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Does Palin Call Herself a Feminist?

This Slate article (from the XX Factor section) begins:

Sarah Palin calls herself a "hockey mom" and "as pro-life as any candidate can be" -- but not, as far as we know, a feminist. And why would she? Feminist has long been a dirty word for conservatives, and so it's not their label for her, even though it describes Sarah Palin to a T in so many ways: the working mother/ crusader/ political activist. Margaret Thatcher didn't use the "f" word either.

I should note that the Anchorage Daily News reported in August 2006, when Palin was running for Governor, that "[Palin] is pro-contraception and said she's a member of a pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life." So it seems that she does call herself a feminist (and rightly so, in my view).

metro1 (mail) (www):
On double-standards for Palin as a female candidate:

The Vice-Presidential candidate is usually the "attack dog" during the campaign.

Note how when Biden is the "attack dog" the press says: well that's his role.

But note how when Palin goes after Obama the partisans at MSNBC and CNN call her "snide" and "sarcastic." The press is so in-the-tank for the Dems that they never realize the inconsistent standards they apply again and again.
9.4.2008 1:35am
Prosecutorial Indiscretion:
The Feminists for Life info has been batted around quite a bit over the last five days - Bazelon and Lithwick need to learn the Googles.
9.4.2008 1:36am
Suzy (mail):
Hockey moms are pit bulls with lipstick? Thanks, but if that's feminism, I'll try to continue being a lady.
9.4.2008 1:42am
DangerMouse:
Feminism, absent qualifiers, means one thing and one thing only: abortion, infanticide, murder of babies, etc. It has nothing to do with empowering women, and everything to do with death. Toss in a bit of man-hating for good measure.
9.4.2008 1:44am
Two-Fisted Law Student (mail):
DangerMouse,

I don't suppose you're going to cite some history or theory on that are you?

(hahaha, of course you're not.)
9.4.2008 1:47am
Houston Lawyer:
When I was in college feminists objected to the term "lady". Unfortunately, very few feminists fit the definition of a lady.
9.4.2008 1:49am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
"Feminist" is NOT a synonym for "liberal."

I consider myself a feminist. I have daughters. Gov. Palin's acceptance speech brought tears to my eyes, because of what it means for my daughters. My hopes and aspirations for the are every bit as fierce and wide-ranging as my hopes and aspirations for my sons.
9.4.2008 1:53am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
"aspirations for the are" should read "aspirations for them are"
9.4.2008 1:53am
DangerMouse:
I don't suppose you're going to cite some history or theory on that are you?

Theory? Have you taken any women's political theory classes at all in college? It's a man-hating, abortion-loving, deconstruction-fest.

My opinion is that the only people who use the term "feminist" that are absent any qualifiers are ugly women and beta men who can't get laid. There, I said it.
9.4.2008 1:54am
AKD:
Because feminism is really about what you label yourself, not what you do.
9.4.2008 1:55am
Elliot123 (mail):
Palin did what feminists only whine about.
9.4.2008 1:59am
PC:
Palin did what feminists only whine about.


Raised taxes on oil companies and redistributed the profits to the people of her state?
9.4.2008 2:08am
good strategy (mail):
She's pro-contraception, but against teaching about it.

She's for teenage weddings, but against funding support services for poor teens who want to carry their baby to term.

DangerMouse is a troll.

The podium tonight was dripping with condescension and sarcasm. They can't win with respect, so they won't try. Really puts the U in USA.

I can't believe she repeated the bridge to nowhere lie. A big fat whopper of a lie, served up twice in a week.
9.4.2008 2:18am
EIDE_Interface (mail):

PC:

Palin did what feminists only whine about.



Raised taxes on oil companies and redistributed the profits to the people of her state?
9.4.2008 1:08am


ah, I can see some of us came armed with our DNC talking points!
9.4.2008 2:20am
neurodoc:
So it seems that she does call herself a feminist (and rightly so, in my view).
EV, what exactly does "feminist" connote to you? Do you see all women of achievement as "feminists"? Phylis Schafly, for example?

Whatever its origins and past uses, the word has no generally agreed upon meaning. It is an inherently tendentious label, there to be used or abused by anyone who cares to do so. And there are many, especially by those looking for votes in November.
9.4.2008 2:22am
PC:
ah, I can see some of us came armed with our DNC talking points!


You caught me:
BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said that, at current prices, BP is paying more than half its net revenues from production to the state's production tax. The burden gets higher when other payments to government are added, such as the state royalty...Rinehart said Alaska's marginal tax rate - the tax on new projects - is now among the highest in the world.


