey mom. She is making her being a mom and her anti-choice position the essence of her being. I don’t support the sexism against her because I was disgusted by the sexism towards Hillary and I am not a hypocrite. But what I do find fair game is the Republicans crying sexism when they’re the ones who chose her because of her vagina, they’re the ones who attacked Hillary hardest, and THEY are the ones with the anti-woman policies. They’re also the ones with a presidential nominee who called his wife a cunt and volunteered her for a topless beauty pageant.

    So, um, remind me why I should vote for the Republicans again? I’d rather have a man who cares about women’s rights than a self-loathing woman who wants to take them away. By putting her in office, it shows that for women, your credentials don’t matter. Just your body. She is being objectified by the Republicans, and I will never support that.

  53. allison says:

    I think this article from the Nation sums up how I’m feeling: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080929/pollitt

    Here’s the first paragraph:

    John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you’re a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she’ll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you’re a super-sexist. “When do they ever ask a man that question?” charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex–and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

  54. sas says:

    Well – I am tempted to vote for her just because there are sexists irrationally voting against her.

    Now, you think that is a crazy reason. I would argue that it would be just.

  55. allison says:

    One more: THIS article says exactly what I was trying to.

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/09/14/looking-at-sarah-somehow-seeing-condi/

  56. Tim J. says:

    On the rape kit thing, I did a quick search for some Wasilla crime statistics, and found http://www.disastercenter.com/alaska/crime/35.htm .

    According to that, there were 0 rapes in 1995, with a high of 2 in 2002. It seems reasonable to think that this might not have even shown up on Palin’s radar.

  57. Violet says:

    Allison, you seem to want to start us on a roster here of Feminists Behaving Badly?

    Katha Pollitt destroyed her credibility when she distorted Hillary Clinton’s record and pushed a bogus smear against Geraldine Ferraro. Pollitt, by the way, is supporting the “supremely under-qualified” Barack Obama.

    Pollitt is one of many public feminists who are making absolute disgraces of themselves right now. There are so many lies and double-standards and sexist slurs in her article I hardly know where to start. No, that’s not feminism. That’s bullshit.

  58. allison says:

    I am supporting Obama as well. And uh, Pollitt said of Clinton in her article about Clinton losing the nomination to Obama:

    “Clinton showed herself to be tough, tireless, supersmart and definitely ready to lead on that famous Day One. She raised a ton of money and won 17.5 million votes from men and women. She was exciting, too: she and Obama galvanized voters for six long months–in some early contests, each of them racked up more votes than all the Republican candidates combined.”

    She goes on to decry the sexism against Hillary.

    You make it sound as though she has some kind of vendetta against female politicians or something. What, in that last article, did she say that was sexist AT ALL? She acknowledges the hypocrisy of the Republicans crying sexism when they were the ones who said Hillary cried, Hillary didn’t cry, Hillary was “dykey”, Hillary was old, unattractive. Michelle Malkin said, “If that’s the face of experience, we should all be scared!”

    She also says she thinks we need to criticize Palin on her policy, not anything related to her personal life.

    Who makes up the base of the women on this website? It seems neither left nor feminist.

  59. Steven Mather says:

    Great post. Great discussion.

    looking for integrity,

    Thank you for the informative synopsis.

    V,

    I appreciate your mentoring role in showing how empathy informs understanding.

    People who reject Palin’s policy choices should also excoriate those who assail her with misogynistic bile.

    Further, for those who feel stuck with the Sophie’s choice of Democrat or Republican, and as noted by others, there are good choices outside of the mainstream. The real benefit of voting outside is that the mainstream flows with the voters. If enough people vote McKinney or Nader, the mainstream will necessarily move towards the policies of McKinney and Nader.

    SM

  60. allison says:

    For the record, I was supporting Edwards early in the primaries before the media made it clear they were gunning for a lady vs. black man battle and his numbers were way down. From that point on, I liked Hillary and Obama about equally, but figured Hillary would be a better pick for president and voted for her.

