why Betty Friedan is rolling in her grave…

October 5, 2008

Ah, the feminine mystique….. 42 years since the founding of the National Organization for Women, Sarah Palin’s emergence and public performance threatens to bring whatever progress has been made for women, nationally and globally, to a screeching halt, if not tumbling backwards. Winking and nose scrunching her way through the Vice Presidential debate, her performance was nothing short of an attempt at national seduction, a point her handlers no doubt understood and folded into her coaching.

It took me several days to realize the potential damage this attempt at mass hypnosis may have if there isn’t more attention payed to it somewhere. She wasn’t merely charming, she was overtly manipulative, flirtatious, mocking the gravity of the setting and the discourse she was participating in. It is outrageous, offensive and incredibly cynical. 

Having cake, eating cake

This is where conservatives mock discussions of gender: the idea that simply putting a woman near the top of their ticket satisfies the gender question posed throughout this election, that putting an assertive, simplistic, sex kitten everymom somehow is a celebration of “womanhood” in the political sphere. 

I haven’t seen any really deep critiques of this in the media to date, which might also point to the sorry state of feminism in the early days of the 21st century. Really, something so serious deserves a great deal of analysis and discussion — in light of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Palin’s emergence as a mimetic bizarro alt-Hillary body double, analogue to the sexualized Cylon female-anoids in SciFi’s “Battlestar Gallactica.” Maybe this is a good time nationally to reflect on the grand turnaround of the past 8 years in the area of a real politics of gender. 

I feel like we’re picking our next Homecoming Queen, instead of the next Vice President….