So EIDE_Interface, have you always been an economic populist that believes in windfall profit taxes?
9.4.2008 2:28am
neurodoc:
Elliot123: Palin did what feminists only whine about.
So from your pro-Palin perspective, she isn't a "feminist"? If Palin is asked, as she almost certainly will be, whether she sees herself as a "feminist," and not just someone who belongs to a group with "feminist" in its name, do you think she will say she isn't? If she says she is, as I would bet dollars to donuts she will, will you switch sides and boast that McCain chose a "feminist" as a running mate?

Would Phil Gramm be the person to ask what "feminists" whine about, or is he expert only on what amounts to economic whining? Does his wife count as a "feminist"? How about Libby Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchins?
9.4.2008 2:34am
David Warner:
"She's for teenage weddings, but against funding support services for poor teens who want to carry their baby to term."

A reduction of a six-fold increase to a five-fold increase is against funding? You do know you're on a libertarian blog, correct?

"I can't believe she repeated the bridge to nowhere lie. A big fat whopper of a lie, served up twice in a week."

Palin lied, the Bridge to Nowhere died! Don't you have a paper mache puppet to carry in a parade somewhere? Once Palin actually took office, after the campaign, she axed the bridge. Got any other state pols who would even consider that?

Speaking of trolls...
9.4.2008 2:41am
Obvious (mail):
"When I was in college feminists objected to the term "lady". UnFortunately, very few feminists fit the definition of a lady."

Houston, fixed it for you...
9.4.2008 2:56am
whit:
palin is a feminist in the hoff summers "equity feminist" sense. Not in the "gender feminist" sense that we see with so many in academia.

note: I kind of sympathize with her position. I am pro-choice and she is pro-life and I am pro premarital sex... however... I don't think it is the PUBLIC SCHOOLS place to take over this role from parents, to teach about contraception. Since school is mandatory and all. At least if we had vouchers, I might be more willing to be pro teaching of contraception in school.

from wikipedia...

Hoff Sommers describes Equity feminism as an ideology that aims for full civil and legal equality and distinguish it from the term gender feminism, which she uses to describe the idea of much of modern academic feminist theory and the feminist movement which aims at the total abolition of gender roles and structure of the society which they claim is still dominated by patriarchal structures. Hoff Sommers considers this as gynocentrism and misandry that she feels is dominant in the contemporary feminist movement. Christina Hoff Sommers argues, "Most American women subscribe philosophically to the older 'First Wave' kind of feminism whose main goal is equity, especially in politics and education".[1] Although she realizes that her views are not mainstream in academia or the feminist movement in general, she considers them mainstream among the US population of women [1]

Feminists who Steven Pinker identifies with equity feminism include Jean Bethke Elshtain, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Noretta Koertge, Donna Laframboise, Mary Lefkowitz, Wendy McElroy, Camille Paglia, Daphne Patai, Virginia Postrel, Alice Rossi, Sally Satel, Nadine Strossen, Joan Kennedy Taylor, and Cathy Young.[2]
9.4.2008 3:01am
Daryl Herbert (www):
Any woman who accomplishes stuff is a "Feminist"

Unless you think feminist is a synonym for "liberal" (see: Bill Clinton; one free grope; etc.) there's no way to deny her feminist bona fides.
9.4.2008 3:05am
metro1 (mail) (www):
from a commenter from Alaska over at RachelLucas.com:

Palin is tough AND beguiling. And it's "amazing to watch her be both at the same time."

Perfect.
9.4.2008 3:24am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Feminism has several definitions. Palin probably prefers not to call herself a feminist because she disagrees with feminism, as some people define the term.
9.4.2008 3:26am
SecurityGeek:
Once Palin actually took office, after the campaign, she axed the bridge. Got any other state pols who would even consider that?

She axed the bridge, and KEPT THE FEDERAL MONEY. That's a reformer with results!

The fact that Alaska is the biggest leech in the 50 states (thanks Uncle Ted!) will become well known to voters over the next month. While running for election Gov. Palin played directly to the uniquely Alaskan sentiment that they deserve the tax dollars of other states because they are such rugged individualists.

What do I know? Obviously I'm not an American if I went to college and can't skin a moose properly.
9.4.2008 3:37am
hey (mail):
Go to Jezebel. A site I love and read everyday. SERIOUSLY.

They're pretty close to 50/50 on whether feminist means "equal rights for all" and "pro-0abortion is a litmus test".

