SEARCH BLOG: POLITICS
From Stanford University "Encyclopedia Of Philosophy":
Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. However, there are many different kinds of feminism. Feminists disagree about what sexism consists in, and what exactly ought to be done about it; they disagree about what it means to be a woman or a man and what social and political implications gender has or should have. Nonetheless, motivated by the quest for social justice, feminist inquiry provides a wide range of perspectives on social, cultural, and political phenomena. Important topics for feminist theory and politics include: the body, class and work, disability, the family, globalization, human rights, popular culture, race and racism, reproduction, science, the self, sex work, and sexuality.We presume that Feminists are radical, leftist, man-hating, child-spurning, career-focused women based on the Gloria Steinem model. But that is like defining black Americans by using Louis Farrakhan as the model.
Yesterday, Sarah Palin stepped into the national scene and created the news story of the year... even eclipsing Barack Obama's nomination for president. Certainly, for 10% of the U.S. population, nothing could be more important than Obama's nomination. But for 50%+ of the population, this represented the future... and it wasn't because there was legislation calling for "fair play."Here, at last, was America's potential "Maggie Thatcher." A strong, intelligent, independent, successful woman, who appears to put principle ahead of expedience, being selected to run for Vice President of the U.S.
This is the new model for Feminists.How's that? The old Feminist required a rejection of men and family and the creation of a female oligopoly to allow women to rise to power. But over the decades since Ms. Steinem's preachings were popular, women have learned to become CEOs and governors and community leaders while not rejecting the rest of what has traditionally made life fulfilling.
Now comes a woman who has embraced the "non-Feminist" traditions of family, children, home, husband... and then gone beyond to become the head of a state, the owner of a business, one who stands up to big business and big government alike. She represents the woman who can go beyond the Steinem model of self-focus to the woman who becomes a leader of both women and men.So why is this a dilemma for liberal women? Simply stated: it forces them to face a new reality... a change which they were not expecting or for which they were not prepared to embrace: being a Feminist does not mean rejecting a large part of life to have another; being a Feminist does not mean embracing radical political solutions to ensure personal success; being a Feminist does not mean rejecting faith or philosophies of responsibility.
Gloria Steinem's message was that you can have it all as long as you give up some of it. Sarah Palin's message is that you can have it all... if you are strong enough.Liberal women are now faced with that dilemma. Do they turn their backs on the old model that has offered so much reinforcement and do they recognize that the world has passed that model by and they are allowed to celebrate the success of the New Feminist Model? Or will they remain locked into a 50-year old message?
I suspect for many, accepting that change will be asking too much. But for some, it will be a revelation that success has more than one definition. They may not agree with some of Sarah Palin's choices and philosophy... specifically her reproductive choices and philosophy. But that's not the central point.
The central point is that Sarah Palin has made her personal choices based on personal principles and has not allowed personal convenience or expedience to override those principles...
The central question is then whether liberal women, holding dear the principle that women should be treated as equals in all things, can vote for a woman who, in principle, agrees with that, lives that, and has achieved that... and who has accepted the personal consequences of her principles and her personal choices... even if it means they must change old affiliations?