The sexism that Hillary Clinton’s run for the Democratic nomination was bad enough, but it was nothing compared to the mud being slung at Alaska governor and McCain running mate Sarah Palin. And while it was Fox-watching Republican white male dinosaurs giggling over nutcrackers in the case of Clinton, it’s girl-against-girl in the case of Palin — smug, self-righteous, liberal women who don’t seem to get that limiting a woman’s choice to the decision about whether to carry or not is an awfully narrow definition of “choice”.
Because apparently, you don’t really have a choice, if you’re a mother. If you’re a mother of five children, you shouldn’t run for vice-president, even if they’re so spaced out that the oldest ones can look after the younger ones. Use the teenage kids as babysitters? Have the father as the primary caregiver? Are you joking? The concept of “family” has been replaced by the concept of “mother.” No one else matters, not even as back up. Mother knows best.
If you are a mother of a special needs child, you shouldn’t run for vice-president. If you’re breastfeeding, you shouldn’t be at work period, and if you’re not breastfeeding, you’re a bad mother. If you are the mother of a teenage daughter who gets pregnant — happened to one of my aunts — you definitely shouldn’t run for vice-president. I’m not sure why not — is there a mandatory period of sitting shiva over the lost innocence of promise ring daughters, or something? — but you’re not. For women, it seems, it should never be country first — not even if you have the best support network of friends and family in the world, not even if you would be bored to dry heaves by staying home with your children every single day, not even if you enjoy and are good at your job — but always, without question, family first.
Why do women do this to each other? Why do they care about Sarah Palin’s family life when they haven’t given more than a second’s thought to how hands-on the ambitious Mr. Obama has been with his young children? Sarah Palin is a feminist dream — a woman with ambition, who’s risen to the top without being lifted by her father or husband, and with a close and loving family to boot. There’s plenty to criticize about Sarah Palin, for any progressive — refresh Daily Kos regularly to view the latest. Her choices about when, how, and who to raise her family are, as they are for politicians who are fathers, her own.