    So I am in no way against Hillary despite supporting Obama, so you know.

  61. Violet says:

    Katha Pollitt’s crocodile tears after Hillary lost were too little too late. She doesn’t get a pass for the lies she spread earlier.

    I don’t know if she has an axe to grind against women politicians or if she’s just obsessed with Barack Obama. Obamamania has turned quite a few otherwise intelligent people into raving loons this year, so that could certainly be it.

    That entire article you linked to is a farrago of lies and double-standard ridicule. If you can’t see that, then please, please — go back to Feminism 101 and start reading.

    As for who I am: probably more leftist and feminist than you’ve ever dreamed of being. And old.

  62. julia says:

    According to the Seattle P.I., McCain pays his women staff more than Obama does, although Obama recently criticized him for not supporting equal pay. It seems that 3 of McCain’s top 5 advisors are women, while Obama only has one. Of the other twenty high-level staffers, McCain has 13 to Obama’s 7.

  63. Sis says:

    Not off topic at all Megan, because it enabled the truth to come out about who and how and what jurisdictions charge for the kit. How are we to know unless? I was also, tonight, reading the transcripts of the Gibson/Palin interviews. Moje Cris Tabernac! Without someone posting those, I wouldn’t have known about that either.

  64. allison says:

    Violet,

    Good god. As a blogger, I would hope for at least a modicum of respect for your commenters. You’re more of a feminist than I am? You don’t know anything about me. And uh, what happened to the New Agenda, that didn’t say “In order to be a feminist, you have to be pro-choice”, or “In order to be a feminist, all you have to care about is gender equality as an ideal” rather than the particulars on how to achieve that.

    Why are you so angry? I never personally attacked you. There are plenty of good reasons why you can have a big problem with Palin and still be a feminist. Just as that article from Feministe described, Condi Rice is a black woman (and no, not self-loathing or an “Uncle Tom”), but that doesn’t mean she is working towards civil rights in a way that would best benefit other black people.

    And you know what? Condi doesn’t pretend to. Sarah Palin does. She talks about the glass ceiling, compares herself to Hillary, and calls herself a feminist. I’m not going to say with absolute certainty that she isn’t a feminist, because it isn’t a monolithic entity, but her version of feminism is not compatible with what I, and many other women, consider best for women.

    You honestly can’t see the hypocrisy in Republicans calling Democrats sexist? Obviously there are misogynist liberals, the same ones who made fun of Hillary, but they are not the majority. Although, you saying that I am less of a feminist while endorsing a heterogenous feminist coalition is pretty hypocritical, too, so maybe you just can’t see it.

  65. allison says:

    that didn’t say “In order to be a feminist, you have to be pro-choice”, or “In order to be a feminist, all you have to care about is gender equality as an ideal” rather than the particulars on how to achieve that.

    That didn’t make sense. I meant to say:

    that didn’t say “In order to be a feminist, you have to be pro-choice”, but actually said something like “In order to be a feminist, all you have to care about is gender equality as an ideal” rather than the particulars on how to achieve that.

  66. Violet says:

    Good god. As a blogger, I hope for at least a modicum of respect from my commenters.

  67. Steven Mather says:

    allison,

    You said: “Who makes up the base of the women on this website? It seems neither left nor feminist.”

    Your comment challenges the integrity of those here who are left and feminist (and feminist sympathizers). Effectively, you delivered an ad feminem attack. When Violet responded in kind, you cried out for respect.

    You state “You don’t know anything about me”, but, apparently, you consider yourself qualified to make judgments about the leftness and feministness of the people who frequent this site.

    Why the double standard?

