Palin Sexism Watch: VPILF Edition

As we noted over and over throughout the Democratic primary, it’s important to decry sexism against women in politics even if you don’t agree with them on the issues or endorse their candidacy. With that we’re depressed to note that the sexist bullshit against Republican VP pick Sarah Palin is cropping up so soon:

C’mon. Criticize her on the basis of her political record or experience. Don’t make it about looks.
(For those who don’t get the “joke,” this should explain it.)
UPDATE: And Jill points out another incident, too.

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  • Logrus

    a.k.a. Ninapendamaishi:
    Port-a-johns and toilets serve a useful (some might even say necessary) purpose in society. Movies that at best get some laughs, and at worse reinforce young men’s feelings of ownership towards women’s sexuality and their ignorance of their privilige? Not so much.
    This has precisely nothing to do with the point, but instead manages to imply an argument I never made. I never said that teenage sex movies served a purpose, I said that is was ignorant to expect a teenage sex comedy to be anything other than offensive. Just like it would be ignorant to expect a portolet not to smell bad.
    I’ve made it clear that my argument was not in defense of these films, but in surprise that anyone would expect anything other than repulsive antics in one. You decided I was attacking someone’s “right to be offended, which was at least on-point. I think I made it clear that I was challenging the good sense in being offended by something inherently offensive so you completely change tack for god knows what reason.
    You misunderstood my point, I clarified. Fin. If you want to argue with the point I actually made then I guess you can try, but it’s pretty elementary. Salt is salty, stink is stinky, these movies are predicated on raunchy stupid mentalities. Being “surprised” by any of the above is silly at best.
    Notice I’ve not said anything about people being surprised that real life comments reflect these ideas. Because unlike stupid movies real life should not be expected to have this kind of crap in it. It’s reasonable to be surprised at this kind of stupidity in real life, even the internet, people should be ashamed to think like that.

  • Lala

    I think sexism is getting thrown around to the point of being a meaningless term. If every little thing is sexism then being so is not a big deal. Nobody takes it seriously.

  • wickedwench

    I’m not shocked at the critique, I’m shocked that people bother to be offended by a product designed to appeal to the prurient interests of late-teen/early 20 boys.
    Logrus, it’s worth critiquing not just because all of these “late-teen/early 20 boys” are watching this crap, it’s because our culture is SATURATED with this type of “humor.” The fact alone that most people on this blog (a feminist, woman-centered forum at that) knows exactly what a MILF is shows you how ubiquitous this shit is. You don’t even have had to see the movie to get the references–MILF is a cultural meme.
    It’s not just immature boys watching and it’s not just “American Pie” (it’s american pie 1, 2, 3, etc. knocked up…). And even if it was, it would be disturbing enough that an entire generation of young men find this type of sexism funny. Not to mention the people who actually produce these movies…
    There is a huge industry behind these “lad” movies. I think it’s just a bit disturbing that not only do these movies have such wide appeal, but the so many similar movies are being made year after year. They’re making a shit load of money. Don’t you think it’s worthing discussing why?

  • anthony

    McCain picking this woman is a stroke of brilliance. The Democratic party is still torn based on perceived misogyny Hillary received during the primaries. [sorry, she lost because of ignoring caucuses, not sexism] Obama now finds himself pandering to groups like NOW and Emily’s List. Palin might as well be teflon considering both Obama and Biden must now walk on egg shells before saying anything about her. One missed-placed comment would surely convince some Hillary supporters to jump ship and vote for McCain.
    I say ‘perceived’ misogyny because it seems female politicians are now protected by the umbrella of political correctness. Look at McCain. The media often makes fun of his age. Could you imagine a 72 year old female candidate receiving such treatment?

  • Julia

    I recently read a poll that found that more men are excited about her than woman. Conservative men are excited to vote for a hot chick, even Rush Limbaugh said “we have a babe on our ticket.”
    Somebody on from another blog referred to these men as “I’d tap that voters.”
    The fact is McSogyny McCain, picked man’s conservative wet dream to attract women voters…
    He screwed up…

  • Julia

    I agree that men have also been judged on physical appearance when running for office.
    JFK attracted many women voters with his looks… or I am told so
    But Palin’s case isn’t quite the same. She was picked by McCain to attract supporters.
    She was picked by a man to attract woman of all voters, so it is fair to believe that her looks and image were considered as a marketing tool.

  • Mina

    anthony commented at August 31, 2008 12:35 AM: “Look at McCain. The media often makes fun of his age. Could you imagine a 72 year old female candidate receiving such treatment?”
    Sure I could, the same way I’ve already seen Clinton criticized for looking older.

  • SaraLaffs17

    Newbomb: show me where on the internets the other 7-year-olds are converging to discuss the relative “hotness” of Gov. Palin’s youngest daughter, and we’ll talk. ;)
    I’m more bothered in general by the fact that anyone feels the need to note the attractiveness of a candidate’s children (male or female), as if that has some bearing on the person’s qualifications. It’s bad enough to see how many people obsess over the candidates appearances without dragging their families into it.

