WashPo Buys the Palin-as-Feminist Hype

Big time.
Last month, Jessica gave us the lowdown on how the mainstream media has been feeding the whole Palin-as-Feminist rhetoric that’s been going around, and Ann reminded us earlier this week about why Palin’s attempt at feminist talk is completely empty of meaning. But apparently, the Washington Post disagrees. Lois Romano writes:

Palin’s candidacy has sent a jolt through traditional liberal women’s organizations as she tries to redefine feminism, suggesting that the old movement has become detached from the hockey moms Palin champions. The mother of five and former beauty queen is the antithesis of the bra-burning militant libbers of the ’60s, and she is adamantly antiabortion. Yet Palin has grabbed the feminist label vigorously and has been hailed as one by the thousands of supportive women who wave their lipstick tubes at her rallies.

The author also contends that the “unexpected recognition of a conservative as a role model for women has forced some traditional feminists to reconsider the movement’s mission,” specifically referencing to her stance on abortion multiple times, as if Palin being anti-choice is the only issue that distinguishes her from feminists. Forget about charging residents in Wasilla for rape kits and her general apathy for rape victims, her lack of support for the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the fact that she’s against emergency contraception , her history of cutting funding for young, low-income mothers – you get the gist.
What’s the most infuriating is that Romano pretty much labels her as this subversive revolutionary working against a puritanical movement:

Palin proclaimed that feminism is no longer synonymous with liberalism but something that could be shared and celebrated by all women.

You mean no longer synonymous with the “bra-burning militant libbers of the ’60s”? And speaking of, she quotes a Clinton-supporter-turned-McCain-supporter who says that, “Sarah Palin rocks all the stereotypes of feminism and can only enhance progress for women.”
Somehow this writer managed to reinforce feminist stereotypes while deeming Palin as proof that feminists can be so much more than just stereotypes. You know, they can be airbrushed sexymoms with hot legs.
Sigh.

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18 Comments

  1. Happy Feminist
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    That article was written by LOIS Romano, who I’m assuming is a woman.
    And I actually thought it was a pretty interesting article, if you read all of it and not just the few hand-picked worst paragraphs.

  2. kaje
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Palin proclaimed that feminism is no longer synonymous with liberalism but something that could be shared and celebrated by all women.
    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, nope, feminism and (social) conservatism are still mutually exclusive concepts.

  3. Vanessa
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Yikes! Thanks Happy Feminist, I fixed that

  4. spike the cat
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    If anything this is just another example of how class is becoming a defining factor in feminism. When you have the support, the money, and the privileged background, choice has a whole new meaning.

  5. lessucettes
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    FYI to Lois Romano,there WERE no “bra burning” militant libbers of the sixties.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94240375
    Great job perpetuating an uninformed and largely untrue stereotype, Lois. Way to do the research.

  6. ShelbyWoo
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    And I actually thought it was a pretty interesting article, if you read all of it and not just the few hand-picked worst paragraphs.
    What does the article being an interesting read have to do with Vanessa’s commentary on it? She didn’t claim is was boring just that it buys into the ridiculousness that Palin is a feminist.

  7. kzos
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    And then of course there’s this:
    Palin’s Switcheroo on Feminism

  8. babzie
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    How many of the women who write for this site were even born in the “bra-burning” ’60s?
    Could these Palin-as-feminist cheerleaders at least compare apples to apples and see how she stacks up against contemparary feminists? Feminists of ten years ago, even? Of course she’s not like women 40 years ago. No one is.

  9. Kate
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    One woman in power does not mean that all women have power. These assholes really don’t seem to get that.
    They also seem to not understand that feminism is about the IDEAS, not the sex/gender of a person. There are plenty of men who are feminists, and plenty of women who are not– possession of vagina does not equal feminist. GRR!