    SM

  68. Tim J. says:

    Regarding Palin being a “fundamentalist,” here’s the AP stylebook’s view on that term:

    The word gained usage in an early 20th century fundamentalist-modernist controversy within Protestantism. In recent years, however, fundamentalist has to a large extent taken on pejorative connotations except when applied to groups that stress strict, literal interpretations of Scripture and separation from other Christians. In general, do not use fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to itself.

    The last sentence in particular should be kept in mind. Unless Palin has self-identified as such, you better be prepared to back up your claim and define “fundamentalist” if you want to apply it to her.

    Please note that believing something like “the Bible is the word of God” doesn’t make her fundamentalist, that just makes her orthodox.

  69. Kat says:

    Just look at Sarah Palin. She’s different from Hillary in almost every respect, yet she’s being assaulted just as Hillary was, only to an even more intense degree. It’s a virtual lynching. A burning in effigy. The hysteria of it, the ferocity of it, terrifies me.

    At the risk of a “me too”… me too. It utterly terrifies me in a way I don’t quite understand. It’s hard to shake the feeling that the country has gone insane.

    I’ve given this some thought and one of the reasons that I don’t get involved with feminist activism much is that I always feel out of step, like I am never feeling the correct thing. Honestly, abortion is low on the radar of myself and most women I know. It’s not without importance, but the women I associate with are largely working class and struggling, struggling, struggling. I work in a place with a rock solid glass ceiling and a gender divide that is deep and normalized. I once saw a feminist of a higher rank lecture a “lower woman” for voting Republican and explaining, as if to a child, how she was failing to support women. I’ve never forgotten that moment. The Republican woman had to sit there and take it, because she had no power and couldn’t fight back without risking her position and livelihood. Power, it’s a funny thing and every time I think I understand how it works, I see a new layer or a new dimension to it.

    Thought provoking post, Violet. Thank you.

  70. Violet says:

    About Katha Pollitt: this is what she wrote in 2006 on the subject of why she would probably vote for Hillary Clinton:

    But I want respect for women–and power is what gets you that…Maybe women should forget about being angels and start being more like Italians, Irish or blacks. Let me put it this way: Any candidate who wants me to vote for him instead of her had better have a whole long list of reasons, beginning with what he will do for women that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t do.

    As we all know, Barack Obama is much worse on women’s issues than Hillary. But Pollitt endorsed him anyway. So much for women’s issues.

    Then Pollitt went a step further and started lying about Hillary’s record and ridiculing her and her supporters. She repeated the slur against Geraldine Ferraro. She repeated the race-baiting smears from the Obama campaign. Obamamania? I guess so.

    Her nonsensical misogynist screed against Sarah Palin just confirms that she’s gone off the deep end. My god, she’s ridiculing the woman for being a mother and for having nice hair. I think Pollitt’s brain must have imploded.

  71. Alex Curylo says:

    @Apostate:

    “But making a case for how feminists can vote for a woman who would force her own daughter to have a child if she is impregnated through rape – well, then do it.”

    I just read in, hmmm, WSJ Online I think it was, that feminist case. Close as I can remember, it went like this:

    “My five year old granddaughter has no idea what ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ means. However, she can see clearly that a girl is Vice President, and so her view of the world will be that girls can grow up to be the most powerful people in the land, and not that they are slapped down and shut out of power. And that is why for the first time in my life I will vote Republican this November.”

    Seems to me that’s a pretty good argument.

  72. Carmonn says:

    “I’m also surprised that you don’t see her to be what she is: underqualified and not very smart. A bit of an embarrassment, really, almost as embarrassing as the clueless McCain.”

    But the same could be said of Obama and Biden, and that’s why some feminist, Democratic women are voting Republican this year.

    We have no good choices. We’re going to have a horrible woman-hating rightist President regardless. The difference is, if McCain wins, then we have chance to at least try and reform our party. If Obama wins, then his supporters will take over the party apparatus and keep control for the foreseeable future. And as they become more powerful they’ll become even more entrenched in their belief that they own our votes and can do whatever they want to us, not just in terms of treating female candidates like they’re subhuman but also in terms of policy, and we’ll come crawling back.