If you've been raised in Scarsdale, UWS, UES, Berkley, or Beverley Hills, the patriarchy is all about 100% legal abortion. If you grew up outside of those zipcodes, it's "slightly" different. Jezebel commentators actually question the idea that anyone would deny women equal rights as men. The naivete is astounding (sorry but HTML and accents don't mix).

I believe that all people are equal. FULL MOTHERFUCKING STOP. Unfortunately people like Naomi Wolf figure out a way that the west is evil for giving women freedom, and the Islamic world provides true freedom by mandating standards of dress reinforced by an immediate death penalty. I have no response.
9.4.2008 4:14am
Reinhold (mail):
Dahlia Lithwick doesn't always let the pesky facts get in the way.
9.4.2008 9:10am
Justin (mail):
Well, I think this is going a little far on both sides. Palin isn't the founder of Feminists for Life, which is the leading conservative women-for-social-conservative organization for the "New Right." You don't need to be a self-describing feminist to join. And there's no indication she regularly uses the term for herself.

On the other hand, she doesn' have some out and out refusal to be associated with the word, afaik. Although I doubt that she'd refuse to join FFL even if she did.
9.4.2008 9:20am
Justin (mail):
PS - to both sides, the topic is not whether she is a feminist, which is only a linguistic debate, if you ask me. It's whether she calls herself a feminist, which is an empirical debate. The proof on both sides has been somewhat lacking, so at this point, its simply a discussion about who has what burden of proof.
9.4.2008 9:22am
Eli Rabett (www):
Alaska is a welfare state, always has been and always will be.

The nature of the thing is that the small towns and states rip off much more money from taxes than they contribute, leaving the urban/suburban areas and large states to pick up the tab. Then they whine about how folks who live in cities are immoral and big spenders. It also is the fundamental disjunction between how of Republicans campaigns and govern. It explains why the Republicans are now running against what happened during the eight Bush years and especially the six when they held both the Congress and the Presidency.
9.4.2008 10:19am
Eli Rabett (www):
To continue, Sarah Palin is a cadillac driving welfare queen.
9.4.2008 10:20am
bearing (mail) (www):
I like to call myself a post-feminist.

I'm enough of a distance from The Movement (I'm 34) that I never, or rarely, felt serious discrimination, and when I occasionally encountered it, it was always more of an eye-rolling thing than indignation.

I'm aware that, not having lived (as an adult) through the years when sexual harassment was okay, when women could be fired for getting pregnant, etc., I'm never going to really appreciate "what it was like," and am never going to have the kind of emotional reaction to women's successes (like Sen. Clinton's, like Gov. Palin's) that, say, Boomer women have.

You know how women who have lived through poverty -- maybe women who came of age during the Depression -- sometimes hoard things, saving every penny, never wasting food, even when times are good and they had plenty? Women who have grown up to live comfortable lives, and yet who still obsessively clip coupons or drive across town to get a better value on Shredded Wheat or who put aluminum foil through the dishwasher to use it again?

I didn't live through poverty, and I'm never going to appreciate the good things in life in the same way those women do, and I'm aware that they had experiences I didn't that have left them with these behaviors, and I respect them for their experiences. But I'm going to toss the aluminum foil into the recycling bin. I didn't have their experiences, I don't have the baggage, and I don't have to act like I have the baggage to acknowledge their sacrifices.

I feel the same way about reflexive, Boomer-style feminism.
9.4.2008 10:52am
The Unbeliever:
"Does Palin Call Herself a Feminist?"

Does Michelle Obama? From a WaPo interview:
So is she a feminist? "You know, I'm not that into labels," Michelle Obama said in the interview. "So probably, if you laid out a feminist agenda, I would probably agree with a large portion of it," she said. "I wouldn't identify as a feminist just like I probably wouldn't identify as a liberal or a progressive."

Let's leave aside the silliness of her refusing the "liberal" label.

Ponder this for a second:

Given Palin's membership in Feminists for Life, this means that in this election cycle it is the Republican ticket taking up the "feminist" label, with the Democratic side explicitly refusing it. And this after they kicked down Hillary Clinton in the primary.

As a professional connoisseur of irony, I think 2008 will be a very good year.
9.4.2008 11:51am
Randy R. (mail):
neurodoc: "Whatever its origins and past uses, the word has no generally agreed upon meaning. It is an inherently tendentious label, there to be used or abused by anyone who cares to do so. "

Totally agree. Everyone is a feminist to some degree (well, except for some knuckle draggers). Heck, even my conservative, bible-quoting sister is thinks that women should have rights, and should have the opportunity of having a careeer.