  10. listenupgirl
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Palin has “grabbed the feminist label vigorously”??? I read that and thought, am I missing something? When has Palin labelled herself as a feminist, except when Katie Couric directly asked her if she considered herself a feminist, and she looked uncomfortable as she said yes.
    So I did a little web searching and found an article from US News and World Report, “Sarah Palin’s Feminist Flip-Flop”
    Apparently in her interview Thursday with Brian Williams, when asked again if she considers herself a feminist, she declined to “put a label on myself.” So what’s with this article claiming Palin is a gung-ho feminist? Where are the journalistic standards?
    I’m really tired of hearing that Palin is “redefining” feminism, or “shaking up” feminism, when clearly her identification with feminism is ambiguous at best. She hasn’t labelled herself as a feminist. Instead, we’ve seen conservative pundits who are doing the labelling, trying to create in Sarah Palin a symbol of the new (anti-feminist) feminism.
    Unfortunately, while I think this is ridiculous, it’s also downright dangerous. Look at this Washington Post article. Despite it’s title, “Ideology Aside,” the author engages in clear ideological pitting of women against each other: bra-burning feminists and hockey moms. I totally agree that the article reinforces stereotypes and builds ideological walls, even though it claims to be tearing them down.
    And I think it’s no coincidence that the symbol of this supposed new feminism is very W-like in her supposed appeal. She’s the “everywoman.” Look, while I don’t think you have to major in women’s studies or read Irigaray to be a feminist, I do think the one requirement is the serious consideration of women’s inequality our society. I have never seen Sarah Palin address any of the various ways in which women run up against male privilege. Quite to the contrary, the McCain campaign does not even support equal pay for women.
    I hope no one minds that I wrote so much. I’m new to posting here, and I just find this whole “washington outsider”/feminist outsider thing to be insidious. It’s taking shots at feminism by claiming the feminist label. For someone who doesn’t often claim it herself.

  11. Lisa
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    She’s the kind of feminist the establishment loves: perfectly content with the status of women, traditional(except for her level of power, but that can be forgiven because she uses that power to push for more traditional roles), and unwilling to address the uncomfortable fact that women are still oppressed in a multitude of ways…. Oh wait, how is she a feminist?
    Through time there have been women who have managed to rise to certain levels of power by being yes-women to the men in power. They play that token role without asking questions or making men feel bad by addressing real issues about the way women are handled in society. That is not feminism. Kate said it well, feminism is about ideas not gender.

  12. sadie101
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    if Palin charged for Rape kits, then Obama did as well.
    link: http://www.femisex.com/content/slates-xx-factor-a-moment-hope-dashed-two-shame

  13. Ali
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Palin does not have any feminist views what so ever, I do not understand why there is so much hype about her being the vice president of the US, she does not look have the right attitude for being apart of the government

  14. Emeraldcityserendipity
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    When will people in the media concede that the ‘bra-burning’ never even actually took place!?! Palin is the Claire Booth Luce or (worse) Phyllis Schlafly of the 21st century.

  15. Flippy
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Feminists want to be females with power… but a female with power isn’t always a feminist.
    A man can be so many things. He can be strong. He can be gentle. Just because he has a position of power doesn’t mean he’s a brutal alpha male he-man or “The leader of the troublemakers.”
    She’s female, but I guess since people assume a woman in a position of power must be a feminist shows we’re necessary (’cause she wouldn’t have done it otherwise?).
    I’m… disappointed no bras were burned. I’d suggest we start burning bras, but those things are expensive!

  16. Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    I am so tired of hearing about how Palin is the champion for the hockey moms.
    Newsflash, some mothers weren’t able to afford after school activities like sports. My parents struggled to meet the bills, let alone pay for extra stuff.
    Palin completely overlooks lower class moms. It really pisses me off.

  17. Posted October 27, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The mother of five and former beauty queen is the antithesis of the bra-burning militant libbers of the ’60s, and she is adamantly antiabortion.
    Newsflash to the WashPo: Those “bra-burning” accounts of the ’60s? Yeah, never happened.
    Palin’s candidacy has sent a jolt through traditional liberal women’s organizations as she tries to redefine feminism, suggesting that the old movement has become detached from the hockey moms Palin champions.
    I do think the author has a point amidst the rubble, but not exactly in the spirit she intends it. I think many women today, especially young women, don’t identify with feminism precisely because they take it for granted. In that sense, some contemporary women do feel detached from the old movement.

  18. ShifterCat
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Sadie101, did you actually read the full text for the article you linked?
    You say: “if Palin charged for Rape kits, then Obama did as well.”
    The relevant text of the Femisex article says:
    “Some conservative bloggers are trying to play ‘gotcha’ and point out that Barack Obama co-sponsored a bill in the Illinois state senate that provides state money to cover services provided to victims who have neither state aid or insurance, meaning that Illinois also tries to get insurance companies to pay up, just like little ol’ Wasilla. Best I can tell from my rudimentary reading of the Illinois code, Obama co-sponsored an amendment to existing legislation that already had the insurance clause in there, and the amendment had nothing to do with rape kits. So, I’m not going to engage in gotcha-ism.” (emphasis mine)
    The blog item doesn’t include any links to actual sources, which is irritating, but it still refutes your claim.
    You should consider, as well, that while it wouldn’t be a good thing for any state to charge victims for their own rape kits, it’s especially heinous for Alaska, whose rape rate is three times the national average, and for a town in which most rape victims will be poor and uninsured.
    Also, the entire “Palin Rape Kit Debunking” has itself been debunked.

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