    That’s not something that we want to see happen, and it scares us more than the prospect of a McCain Administration, especially as many of us don’t really see how that would differ tremendously from an Obama Administration. For many people, that’s sort of it–they don’t see the Democratic Party being replaced by a third party any time soon, but they see it potentially ended as a vehicle for any kind of progressive change, leaving us with nothing.

    And I understand why feminist women will vote for Obama, because on balance they feel there’s enough of a difference between D’s and R’s to make it worth it. (Granted I don’t understand how any feminist would *happily* vote for Obama, but I understand a reluctant and grudging vote).

  73. grasshopper says:

    The thing is, we’re not voting for Palin, we’d be voting for McCain. As someone elsewhere pointed out, Palin is primarily an extremely effective Weapon of Mass Distraction. And the voters are falling for it – all this comparison between Palin and Obama, as if the two are running head to head. And McCain sits quietly in the background, safely out of the limelight, while we women scratch our heads over which one to choose.

    This is meant to take our attention away from how little power VPs traditionally have, and it’s working.

    If McCain were elected, people would be excited about Palin as VP for all of about two weeks, and then the cold, cruel reality of our deal with the devil would sink in. And we’d be stuck with it – for four. more. fricking. years.

    Regardless of how well Palin may model and uphold some ideas of equality for women, the person who’ll actually be holding the reins (should he be elected) is a blatantly misogynist loose cannon who openly treats his own wife like a high paid call girl in public. This is the creature who’ll be calling the shots, shaping public policy, representing us for the next 4 years (shudder), not Palin.

    Obama, for all his faults (and they are legion), at least models a man who somewhat walks the talk: He’s married to an intelligent, articulate woman who shares the stage with him as a (more or less) equal partner. Even though I despise the way Obama has treated women in his campaign in general, if I have to choose between the Obamas and the McCains as a ‘first couple’, there’s no contest. The Obamas are a class act compared to sleazologist McCain and company.

    The idea that getting a woman, any woman at all into a position of power is worth putting that unspeakable McToad of a human in the driver’s seat is so far beyond repugnant to me I can’t find words to describe it. The man is repulsive – a disrespectful, crude bully. Bush was bad enough – McCain will turn the U.S. into even more of a laughingstock than we already are. Or, worse yet, he will reinforce the notion that might makes right, and good behavior and diplomacy are dead and unnecessary as long as you have the all-important firepower to kick ass.

    A McCain presidency would hold up to the world a model of ‘leadership’ that has nothing to do with finesse, kindness, rationality, thoughtfulness, diplomacy, or any of the other values I personally hold dear. A McCain presidency would hold up the model of brute force, of crude, raw, undisciplined power.

    Like giving matches to a two-year-old.

  74. Alikatze says:

    Hmph, I tried to read the comments here and just got so fed up with the knee-jerkism of Apostate that I gave up reading the rest. Apostate, the debate isn’t about exclusion — we need to cool our heads and incorporate as many voices as possible in the political game (which the media and so-called liberal feminists don’t want!). I do believe McCain tried to say that in his acceptance speech — he’s not *just* a Republican. Are we forgetting that he tried to be John Kerry’s running mate in ’04?? I am soooooooo tired of the “feminists” out there ready to ditch Palin b/c of some gut terror of her “beliefs” — which, as Violet correctly pointed out, she is amenable to changing. Any politician willing to listen to the people is a good politician. Too bad Obama closed his ears off to the poor white working folk during the primaries — it’s gonna bite him in the ass and I’ll laugh myself silly if/when he loses the election.

    Apostate, get off your soapbox and start accepting that the American populace is a bit more diverse than your university-educated, upper middle class crowd. Start accepting that Sarah Palin appeals to a *lot* of working class Americans who don’t think like you do.