  • Mama Mia

    The attractiveness of Mitt Romney’s kids (all adult men) was also a pretty common thread, and I think the Romney campaign actually kind of played it up. I also remember quite a few voters interviewed on tv mentioning how attractive Romney himself was.
    I only bring this up because I am going through all sorts of back and forth in my own head on this.

  • Newbomb Turk

    Seven-year-olds don’t do that. I was referring to teenagers.

  • s ohara

    As a father of two girls and a husband of a UC Berkley “feminist” I’m shocked at the liberalist reaction toward Sarah Palin as the would-be VP. This woman is no shrinking violet and she’s not there to be a wall flower to McCain. Absolutely nothing in her past suggest anything remotely close to that description. It is clear that the attack on her background is a strongly political bias against her Republican standing and not for the potential she has as major impact in American politics. Republicans viewed Hillary as a formidable opponent on the merits of her experience and accomplishments, not because she was a woman. And it wasn’t because she’s a woman that we were happy to see her go. Obama had his chance to set up and elect Hillary as his running mate. Instead, he took the safe route by picking Biden, a washed up buffoon who needed this pick to be relevant anymore. So, please, enough of this bashing about McCain. McCain had the guts to pick an out-of-nowhere woman Gov. to be his running mate, and now the Democrats are criticizing him for doing it. Woman everywhere should be delighted that a woman of Palin’s character and yes, charm, to be in the #2 slot to lead America. I think your criticism of her is patently anti-feminist. She’s a woman of conviction and values and she puts here money where her mouth is. Shame on you naysayers.

  • s ohara

    Damn right Sarah Palin isn’t Hillary Clinton, and thank God for that. She’s 10x the woman Hillary is. Hillary wanted the presidency so bad that she fooled herself into thinking it was entitled to her. She lost to Obama and Obama didn’t want her. Do you know why? I’ll tell you why. It’s not because she was woman. It’s because he knew, deep down, that Hillary would undermine him in office. Plain and simple. If you want to take your grudges somewhere, don’t attack this remarkable woman. Stick it Obama who had his chance to elect a woman. Now, if Hiilary steps up for Obama to defend him against Palin, now that will be a perfectly visible contrived move. Not that she would anyway…..
    What’s wrong with you people, a woman – and a damn good one at that – is knocking on the door of a major political breakthrough!! And you’re still griping about Hillary losing! Wake up.
    Posted by SarahPalinISNTHillaryClinton | August 29, 2008 4:18 PM
    It might or might not be funny – that’s not the point. It’s sexist and that’s the point. Racist and sexist jokes may or may not be funny, but that doesn’t make them any less racist or sexist and it certainly doesn’t make them any more acceptable. Both contribute to the overall white, patriarchal powerbase and status quo.
    She’s as bad for the country and for women/families/children/LGBTQ as John McCain is – and it’s not because she’s a woman and it’s not because she’s pretty.
    It’s because of her politics.

  • anthony

    Ladies, start your engines!
    ‘Biden: Palin’s good-looking’
    ‘Joe Biden says there are obvious differences between himself and fellow vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, but they’re not just on policy. She’s good-looking.
    “There’s a gigantic difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent,” Biden said at an outdoor rally Sunday, getting ready to hit the GOP ticket for their economic policies.
    “She’s good-looking,” he quipped.

  • ivy

    Oh, and I would like to request that we stop highlighting the fact that she was a beauty queen. This is irrelevant and condescending. It is only used as an insult against a formidable woman (who happens to have terrible politics)
    I think the fact that she was a beauty queen is relevant, it speaks to what she thinks proper roles are for women. Ugh.
    Look pretty, play stupid, only have as many choices as we allow you.
    The barely suppressed giggle whenever she speaks and the feigned ignorance about what her role would be as vice president make me want to puke.

  • anthony

    I like her, she reminds me of my mom. Thats a compliment, mom [Lucia] is the woman I admire most.

  • Mama Mia

    Including her beauty queen status as part of her complete resume is fine, and yes, it does tell us a great deal. What I was referring to (in an incompletely explained comment) was the fact that she is very often introduced in articles as “former beauty queen, Sarah Palin” rather than “current governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin”. It is a way to minimize what she has accomplished. It wouldn’t be fair to do to you and it isn’t fair to do to her. Interestingly, it is done by both left and right wing media. And just to be clear, I disagree on every issue with her (except I think I heard she was pro-contraception, so there is that, I guess). This is not about trying to puff up her meager experience, it is about not erasing what she has actually done, just because she entered a beauty contest.

  • kangajee

    I would just like to say… that you have all provided a great mass of different and well-articulated opinions. I was completely shocked when my friend told me about the VPILF development, and really rather unsure of how to react. Thank goodness for Google directing me to this site then, eh?
    I’ve read through all your opinions, and although I’m still in the first state of shock/muddled thoughts, I’d just like to say thank you, to all of you, for your insights, whether I agreed with you or not!
    One of the richest collection of comments I’ve read on the Web. Kudos & thanks again to all.

  • kangajee

    (And I created an account just to say that, btw.)