Emily’s List

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 · 39 Comments »

First of all, let me apologize for my absence. I have been so busy running the world with the Secret Feminist Cabal® that I actually forgot to update my blog. I know, I feel like Steve Martin saying that—”I forgot to pay my taxes”—but it’s true. I just lost track of time.

I haven’t even been keeping up with the news. Until today, when someone on Facebook mentioned the new Emily’s List anti-Sarah Palin video and ad campaign. I haven’t watched the video yet, but I did read the article in Bloomberg’s, wherein the president of Emily’s List justifies her group’s campaign by saying, “We didn’t want women across the country to think that there’s only one voice for women.”


Okay, Emily’s List? If you don’t want women (or anybody else) to think that there’s only one voice for women, then why are you obsessing over the political opinions of this one woman? In the gender-neutral world we all wish for—a world where women are half the human race and, as Gloria Steinem once said, a mediocre woman can do as well as a mediocre man—obviously women are going to be all over the map with their opinions, politics, and abilities. Just like men are. Yes? And the notion of one woman speaking for all women will be as ludicrous as the notion of one man speaking for all men. Yes? And while we’re not living in a gender-neutral world yet, we are living in a world where women have been active and prominent across the full political spectrum for decades now. Yes? And so your concern that people might think this one woman somehow speaks for all women is rather absurdly misplaced. Yes? And in fact your whole campaign seems to actually undermine the idea that women are simply half the human race and that no one woman speaks for all women. Yes?


UPDATE: Someone just pointed me to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, where she has a post up today honoring the ratification of the 19th amendment. I have to quote from it, because the reference to the Emily’s List thing actually made me laugh:

On this anniversary of women’s suffrage, let’s take a moment to be grateful for the diversity of the debate. Women don’t walk in lockstep with each other in politics, any more than men do. We should be proud of our ability to engage in a civil discussion and healthy debate. I know I am. Unfortunately, I’ve recently come under attack for speaking up for sisters who seek to serve in public office. The sad part is that the attack comes from other sisters who happen to be on the other side of an issue that has been of great importance to American women from the time of our feminist foremothers, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, down to today. I’m speaking of the issue of life. I feel compelled to offer some advice to our sisters who like to throw stones at those of us who respectfully disagree with them on this issue (and they sometimes refuse to even countenance the fact that some of us can call ourselves feminists and disagree with those who claim the mantle of “real feminists”). First, ladies, it’s hard to take a critic seriously when they lecture you wearing a bear suit. So, it’s difficult for me to drum up much outrage at this latest ad. But, really, lying about a sister while wearing an Ewok outfit is no way to honor our foremothers on the eve of the 90th anniversary of their victory. But, that aside, I’d love to know where you got those get-ups. Halloween is just around the corner, and Piper and Trig would look adorable as little grizzly bears.

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39 Responses to “Emily’s List”

  1. Swannie says:

    So Ewoks speak for women now ?? We can’t catch a break can we?

  2. Shannon Drury says:

    I’m no Palin fan (as a charter member of the Cackle of Rads), but this doesn’t seem like the best use of EL’s resources.

  3. Violet Socks says:

    I agree, Shannon. I’m hardly a Palin fan myself, but I feel no need to launch a movement to tell the world that this one woman doesn’t speak for me.

    I haven’t seen the Emily’s List video, so I don’t know what the tone is or what their planned anti-Palin action center (?) is all about. But frankly I don’t see the value in attacking this one woman. It doesn’t seem feminist to me. Why focus on attacking her?

  4. Irlandese says:

    I find myself telling people over and over that the more they talk–negative or otherwise–about Palin, the bigger she gets. If they want to be a ‘Palin Stooge’, then that’s their prerogative. I’m usually met with immediate silence. Mission accomplished.

  5. Ciccina says:

    So this is what Stephanie Schrlock is up to… God I hope she’s not another Nancy Keenan (by which I mean, ineffectual and easily manipulated by party insiders).

