Palin Sexism Watch: Sexist Stereotypes Edition

For the record, asking questions about Sarah Palin’s record, experience, or policy positions is NOT sexist. But selling/wearing T-shirts with designs like this certainly is:

The real sexism against Palin, like the designs above, has been the flip-side of the sexism against Hillary Clinton. A sadly perfect illustration of the Catch-22 women face. You’re either a scary, ugly, old, mannish harpy. Or a ditzy, perky, fuckable bimbo. You’re either cracking nuts between your thighs or dressed up like Britney Spears. The sexist remarks about Clinton and Palin are like our hate mail (“you ugly man-hater!” followed by “gimme a blow job!”) writ large. It doesn’t matter that, in reality, neither Hillary Clinton nor Sarah Palin fits these stereotypes. Both are attractive women who have made their fair share of political enemies. But reality doesn’t matter much in terms of how they’re portrayed.

Which is why it’s (almost) hilarious to see someone like David Brooks declare that feminists’ problem with Palin isn’t based on her anti-woman stance on the issues, but that she’s “not a real woman because she doesn’t hew to their rigid categories.”

Excuse me, our rigid categories? Last I checked, feminists were outraged at Palin being labeled a MILF and Hillary being labeled a bitch. Putting women in sexist little boxes is exactly what we’re against. Maybe we need to send Brooks a copy of Jessica’s book on double-standards?

Join the Conversation

  • Danyell

    I know some people have been torn during this campaign, how to feel about certain remarks against Palin, what’s considered sexist…
    But I think we can all agree that THIS is sexist and intolerable…and friggin’ disgusting. I just can’t tell if the wearer of these shirts are for or against Palin!
    Where are these from anyway?

  • Ann

    I chose not to post links to where they’re available to buy. One is on Cafe Press, and one was advertised by BlogAds.

  • jstein

    It’s just proof that these idiots are about as creative as a box of staples, except that they can’t hold papers together… or read.

  • Roland Buckles

    Seems Sarah is the best choice we have.
    Barack and that other guy claim they will be for the people, but there past record proves otherwise.
    You call yourselves feminists, yet you hate woman.

  • AnUnfunnyFeminist

    I’m not sure what’s creepier, the sexism or John McCain’s vibrating head.
    I really want to ask Governor Palin about the accusations of sexism against Barack Obama and the sexism in these shirts and the doll that aren’t reported on or decried by the McCain campaign. Does she only care about sexist attacks against her when they’re politically convenient to her? I think I already know the answer.

  • AnUnfunnyFeminist

    Roland, do you know how to read?

  • SarahPalinISNTHillaryClinton

    “Seems Sarah is the best choice we have.” / “You call yourselves feminists, yet you hate woman.”
    Roland, have you actually assessed Sarah Palin’s issue stances when it comes to women’s issues?
    Senator Obama’s rankings from Women’s Groups:
    2005-2006 American Association of University Women – 90%
    2005-2006 Business and Professional Women USA – 100%
    2005-2006 Federally Employed Women – 100%
    2005-2006 National Organization for Women – 91%
    2005 American Association of University Women – 83%
    2005 National Organization for Women – 100
    Take a moment, and learn what Palin’s issue stances are:

  • tiggrrl

    Ugh. I think this is the worst so far. You just prompted me to do a post with all the sexist images of Palin I’ve seen so far:
    I also linked back here to get people to read the breakdown on why the sexism directed at Palin is the flip-side of that directed at Hillary.


    Sarah Palin doesn’t seem offended. She’s loving all the attention and you fuckin know it.

  • Bondo

    Can we try to keep some perspective on this? Yes, there are some horrible sexists out there, and they produce this kind of rubbish. But I’d still argue the vast majority of people (even of men) are not approaching Palin or Clinton with an attitude of sexism. We shouldn’t base our conclusions on highly vocal minorities, they will always exist and attempt to thrive off the stir they are often allowed to cause through their action.

  • Thomas

    I’m no fan of Palin. She’s a fucking liar, a corrupt Alaska Republican, the worst sort of cronyist machine politician with a track record of using her office for personal favors and vendettas, a delusional far-right conservative and an unqualified, clueless noob on foreign policy issues — in other words, a lot like 43, and look where eight years of that got us.
    But caricatures of her as a sex object are disgraceful. She’s a human being. Her failings are in her qualifications, her politics and her ethics; not her chromosomes, gender performance or appearance.

  • Logrus

    The second picture is funny/ironic since Palin is a member of the tiny socio-economic class that actually won’t get fucked by Republican policy.

  • Logrus

    Roland Buckles:
    Yeah, your FREEPer trolling is certainly going to win people over to a political predicated on an absolute lack of awareness of basic facts like voting history and fiduciary integrity.
    “I’m Sara Palin and I voted against the ‘Bridge To Nowhere’ the fifth time I had a chance to vote on it after it became a national scandal, oh and I kept the money. I also paid myself to go home for lunch, because we Republicans are financially responsible; or at least the clods who vote for us are too stupid to find out we lie to them about it because we know they’re illiterate morons or super wealthy or bible-fuckers who think what two dudes do to each other at home is more important and the national economy.”
    In summary: Go eat turds, clown shoe.

  • Judith Jewcakes

    I feel like my week has been full of Roland Buckles: people (mostly men) who cannot seem to comprehend reality, but have terrible diarrhea of the mouth.

  • Tiffany

    I don’t think Sarah Palin likes this stuff. Her stance on the issues stinks, but she is a human being, and a mother, and I’d bet she’d be mortified for her children to see a realistically cartoon McCain “drilling” her. The MILF stuff she might not mind so much, and the “Hottest VP” buttons obviously didn’t give her pause, but that shirt is pornographic.