    As for Roe v. Wade, the worst that will happen is that it gets abolished on a national level and tossed to the states to decide. This is where being locally politically active is most important.

    Soooooo tired of the knee-jerk whining out there! Grrrr.

  75. Charity says:

    Hey Tim J, while you’re googling, you may want to google “Assembly of God” to see their doctrines spelled out in black and white.

    Here’s a link for you. This particular link indicates that the Scriptures are the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. They believe in the Rapture and other literal interpretations of the Bible, including speaking in tongues as a manifestation of the holy spirit.

    http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_full.cfm#1

    If you want to get pendantic, I will see you and raise you.

  76. Violet says:

    They believe in the Rapture and other literal interpretations of the Bible

    The Rapture isn’t in the Bible. It’s a 20th century doctrine.

    Assembly of God is a Bible church, but they’re careful to allow for nuance and interpretation. If you read their position papers on a host of subjects — for example, women’s role in the church — you’ll see how that works. That’s why they ordain women, and so forth — because they read the texts with a certain allowance for nuance and historical meaning.

    If you’re not familiar with the nitty-gritty of American protestantism (and it seems you’re not), there are real distinctions in just how literally the Bible is interpreted.

    AOG is also a non-hierarchical church, which means it’s a confederated assembly of churches, not a top-down ecclesiastical organization. Some AOG churches are more fundamentalist than others.

    I think you’re using the term “fundamentalist” to mean any conservative Christian, or perhaps any Bible church.

  77. Violet says:

    By the way, I’m not saying that AOG isn’t crazy. They are their own brand of crazy, like virtually all evangelical Christians. But it’s not the same kind of crazy as the fundie Baptists, for example.

    If I had to choose between the AOG and the Southern Baptists or any of those fundie churches still pushing female submission, I would take the AOG any day. Any day.

  78. Sis says:

    Hahahah Alison. You’re such a naif. I’m Canadian. I’m 66; a so-called second wave feminist. A very left feminist, in fact, I vote so far left you, an American, can’t even vote this far left, because don’t have a party that left, or a name for it that isn’t an insult.

    You don’t have to take the word of anyone here.

    Please go to the Italian Puma’s blog and read and watch the videos, and then link from there to the website that has the *transcripts* of the interview. Read the ACTUAL things she said, not the highly edited version. You are basing your opinion of her on lies and distortions, selected and taken out of context to make her look like some stereotyped caricature of a 1950s housewife.You are her, don’t you see?

    “Look you can see Russia right over there.” came at the end of a lot of very savvy points. It is conversational, and I think rather charming that she handles him like any person would. Just staying cool in the face of bald misogyny.

    Geez Peter Jennings is spinning.

    If you don’t have time to do some research before you speak, you show how you’ve been played.

  79. donna darko says:

    How Obama treats women is worse than losing Roe v Wade. Just because you haven’t been on the receiving end of this misogyny (Clinton supporters and Republicans) doesn’t mean it’s going to get WORSE if he is President. The same goes with how he treats GLBT. My suspicion is this derives from cultural nationalism which the Obamas may subscribe to through their old church.

  80. donna darko says:

    The last eight months was the worst sexism many women have experienced in their lives. I was never beaten or raped in my life but the last eight months was the first time I felt beaten or raped. And this was just the primary.

    And you’re next if Obama becomes President.

  81. Level Best says:

    Thank you Violet, Kat, SIS, Donna Darko, and many others on this thread. And I can certainly vouch for Sis’leftist, feminist cred’s. I’ve been reading her comments for years, including before she posted comments under “Sis.” She’s aboriginal American, too, and has a fine appreciation of the realities of life and economics above the US border.

    I am an older (mid-50′s) feminist–and working class–and since I am Appalachian to boot, I know and know of AOG church members with feminist and anti-homophobic facets. Don’t stereotype. Gov. Palin should not be simplified, vilified, and (thank you perceptive commenters!) burned at the stake. Her opponents may occasionally, when convenient, talk the feminist talk, but her life is far closer to walking the walk than theirs are.

