cut on the bias

keeping an eye on the spins and weirdness of media, crime and everyday life

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Lipstick on a liberal

This post is a response I wrote to this blog post.

I'm a southern woman with a graduate degree, no husband and no children. My world is very different from Sarah Palin's. But I think she's great. She's smart, she's got a sense of humor, she loves being both a wife and mother, and she isn't afraid of being both very feminine and very competent in her work. She is a well-rounded woman who hasn't given up any aspect of herself to succeed at the top level of her field. She's having a fabulous time running for VP, and that delight is part of her charm. She is neither jaded nor pretending to be one of the "big men" - she's just herself.

I agree with those who see the dislike of Palin as somewhat rooted in an urban liberal vibe. Certainly policy differences are legitimate regardless of the gender of the candidate and voter. But dissing her for her accent? Please. A lot of very smart people speak similarly, some of them even Democrats. Those who object are showing a bias against rural and southern people. And dissing her for not respecting the "advancements" of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and the NOW gang? Yes, they advocated important changes in industrial and business realms, but the truly important changes were championed by conservative women as well and would have come eventually without the attendant harm of the rest of the NOW political agenda. But they were not the first, and their telling of the history of women is short-sighted. I come from eastern Kentucky, and all four of my grandparents had college degrees by the mid 1960s. My female ancestors, mostly farmers, worked side by side with their husbands on the farm. They got to stop to breastfeed their babies too. They earned money. They were respected. They could handle almost any problem that came along. They pre-dated NOW.

And Sarah Palin reminds me of them. She is a type of woman familiar to rural southerners and midwesterners. She isn't so familiar to urbanites. And therein lies the dig.


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