    Of course you’re right, Violet – framing Palin as some sort of singular spokeswoman for women increases her credibility.

    Besides, attacking a woman who isn’t an office-holder or even a candidate does nothing to help Democratic women get elected.

    There are men in Congress right now who say and do outrageous things and are running for reelection. But the burden of framing them as extreme is shifted to individual campaigns. Groups and individuals with access to the media should be working on exposing these nuts, not wasting time, money, and energy on someone who’s not running and doesn’t have a vote in Congress.

    There are plenty of ways to raise money and educate the base about important issues at the same time. This ain’t one of them.


  6. ugsome says:

    Why are women engaging in big-fish-in-a-small-pond minority politics? We’re the damned ocean.

  7. Ciccina says:

    “anti-Palin action center” ?? Crazy. I guess “lack of strategic direction center” was taken.

    Gag me.

  8. Violet Socks says:

    You are hilarious.

  9. Adrienne in CA says:

    Exactly. Just as the antidote to hate speech is more speech, the antidote to that woman is more women. Thought that was what Emily’s List was trying to promote.


  10. monchichipox says:

    I knew you’d say it better than I could. When you watch the video you will see how unbelievably bad it really is. I’ve seen a lot of stoopid political ads in my day but this is really jaw dropping bad.

    Not only that but I watched the video on youtube. When you watch a video, as I’m sure you know, there is a side bar for “other videos by…”. On EMILY’s list side bar everyone one of the videos was one attacking women. Conservative women of course.

    I would say the video looked like the boys in the 9th grade AV club made it but I can’t. If the boys have made the women would have been prettier and wearing grizzly bearskin bikinis.

    You really have to watch it because your head will spin in embarrassment for them.

  11. monchichipox says:

    If the boys had made it….

    some day I’ll proofread before I hit post.

  12. Violet Socks says:

    Okay, I just watched the video over at TGW. Mostly it seems silly. The whole premise seems strange to me: “I’m a mama grizzly, but Sarah Palin doesn’t speak for me.”

    Well, the mama grizzly reference comes from Sarah Palin, right? She has referred to her like-minded female supporters as “mama grizzlies.” So…how much sense does it make for Emily’s List to dress up like mama grizzlies? They’re not really grizzly bears, obviously. So they’re dressing up like, um, Palin supporters, saying that they don’t really support Palin.

    I guess they’re just outraged that Palin has dared to use the highly-sought-after label of “mama grizzlies” to describe her supporters.

  13. Cyn says:

    I saw it on facebook this morning, too. I couldn’t watch it. I have always had a lot of respect for Emily’s List and this is just another slap in the face to a women from someone I never expected would do such a thing.

    I should be used to it by now, but I am never going let myself be used to it.

  14. Adrienne in CA says:

    Re the update, wow. Could Emily’s List have more effectively paved Palin’s way to the high ground? I’m getting sick of asking why progressives take the bait every time. Hard not to see this as a deliberate divide and distract tactic to dilute women’s power.


  15. propertius says:


  16. quixote says:

    ugsome: “We’re the damned ocean.”


  17. Sameol says:

    They’re not just going after the one woman, they’re also going after the female candidates she’s endorsed. Because obviously, this is the best possible use of resources for a group dedicated to promoting pro-choice Democratic women officeholders.

  18. Violet Socks says:

    Because obviously, this is the best possible use of resources for a group dedicated to promoting pro-choice Democratic women officeholders.

    Well of course. After Sarah Palin single-handedly imposed the Stupak Amendment Executive Order removing all abortion coverage from public healthcare. Coming on top of her six-thousand-year single-handed imposition of the patriarchy and all. She’s gotta be stopped.

  19. SYD says:

    Emily’s List has lost it’s collective mind.

    And to think I actually attended some E.L. meetings …. back in the good old days. You know… the pre-Obama days….