I remember when I was younger and in the 70s having women in the workplace was a remarkable thing. There were debates as to whether a man could have a female boss. Every once in a while, you can see an old sitcom fromi the 70s and they deal with these issues. Now, women in the workplace is a given.

In that sense, we are all feminists.
9.4.2008 11:57am
neurodoc:
"Any woman who accomplishes stuff is a "Feminist"...


Again, Phyllis Schafly? Or leading organizations that advocate that women stay home with their children and be subservient to their husbands doesn't amount to
"accomplish(ing) stuff"?
9.4.2008 12:51pm
David Warner:
In the professional way she delivered the traditional VP attack speech, just as innumerable VP's have before her, i.e. as a human being, not a subset thereof, it doesn't matter what she calls herself. She is one.
9.4.2008 3:28pm
theobromophile (www):
She's pro-contraception, but against teaching about it.

She's for teenage weddings, but against funding support services for poor teens who want to carry their baby to term.

As mentioned above, she just doesn't think that public schools are the place to teach contraception. Ya know, with these parent-type-creatures around, maybe she has a point.

Furthermore, the funding for that particular centre (which has several functions, only one of which is helping pregnant teens) increased over the previous fiscal year, but was less than the Alaskan legislature asked for.

As for feminism...

I'm a first-wave feminist. Would have gotten along great with Susan B. Anthony and the rest of them; get where the second-wave crew is coming from; and think the third-wavers are bat-loony crazy.

I guess the modern distinction is "gender feminism" and "equality feminism," which doesn't seem like great labeling.

Feminists for Life has been VERY excited that their mission statement has been incorporated into both parties' platforms.
9.4.2008 7:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"So from your pro-Palin perspective, she isn't a "feminist"? If Palin is asked, as she almost certainly will be, whether she sees herself as a "feminist," and not just someone who belongs to a group with "feminist" in its name, do you think she will say she isn't? If she says she is, as I would bet dollars to donuts she will, will you switch sides and boast that McCain chose a "feminist" as a running mate?

"Would Phil Gramm be the person to ask what "feminists" whine about, or is he expert only on what amounts to economic whining? Does his wife count as a "feminist"? How about Libby Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchins?"


1. She isn't a feminist.
2. I think she will say she isn't a feminist.
3. I will not switch sides and boast McCain picked a femnist.
4. I don't know if Phil Gramm would be the person to ask about feminism. What do you think?
5. Phil Gramm may have multiple areas of expertise.
6. Phil Gramm's wife does not count as a feminist.
7. Libby Dole does not count as a feminist.
8. Kay Bailey Hutchins does not count as a feminist.

Are you a feminist?
9.4.2008 7:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
she just doesn't think that public schools are the place to teach contraception. Ya know, with these parent-type-creatures around, maybe she has a point.


I don't see how you can miss the staggering irony. The number of parents at home in that household appears to be zero. In other words, there seems to be a distinct absence of "parent-type-creatures around" who are available "to teach contraception." And this is the reality that seems to have led to Bristol's condition.

Bristol Palin is a poster-child for the idea that "public schools are the place to teach contraception." Because if you leave it up to the parents to do it, you might find out that they are busy racing snow machines. Or busy trying to ruin the career of mom's sister's ex-husband, and then lying about it.
9.4.2008 11:08pm
Anonymous #000:
Because if you leave it up to the parents to do it, you might find out that they are busy racing snow machines.

Pol Pot did it for the children, too. For the children!

Also, to throw a bone to the nihilists in the crowd: her religious convictions obviously aren't effective, so they're wrong superstitions, and hey, maybe someday we'll get over them and we can legislate them out of our lives.
9.4.2008 11:27pm
David Warner:
"Are you a feminist?"

Yup. Weaned on Helen Reddy and Marlo Thomas.
9.5.2008 1:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Pol Pot did it for the children, too


Take your silly and offensive analogy to the ignorant moonbat who said this:

what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?
9.5.2008 1:55am
Anonymous #000:
theobromophile: Indeed, it was on the "radical" side for long enough to have caught a hold on malcontents who, whatever the cultural climate, keep claiming that "it isn't enough" (at least until a crushing totalitarianism headed by whoever they desire). The same goes for "liberalism," in the "progressive" (toward a crushing state) sense.

jukeboxgrad: I thought your point was that the government should be paternal because the legal guardians aren't. I'm sorry I took it that way.
9.5.2008 9:33am