Today while watching The View, I agreed with the panel of women that David Letterman's comments about Governor Sarah Palin's daughter being "knocked up" by Alex Rodriguez were over the top and that politicians' kids of any age should be off limits. However, I was disappointed that they didn't address the other issue of his joke about her "slutty flight attendant" look. Truthfully, is this not a sexist comment? How could this have gone unnoticed by the five intelligent feminist leaning panelists? It is demeaning and an insult to Ms. Palin's intelligence.
Is it because she is a Republican who happens to be religious and socially conservative? Let me clear one thing up. I am a feminist from way back in the '60s who has always fought for womens' rights but I believe we have become our own worst enemy. During the campaign Gov. Palin's missteps were well chronicled and ridiculed by the Katie Couric interviews and the Tina Fey impersonations. But why is it that when VP Joe Biden makes a gaffe he is not called a "moron, bitch, stewardess, clueless, or idiot?" And most of these comments against Palin were made by women. She has been criticized by females on the right and the left sides of the political spectrum.
Was George W. Bush attacked so vociferously for his stands on abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research during his campaigns for President? No, in fact many believe those stands helped him get elected. I personally take issue with him and Sarah Palin on most of these hot button topics. However, I see a double standard when it comes to the media and the public when dealing with a woman politician.
Was not the Feminist Movement about women "having it all?" So why the questioning of whether Palin could raise a family and still run for higher office? Was not the Womens Movement about equal treatment for both sexes? So where was the outcry when Ms. Palin was grilled by the press about accepting money for her wardrobe from the RNC? Why are men never held accountable for the campaign money they spend for their clothing or other frivolous things (like hush money for an affair?)
Sexism is so pervasive and insidious in this society that it is almost invisible. Whereas racism is addressed and often called to account, sexism is not even recognized. I believe it is because of our society's obsession with sex and its ties to the economy (fashion, make up, magazines, Hollywood etc.) and our self worth. Females are taught at an early age to be competitive with one another to attract the male sex. We learn that appearance is everything and we must do whatever it takes to win a man. We are constantly comparing our looks to other women often becoming jealous if we don't measure up.
As a gay woman I have been spared this merry-go-round but I remember a time in Junior High where I was caught up in it. I wore make up and designer clothes, envied the cheerleaders and flirted with the boys. I am so glad to be free of that world. But I see a lot of girls and women still trapped in it.
Throughout the Democratic primary, while candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton faced sexism about her pantsuits, crying, and her perceived brashness, what Sarah Palin went through was far worse. At least sexist remarks against Hillary were pointed out by feminists. Is there some underlying jealousy here? I know that an unknown candidate needs to be scrutinized to see if she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. I don't object to that. But I feel that as a woman, Palin was subjected to an unfair evaluation by a ravenous media waiting like sharks to jump on her every move.
And while it is true that Palin's positions on many women issues are the polar opposite of most feminists, is that a reason to vilify her in the press? Personal attacks on her intelligence, her appearance (I recently saw an article in the Huffington Post about her toe nail polish, no joke!), and her family are uncalled for and over the line.
If women supported Hillary the way African Americans did for Barack Obama, we would have a woman President today. Sexism used by both men and women against women must be addressed and stopped. It starts with valuing ourselves as individuals and believing that true beauty comes from within. We need to support one another without being competitive and we need to see this as an issue that transcends politics and religion.