    Geesh. What a waste of resources.

  20. myiq2xu says:

    I don’t recall the NAACP and other African-American groups attacking Black conservatives like Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes the way some feminist groups are going after Sarah Palin.

    I’m pretty sure the NAACP didn’t support or endorse Clarence Thomas. They may even have opposed his nomination and publicly criticized him.

    But they didn’t target him with ad campaigns claiming he was the Antichrist and go around telling people he wanted to bring back slavery.

    I must confess that the hysterical reactions of progressives and other members of the political left to Sarah Palin’s stubborn refusal to shut up and go away are a major source of amusement for me.

    Most losing VPOTUS candidates couldn’t get a fraction of the attention Sarah’s gets even if they went on a cross-country killing spree.

  21. Sweet Sue says:

    Dammit, Sarah Palin, stop making me like you.

  22. AM says:

    She scares them. Sarah Palin holds conservative positions on abortion, but when fundies wanted to move against abortion rights she did nothing (and she had the power do something) to help them, and they failed.

    She has a strong focus on the problems women, especially women with children, face, and we could use a lot more of such focus. Hillary can do only so much alone. Palin reminds me of my three sisters and six sisters in law. Power femmes, mother bears.

    The EL women see all this as power leaking from them and their network of sister organizations.

  23. Irlandese says:

    I finally watched the video itself. I’m laughing–at them! Ineffective is an understatement.

    Ewoks. My goddish.

  24. sam says:

    Back in 2000 I wrote to Emily’s List and asked them if they supported pro-choice women candidates who were not affiliated with the Democratic Party. They sent a long, garbled response that didn’t actually answer my simple question, so I asked again.

    Emily’s List only gives support to the Democratic Party.

  25. Jymn says:

    Thanks Emily for empowering Sarah Palin with your embarrassing video. Sigh.

  26. Violet Socks says:

    She has a strong focus on the problems women, especially women with children, face

    She does?

  27. Upstate Fran says:

    I actually kind of admire Sarah Palin. I don’t usually admit that unless I’m at a cocktail party with my liberal friends whom I suspect voted for Obama over my girl Hillary.
    When she announced she gave a shout out to Hillary – at great risk considering the crazies in her party.
    I’m feeling grumpy these days anyway over all the lefties I know fighting for the right to build an “open to all” swimming pool in lower Manhattan where the women will have to swim in body bags because scuba gear is too form fitting.
    So glad Violet came through for me here. That Emily’s list thing made me nuts. How does this get women into office? They need to get off their knees and stop …oh never mind. I’m over them.

  28. naomi dagen bloom says:

    My question: when/how/if there is any energy among progressive women to identify candidates we want to support. What about women already in office–Congress or state level–that we might mobilize behind? Or elsewhere?

  29. AM says:

    That’s the impression I came away with after reading a couple of pieces about her a few months ago. Don’t remember where. I’ll rummage around, see if I can find them.

  30. madamab says:

    Look, I know you’re all frustrated with the Democratic Party, but doesn’t this t-shirt make you feel all empowered and stuff? It’s pink!


    (In case you can’t tell, I’m SNARKING here. I can’t believe this and a bunch of women dressing up in bear suits is the Democratic Party’s idea of female voter outreach. Sheeeeeeeeesh.)

  31. Sameol says:

    My favorites are “supportive” (in bigger letters than some of the other descriptors) and “beautiful.”

    That pretty much sums it up.

  32. Violet Socks says:

    They have “sassy.” Sassy. Help me, Jesus.

  33. anna says:

    Is there any way to convice the Democratic party that “sometimes slightly better for women than Republicans” is not acceptable? Not voting for Dems seems to just inspire them to move even more to the right.

  34. cwaltz says:

    I disagree with Sarah Palin, but Lordy I can’t help but admire that response. She took the high road while EL took the low road.