  • Dominique

    Does anyone else here get the creeped-out feeling that Republicans associated with McCain actually came out with this crap??? On purpose??? Because sex sells, and sexy women can get you elected??
    Unless of course, you’re the woman in question…
    There’s something bizarre about the hyper-sexualization of Sarah Palin, versus the “bitchifiation” of Hillary Clinton. Did Clinton evidently exude more authority, power and gravitas than Palin and thus resist being cast as a stripper on a pole shaped like an oil rig? Or are Republican men just so obtuse that they think remaking political leaders as strippers makes them “more fun to vote for”? Someone should use this against them… But that would be awfully bitchy now wouldn’t it… (Hint: as in, “GOP voters favour strippers and fuckable hockey moms over serious policy issues”)

  • wax_ghost

    Dominique, that’s exactly what they are doing, I’m sure. There’s a new conservative newspaper at my university that I looked at today out of curiosity and that very last page was an advertisement with two girls talking to a guy that said something like, “Get more chicks. Join the Young Republicans today.” That’s the way these guys think.

  • ShifterCat

    Now, now, folks. Perhaps Roland Buckles is merely a citizen of Bizarro-World.
    “Bizarro think Sarah Palin am perfect feminist!”

  • a.k.a. Ninapendamaishi

    On a slightly related note, I’ve come up with a theory regarding this choice of Palin as VP. Obviously, yes her being a former beauty queen is going to help get the attention of certain constituents, especially “middle America” (where things like beauty pageants and NASCAR tend to be more popular…
    But, I definitely don’t think Palin was ever picked with the idea of picking up a substantial number of Hillary supporters, as so many people keep assuming. I think expensive hired political strategists are too smart for that…
    I think the decision of picking a woman in this case A) was anticipated to stir up a lot of media attention like it has, thereby taking focus away from Obama vs. McCain where it firmly should be and B) possibly make a substantial number of Hillary supporters feel more bitter about the Democrats because “oh fuck, even the /Republicans/ are willing to choose a female candidate” so that they’ll vote independent
    And then, obviously, she appeals to the religious right, a firm Republican constiuency these days…
    Just a theory, though.

  • Blue

    That second shirt is especially foul and disgusting. Whose bright idea WAS this? I don’t like the woman, her ideology scares the shit out of me, but REALLY? Shame on whoever designed that. >:P

  • SarahS

    I find the second picture the most appalling. Among other things, it has overtones of her being there as a pretty face to provide McCain with sexual gratification and eye-candy. Unfortunately, I’m starting to wonder if he does merely see her as a pretty face to make him look younger and hotter by association. Has anyone seen this video?
    It’s kind of sad when even HE objectifies his running-mate.

  • SarahS

    I find the second picture the most appalling. Among other things, it has overtones of her being there as a pretty face to provide McCain with sexual gratification and eye-candy. Unfortunately, I’m starting to wonder if he does merely see her as a pretty face to make him look younger and hotter by association. Has anyone seen this video?
    It’s kind of sad when even HE objectifies his running-mate.

  • Orange_Orange

    Ninapendamaishi – Yeah I think you are probably right. I know to me this election cannot be over fast enough. I am running out of energy to care. I will vote for Obama of course, but all my joy of seeing someone other than Bush in office is being sucked out of me.
    I am just so sick of the sexism and racism and really any ism.

  • a.k.a. Ninapendamaishi

    (And to clarify point A), the reason that could be advantageous to McCain/Palin is because Obama/Biden’s strengths, as far as undecided/swing voters are concerned, tends to be their oratory skills and their policy stances on issues voters tend to prioritize, like economy and education. A media distraction created by the Palin pick makes it harder for Obama/Biden to get lots of media time/attention for their specific responses to points brought up at the RNC -to get their faces out there (so people feel “safe” voting for them, being the potential terrorist ticket they are) and get their policy stances out there on issues of economy/education out there to the undecided voters (who a lot of times are not really well educated on both candidats platforms much ahead of time)

  • tsokol

    Once again folks just do not want to actually see the misogyny that permeates our society.
    How very sad, our men are so frightened they have to denigrate women at every turn.
    Lewd, rude, and crude — that’s our “new” American Male.

  • asexybeast

    Palin DOES “hew to rigid categories”, that’s one of her problems. She doesn’t exactly seem like she’d be into, say, compromising on anything. I guess no one can win in the public eye, but it’s disturbing how the women are portrayed not just sexually, but in this almost violent way.

  • dondoca

    I do not like Palin. But this is disgusting. It is a catch-22, either a man-hater or a bimbo. If this happened on the Democrat side, a witch-hunt would occur.

  • Danyell

    ShifterCat, that is classic.

  • glorias

    For the record, John McCain is also having sex on the t-shirt. It’s just sex. Two people depicted having sex. Politial satire of a mindless slogan with obvious sexual undertones. What is this, a right-wing conservative Christian blog?

  • Bondo

    tsokol said:

    Lewd, rude, and crude — that’s our “new” American Male.

    Yeah, because stereotyping American males as “lewd, rude, and crude” is so much better than someone stereotyping women as bitches or whores. Most men are not part of this lewd behavior and it is wrong of you to condemn the entire gender. You certainly would never allow anyone to condemn females as a whole.

  • ashleigh

    Does anyone else notice that a man is also being used as a sex object? is it the position that bothers you idiots?
    If you turn the shirt on its side so that Sarah Palin is on top of John McCain will that ease your overly sensitive puritan eyes?
    Since when is sex sexist?