  82. Happenstance says:

    From the Hollywood front: I see (courtesy of IMDB.com) that Lindsay Lohan has joined Matt Damon and Paris Hilton in the I May Be An Uninformed Idiot Pseudocelebrity But I Still Have An Opinion About Sarah Palin club:

    “Is it a sin to be gay?. Should it be a sin to be straight? Or to use birth control? Or to have sex before marriage? Or even to have a child out of wedlock? Is our country so divided that the Republicans’ best hope is a narrow-minded, media obsessed homophobe?”

    HA HA HA OH WOW. Do they think this hurts Palin? C’mon, Britney, join in! Call Palin a crappy parent!!

  83. Brian says:

    “The last eight months was the worst sexism many women have experienced in their lives. I was never beaten or raped in my life but the last eight months was the first time I felt beaten or raped. And this was just the primary.”

    This rhetoric is so over the top it is difficult to know how to respond. Your preferred candidate did not win and you equate that with being raped!! Isn’t that just slightly insulting to women who were in fact raped, including women of color who supported Obama over Clinton?

  84. Sis says:

    Brian, an owner of the instrument of rape said: “This rhetoric is so over the top it is difficult to know how to respond.”

    Don’t you just love it when the rapists tell women what is and isn’t rape. We, who daily live with fear of men raping us and limit ourselves throughout the whole of our lives, because of this assault which can only happen to women. We will decide how and when to use that word. We will define that word, not you.

    Any man who would make a post like that is a rapist. He has the mind of a rapist.

  85. Violet says:

    No more comments from people telling Donna Darko, a woman, how she’s supposed to feel about the misogyny she’s endured the past months.

    I’m deleting comments from people and will keep doing it.

  86. donna darko says:

    I’m a woman of color who supported Clinton and felt raped. Many Clinton supporters felt beaten and raped by the process. They said so in these terms.

  87. Happenstance says:

    I had (and have) no argument with Donna, but if Sis wants to turn RL into some exclusionary man-haters’ club with stuff like #84, by all means let me know right now and I’ll not bother you again.

    Nobody’s got any business telling me I’m a rapist on the basis of my genitals, any more than someone’s got any business telling me I must be racist because of my skin color. (…And just for the record? Yes, men can be raped.)

  88. donna darko says:

    Which do you prefer?

    a) an abusive husband who beats and rapes you every day for 30 years

    or

    b) a child you bear once in those 30 years because you missed the Pill one day;

    a) life as a woman under the Taliban or Black Nationalism in the 60s and 70s

    or

    b) life as a woman before 1973 (Roe v. Wade)

    In both cases, b) is preferable, but a) Obama and b) are both bad choices, so I will c) abstain.

  89. Anna Belle says:

    A most satisfying read, Dr. Socks. Thank you.

  90. Sis says:

    Somewhere, on certain blogs, I’ve been reading a lot of hate for people who hunt. This is a good article. I don’t know where else to put it, but I think people who don’t get that need to read this.

    “Now that field dressing has entered the national vocabulary, an understanding of the process may be in order.”

    And yes, that is what a moose would like like if you took that standard big nose picture people take of dogs and horses, of a moose. A moose is pretty delicious, much better than bison, or elk, I think. Way better than wild geese which are very oily and fat unless soaked in milk a lot before cooking.

    I digress. Yes. I certainly do.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/dining/17moose.html?pagewanted=all

  91. Brian says:

    Sis says: “Any man who would make a post like that is a rapist. He has the mind of a rapist.”

    I sm sorry but this is really offensive. I am certainly not denying that Clinton’s campaign revealed quite a bit of mysogyny. Quite frankly, I almost voted for Clinton because of this but ultimately leaned toward Obama–I am not an Obamanot, as I am rather lukewarm on him. All I said was I thought it was somewhat over the top to compare to being raped. What is even more over the top is to say this is equated with being a rapist.