    Meanwhile,in Congress, in the House, Smith Lipinski is seeking to codify the conscience clause into law. EL? Would you like to explain to us why you didn’t put an ad out explining to women that their birth control pills are “abortifactants” and give statistics on how 1 in 4 children is now reliant on food stamps for food(but hey lets cut funding for pills)? I’m sure EL is right though and Sarah Palin is the MUCH BIGGER threat to pro choice women. Sigh. Can anyone say crappy way to prioritize?

  35. Grace says:

    I also don’t agree with Palin’s positions but I like her guts, determination, and “in your face” and “f*## you” attitude regardless of all those who tried to silence and ridiculed her starting back in 2008. She has kept doing her thing. Now, I think that Emily’s list and the rest of the sheeps are simply scared of her….sad but true. This organization, like NARAL, Planned parenthood, and Ms. magazine with Donna Brazile’a columns (at least NOW under its current president inspires more hope) are not independent entities, not that they ever were. They just follow the democratic party’s orders.

  36. Nessum says:

    I was saddened and appalled to see the way blogs I usually rely on to cut through the bs and tell the truth, all handled the charges against Wikileaks’ founder as a conspiracy from the US Government/CIA to “get” Assange, totally leaving out the two women – human beings you know – who had pressed charges, one of rape, one of sexual assault, against Assange.

    The charge of rape was initially accepted by the assistant DA, but later dismissed by the DA (both female), but investigation into the allegations of sexual assault (in both cases) is ongoing.

    False accusation of rape is a very serious matter, and I believe punishable, and there’s no excuse for it, none! But in this case it seems to have been as much a mis-description by the Assistant DA as by the young woman in question. Both women had given very detailed descriptions to the police, which they both stand by. Both admitted to having consented to sex, which then went out of hand and their protests hadn’t been accepted.

    Does Assange’s work with WikiLeaks mean that he can’t be a total a-hole with women? Or that he maybe has a false perception of Scandinavian women as being, I don’t know … easy prey?

    The woman who pressed charges for sexual assault contacted the paper Aftonposten to correct some false allegations, made by the gossip-rag Expressen. She told them that Assange wasn’t violent but he seemed to have a skewed view of women and didn’t take no for an answer.

    Btw, interesting that Google translation apparently couldn’t find a similar word in English and had to use the Swedish word “kvinnosyn”. This term is found in all the Scandinavian languages, means “perception/view of women”, and is mostly used about (men’s/religion’s) negative/ demeaning perception of women.

    Latest: The assistant DA has now been reported to the Justice Ombudsman by an organisation working for juridical fairness.

  37. Briar says:

    I don’t think you can underestimate the capacity to reason of the human race. Mostly, they don’t do it. They behave like a hormone driven mob. Let an idea grow fixed and hey presto – everything will revolve around it however counter-productive it might be. Thus it is with liberals and Sarah Palin (over here in the UK too). Get them on a rant and her name will be dragged in by hook or by crook, never mind whether it is relevant or not. She’s bait they cannot stop themselves taking. And meanwhile a lot more obnoxious things get said by totally assinine and nasty right wingers that just get ignored in the rush to stomp on Palin.

  38. Sameol says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Nessum. It’s ridiculous to assume that just because he’s a good investigative journalist, he must be blameless here. Men of all political ideologies rape, just ask the women of the anti-war movement. And since rape isn’t taken at all seriously, it would be foolish for the giant conspiracy not to use a crime that’s taken much more seriously to discredit him. Ask Roman Polanski.

  39. tinfoil hattie says:

    Sarah Palin is full of baloney. “High road” my ass. She complains about women attacking other women, and then turns around and does the same thing with her “cackle of rads” comment – which makes no sense, by the way – what is a “cackle” other than a reference to Hillary Clinton’s laugh?

    Emily’s List is full of baloney also. What a stupid, immature video to put up. It seems like a desperate “hee-hee, let’s make the boys like us & think we’re cute and funny” ploy.