I wanted to share an incredibly important piece about Sarah Palin with you. Originally posted on WCF's Women and Politics blog, this post echoes the sentiments of WCF, and I suspect, many other women and organizations as well:
While Sarah Palin's laundry list of controversial views has incensed a broad spectrum of Americans, she has been an especially sharp thorn in the sides of feminists. And with her ever-increasing celebrity status, it seems we just can't escape her damaging rhetoric.
But things just managed to get worse. Now Palin is claiming that she's a feminist? (April Fools? ... j/k? ... No?)
As if we don't have enough trouble battling blatant anti-woman forces...now we have to face a political celeb who mistakenly identifies herself as one of us? Oye.
With feminists like Sarah Palin, who needs enemies?
It seems that Palin thinks by putting the word "Conservative" in front of "feminist," she's able to magically change its intrinsic meaning. It would be like calling yourself a meat-loving vegetarian--it just doesn't work. Their goals directly contradict each other.
Of course, many actual feminists have already refuted and condemned Palin's false identification. Simply put by Taylor Marsh,
"Anything less than supporting women's full individual rights simply renders you a pretender, a fake, a feminist fraud."
While there has been debate about whether or not you can be an anti-choice feminist, the majority of thought and most of the feminist community concludes that you can't. (Basically, an individual's choice for or against abortion for themselves shouldn't apply to everyone - but that's a giant topic for another day.)
As Palin has done nothing but use her own personal decisions to showcase her anti-reproductive choice stance, it's clear that she doesn't support women's freedom to make their own personal choices. Heretofore, she is not a feminist.
In fact, I would argue that it's worse than that: Sarah Palin's politics, views, and approach are actually harmful to women.
WCF works to get more women into public office, from both sides of the aisle. But we, along with many women's organizations, believe that it's imperative to elect more women who will defend women's reproductive health.
Unfortunately, Palin's recent actions aren't just threatening to women's health--her venomous and uncompromising approach to politics harms our entire country.
Many note that Palin and Bachmann's political approach disproves the idea that women collaborate more than men. As former Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) said,
"With Sarah and Michele [Bachmann], they're not listeners -- they want to tell you what to believe, so it's a very different style than most women in politics have had."
But at a time when explosive partisan politics continues to deepen our divisions, do we really want leaders who will only continue to tear that expanse further apart?
And I must remind everyone that Palin's extreme reproductive choice views don't reflect those of most Americans; who believe that individuals, not politicians or the government, should decide which option is best for themselves and their families.
It deeply saddens me to witness the destruction caused by women like Sarah Palin; who could use their powers for good, not evil; whose goals aren't to truly empower women, but strip them of their freedoms; who don't foster much-needed collaboration, but boast how they would further divide; who aren't a true voice for all women, but tow the line of minority opinion.
As recent elections have overwhelmingly demonstrated, our current political system often fails women. And Palin's tactics only further polarize our political system, making it increasingly difficult for women to succeed within it.
I truly hope that voters this November will choose collaboration over division; new approaches over stale partisan politics; and advancing women's rights instead of turning back the clock.