Why Are Feminists Afraid of Palin?

As blog administrators, we can see the search engine queries driving people to our site. “Why feminists fear Palin” is one of the queries I’ve seen in recent days, so I’d like to answer that question directly.

Feminism has a specific definition: advocating for the freedom and rights of women.

As a pro-lifer, Palin is against one of the key tenants of feminism: that women control their bodies without state interference.

Call yourself a pro-life feminist if you’d like, but that’s a contradiction in terms. There is no way around this requirement to be pro-choice if you are a feminist.

You can be a feminist if you believe life begins at conception. You just can’t advocate imposing that belief on other women via the state, forcing thousands of thousands of women to have unwanted children or back-alley abortions, and still call yourself a feminist.

I’ve never been a fan of wishy-washy multiculturalism, with its emphasis on inclusiveness and tolerance. I blame multiculturalism, in part, for the rhetorical troubles we are having today, right now, in our discussion of Palin.

Multiculturalism gave entire generations (including mine) the impression that eating Thai food was a way to fight for social justice.

It also gave the impression that feminism could stretch to mean anything, and include anyone. As the examples of Palin, Paglia, and Bruce all confirm, it can’t.

Feminism doesn’t mean whatever you want it to mean.

I pray women like these three think of another, more honest label for themselves, so I won’t ever have to mention their names and feminism in the same sentence again.



1 Comment

Filed under election 2008, Social Justice

One response to “Why Are Feminists Afraid of Palin?

  1. jke4

    I couldn’t agree more. Rebecca Traister has ‘zombie feminists of the RNC’ as a descriptor, but as it still includes the F-word I don’t think it works. But I appreciated her summary of the horror we are facing:

    Which leads us to my greatest nightmare: that because my own party has not cared enough, or was too scared, to lay its rightful claim to the language of women’s rights, that Sarah Palin will reach historic heights of power, under the most egregious of auspices, by plying feminine wiles, and conforming to every outdated notion of what it means to be a woman. That she will hit her marks by clambering over the backs, the bodies, the rights of the women on whose behalf she claims to be working, and that she will do it all under the banner of feminism. How can anybody sleep?

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