Monday, September 8, 2008

Two Problems with this Statement

"But her son has given Ms. Palin, 44, a powerful message. Other candidates kiss strangers’ babies; Ms. Palin has one of her own. [Trig] is tangible proof of Ms. Palin’s anti-abortion convictions, which have rallied social conservatives, and her belief that women can balance family life with ambitious careers." -NYTimes

The first: Raise your hand if you think calling Governor Palin's Down syndrome infant "tangible proof of anti-abortion convictions" is immoral and demeaning... The idea that a living, breathing child is being touted by the conservative right as a proof of ideology doesn't sit well with me. In fact, it makes me want to vomit in my mouth a little. Maybe it's because all this talk of Palin's choice to sanction Trig's existence, despite his disability, makes me think of eugenics in a Brave New World /Gattaca sort of way. Or maybe it's because even I (zealous advocate of reproductive choice) distinguish between an embryo and... oh... a 4 month old child.

The second: I don't know what to make of all the talk about Sarah Palin's "balancing act" between family and career. This issue in general is one on which I am deeply conflicted. On one hand, I am supremely pleased that the media is making average Americans consider the compatibility of motherhood and public power/leadership. Indeed, it warms my heart (at least least in the sense that indigestion warms the heart) that the hillbilly-bigot set is actually able to support a woman candidate, period. [The downside to that? Refer to string of anti-Palin posts below]. On the other hand, I can't help but experience periodic moments of disgust when I think about how much the GOP is exploiting Plain's almost-exploding femininity. Although the McCain campaign has yet to say it outright, the message seems to be: "See, OUR token female candidate is beautiful (a "VILP"), nurturing, soft-spoken, and not a bit like that OTHER female politician and her Sisterhood of Traveling Pantsuits." Has anyone else noticed this? I will return to this topic again soon....

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

I feel like the only reason that the bible-beaters accept Palin's "leadership" is because in every other respect she is a to-the-book "female." You can get away with some boundary crossing if everything else is colored in perfectly.

Like you said, the nurturing, beautiful yada yada. Because of this, the transgression of her womanhood is overlooked.