I don’t blog about politics much. It’s not because I don’t care. It’s the other way around: I care too much. And if I start writing about issues I care about, I have the tendency to come off as a wee bit opinionated. But I can’t help myself right now. I’m that fired up about John McCain’s pick for VP. Sarah Palin is a reformer. She stood up to her own party and denounced corruption. She’s an accomplished politician. She’s also a nursing mom of five.
You go, girl!
So, I’m wondering, will the feminists now, the same ones who were rallying behind Hillary Clinton as the poster child for the advancement of women, show their support for Palin? Politics aside, shouldn’t feminists be celebrating the fact that a woman is now in the running for Vice President of the United States?
Early feminism sought to encourage the rise of women through the support of their traditional roles as mothers and guardians of virtue. The feminists of long ago would, no doubt, extol Palin. But the problem with Sarah Palin for some of today’s radical feminists, besides the fact that she’s a pro-life conservative, is ironically that she’s just too female.
While they’d never admit it, many modern feminists have serious Y chromosome envy. The same women who warn us about never allowing a man to turn us into Barbie are furtively turning us into Ken. The same women who praise motherhood are perpetually trying to “liberate” us from domestic drudgery, reminding us that it’s important to have an identity outside of being mom, and supporting candidates who refer to babies as punishments for mistakes.
So often feminists appear to be out to save womankind when we don’t need to be saved or fixed or changed. Instead of concentrating their time and efforts on something that would really help the plight of women – say, spreading awareness about true injustices against women such as sexual slavery, domestic violence, bride burning in South Asia, abortion, and female infanticide, or simply pouring money into job fairs for women – modern feminists create a crisis when there isn’t one and, as was recently the case in my home state, make it their mission to change “Men at Work” roadway warnings to gender-neutral signs.
When our feelings are hurt by gender biased signs, when we say that being just a mom isn’t enough, when we say women must be fiercer in the workplace and be physically and emotionally stronger like their male counterparts and leave their empathetic tears at home, what we’re really saying is men and the male role in society is superior to our own and we must do everything in our power to become more like them.
In contrast, the Catholic Church encourages women to be who they are – people who possess a special sensitivity and a sublime respect for the dignity of the human person – male, female, young or old, weak or strong. A woman’s liberation must truly be freeing her from things that are holding her hostage – not, for example, her sensitivity or an unplanned pregnancy. We should never want to release a woman from her supernatural calling and all that is good and sanctifying and makes her a woman. Man and woman share in God’s image and likeness. We are equal in dignity, but we are not the same. It’s when we start striving for sameness that we start to fall apart.
To me, this is the big difference between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Clinton is striving for sameness and has devoted her life to shedding herself of her feminine sensitivity and vulnerability. Palin, on the other hand, seems to embrace them.
The bottom line is, if you’re pro-women, then how can you not be pro-Palin? From what I’ve gleaned from her acceptance speech and her track record, she’s a feisty but feminine woman, wife to her high school sweetheart, and a mother who calls her children blessings on national TV. She’s also a mom turned politician who just might make history.