    This is one more sign of how real political dialogue among progressives seems increasingly impossible these days. No wonder we always lose.

  92. donna darko says:

    Oh that’s it. THAT’S why we lose.

  93. donna darko says:

    For anyone who hasn’t read why Democrats lose.
    Unity Democrats are classist, elitist, sexist, honophobic and racist who only promote white, upper-middle-class males. And they will lose.

    The Confluence: Sense of the Species

    Anglachel: Where Shadows Lie

  94. Yanni Znaio says:

    Donna Darko, #93:

    You are dead on the money.

    Their use of the word “UNITY” is positively Orwellian.

  95. betsyfromtexas says:

    I am a feminist, born of a feminist. So I know what a feminist looks like. After having seven children my mother obtained her PhD at Rice University and went on to become a respected, tenured professor for many years before her passing. (I only wish she were still here to see Palin’s historic candidacy!) Thus, Sarah Palin looks like a feminist to me, and Hillary (whom I still love to pieces) is looking less like one, what with her kow-towing to the Obama machine—so what I truly hope that we real feminists will throw a wrench into that ‘machine’! Just call me a wench with a wrench!

  96. Sis says:

    Men cannot be raped. They can be sodomized. Only women can be raped, however men seem to think they will tell us whether or not a man raped a woman, and if and when we can use the word which applies only to us.

    Oh. And don’t call me a progressive.

    You might want to start on another blog. Try Feminism 101 at Echidne of the Snakes.

    P.S. In response to your request: Don’t bother me again.

  97. Sis says:

    That should be Feminism 101 or Echidne of the Snakes. You’ll feel more at home at the latter.

  98. Brian says:

    P.S. In response to your request: Don’t bother me again.

    Sis, if this is to me I have no idea what you are talking about and, quite honestly, I suspect what you think matters to me about as much as you care what I think. Don’t worry, I don’t suspect you of being progressive at all.

  99. Allison says:

    Um, yes men CAN be raped. They do not use the word “sodomize” in reference to child rape victims, male or female.

    If you think Sarah Palin is a feminist and Hillary is not, your brand of feminism and my brand of feminism should not even exist under the same umbrella term.

    And if you all are proponents of the “New Agenda” (I am not), how can you criticize other women for their definition of feminism? I am not of the opinion that you can be a pro-life feminist, and I don’t pretend to have a very inclusive definition of feminism. You all do.

  100. donna darko says:

    One commenter, betsyfromtexas, says she thinks Hillary is less a feminist and you assume everyone thinks like her?

    And The New Agenda is a brand new website so few know about it.

  101. Sis says:

    Sorry Vi I don’t have a link.

    To Brian or Happenstance, whichever: I should have ignored you like everyone else did. I’ll start now.

    ##

    Biting Beaver’s Rape Checklist.

    1. You are a rapist if you get a girl drunk and have sex with her.

    2. You are a rapist if you find a drunk girl and have sex with her.

    3. You are a rapist if you get yourself drunk and have sex with her. Your drunkeness is no excuse.

    4. If you are BOTH drunk you may still be a rapist.

    6. If she’s sleeping and you have sex with her you’re a rapist.

    8. If she’s taking sleeping pills and doesn’t wake up when you have sex with her then you’re a rapist.

    9. If she is incapacitated in any way and unable to say ‘Yes’ then you’re a rapist.

    13. You are a rapist if you ‘nag’ her for sex. Because you manage to ply an eventual ‘yes’ from a weary victim doesn’t mean it’s not rape. You are a rapist.

    14. You are a rapist if you try to circumvent her “No” by talking her into it. She’s not playing hard to get, and, even if she IS it’s not YOUR responsibility to ‘get’ her. You’re still a rapist.

