Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin
Although I strongly disagree with pretty much everything that Sarah Palin says, and I was disgusted and disturbed by her speech, a news clip that I saw on Feministing made me pity her and feel protective over her. I suppose it mostly boils down to her being a woman, and how I can somewhat relate to her as a woman, and when men totally objectify her, I am going to defend her even if I am passionately against her being in office. The news clip is from CNBC, which is a fairly large station, if I’m not mistaken. Donny Deutsch talks about how amazing she is and why , and it is disgusting. It is a response to her speech, and starts out with a fellow newscaster asking Donny if he thought that her speech was “an example of how to sell a woman in power.” That right there is worrisome. Selling women? Are women once again simply chattel in a man’s world? Do you sell a man in power? Can you?
However it goes on. The first thing that Donny says is that he thought it was amazing, and said he wanted to “equate Palin with a product.” He says that if you want to “sell” the idea of a woman in power, what should you include? Comparing her to cereal, a nice little “nutrition facts” list pops up, saying all the “ideal ingredients” that a women in power “should” have. This list includes “supermom” which is not horribly sexist, except it reinforces the double-standard of women, where we have to be mothers as well as executives, vacuuming the house while simultaneously doing paperwork. The next item on the list is “sexy.” This is so fucking absurd I don’t even know where to begin. The idea that a woman has to be “sexy” in order to be successful. Not even simply beautiful or attractive, which could conceivably be traits that people might prefer in any leader, but “sexy,” meaning she has sex appeal and men want to have sex with her. Why don’t men have to be sexy? I don’t really think McCain is terribly foxy, but there have never been any questions over whether he is sexually desirable enough to run for office. Next on the list is “perfect age,” saying she is old enough to have experience, but young enough “to have that physical appeal.” This is extremely agist, and insinuating that older people can’t be physically attractive. Then comes “lioness,” which is comparing her to an animal, and kind of strange, he doesn’t really back it up much, except referencing the “pitbull with lipstick” joke, and asking “who wouldn’t want a lioness protecting their cubs?” Next is “funny,” “real,” “rock solid,” “feisty,” and “smart” which could arguably be desirable traits in any leader. He goes on to say that Hillary only had two or three of these traits (maybe because these traits are incredibly shallow and sexist), and that for a woman to succeed in power, you have to “sell” her as a woman. He also said that Hillary didn’t figure it out because she “didn’t put a skirt on.” I don’t even know how to articulate my reaction to that.
He says that “this is the new feminist ideal” which is also a ridiculous comment, because no feminists I know support her, and how/why does he have the authority to say what is and is not the “feminist ideal?” He says that “women want to be her and men want to mate with her.” This is an incredibly crude and offensive term, and again comparing her to an animal. He does get a “oh, Donny!” from his fellow female newscaster, and laughter from his fellow male newscaster for this remark, but all the newswoman says is “I don’t want to hear about mating,” and when Donny defends the remark, saying it is some sort of primal urge, she doesn’t press it. He says that this is a lesson for women in business, as well; “don’t try to be a man, be a powerful woman,” which may be empowering, except for his idea of what a woman should be. His fellow newswoman mentions “MILF,” and seems to be annoyed with him, but doesn’t actually stand up for herself or for Palin. He ends by saying “I want her watching my kids, I want her laying next to me in bed.” This gets a reaction from his fellow newspeople, though again they end up laughing.
I have been so angry with Palin for so long that it’s kind of reassuring to know that some part of me will still stand up for her as a woman even if I don’t agree with her politics.

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