    15. You are a rapist if you manipulate her into sex when she doesn’t otherwise want it. If you say, “If you loved me you’d do X” then you’re a rapist. If you say, “All the other kids are doing it!” then you’re a rapist.

    17. You are a rapist if you don’t immediately get your hands off of her when she says ‘no’. You are a rapist if you take your hands off of her and then put them back ON her after 10 minutes and she eventually ‘gives in’ to this tactic.

    18. You are a rapist if you won’t let her sleep peacefully without waking her every 15 minutes asking her for sex. Sleep depravation is a form of torture and YOU are a rapist.

    20. If you’re engaged in intercourse and she says ‘No’ at ANY point and you don’t immediately stop then you’re a rapist.

    21. If she said “Yes” to sex with a condom and that condom breaks and you proceed anyway then you’re a rapist.

    22. If she picked you up at a bar looking for sex and then decides that she doesn’t WANT sex and you continue then you’re a rapist.

    23. If she changes her mind at ANY point for ANY reason and you don’t immediately back off or you try to talk her into it and get sex anyway then you’re a rapist.

  102. Sis says:

    cont’d

    17. You are a rapist if you don’t immediately get your hands off of her when she says ‘no’. You are a rapist if you take your hands off of her and then put them back ON her after 10 minutes and she eventually ‘gives in’ to this tactic.

    18. You are a rapist if you won’t let her sleep peacefully without waking her every 15 minutes asking her for sex. Sleep depravation is a form of torture and YOU are a rapist.

    20. If you’re engaged in intercourse and she says ‘No’ at ANY point and you don’t immediately stop then you’re a rapist.

    21. If she said “Yes” to sex with a condom and that condom breaks and you proceed anyway then you’re a rapist.

    22. If she picked you up at a bar looking for sex and then decides that she doesn’t WANT sex and you continue then you’re a rapist.

    23. If she changes her mind at ANY point for ANY reason and you don’t immediately back off or you try to talk her into it and get sex anyway then you’re a rapist.

  103. donna darko says:

    Actually, Betsy from texas has a point.

  104. BETSYFROMTEXAS says:

    Thanks, donna. And Allison, I wrote that Hills is “looking LESS like one [a feminist]“. Didn’t mean to imply that she should turn in her ‘card’ or anything like that. (A closer reading of my comment would have served you better.) Anyway, I’m just plain disappointed at Hillary being willing to submit to the wishes of her crappy party. I can’t guess at her motivations, but color me saddened, all the same.

  105. Redstar says:

    I found this post via RKMK and so I’m late to the game here. Here’s what I wrote over at her place:

    I disagree with Reclusive Leftist’s conclusion:

    “That’s why women are going to vote for Sarah Palin. Especially women over 40, because they’re the ones old enough to have grown up before the backlash, before the zeitgeist of misogyny took hold. They’ll be voting from their guts.”

    Everything I’m seeing is showing me that women are the ones most repelled over time by Palin’s nomination and lack of fit for the job. Take for instance this poll finding:

    “In early to mid-September, a majority of Americans (52 percent) said they considered Palin qualified to be president, according to an independent Pew Research Center survey. But a follow-up poll, completed Monday and released yesterday, found that just over one in three (37 percent) hold that view now.

    Women were more likely than men to have changed their opinion and are less likely than men to view Palin as qualified, according to Pew’s latest poll.”

    - From The Baltimore Sun
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/tv/bal-te.debate02oct02,0,4587753.story

    All the older, diehard Clinton women I knew were insulted by McCain’s nomination of Palin, and I think that the last 5 weeks have only reinforced that effect. The added sloppiness of the GOP and media to frame critique’s of Palin in “sexist” and “feminist” terms I think has only further angered many women and feminists. It strikes me that to assume women are voting from “their guts” gives them about as much agency as the “Pepsi Generation” who are supposedly spellbound by Obama.

    (And I was a MAJOR Clinton supporter and am a reluctant Obama-Biden supporter.)