Wednesday, June 10

Sexism and Sarah

I had a terrific exchange via Twitter with Joan Walsh of this weekend. It concerned Sarah Palin and sexism. I think Walsh and I agreed that sexism definitely exists where Sarah Palin or any woman politician is running, but it's hard to pin down the sexism with Palin because she is so uniquely unqualified. Pointing out her lack of qualifications as well as making fun of her ignorance is not necessarily sexism.

I tried to make the point on Twitter, which is hard in 140 characters, natch, that the story of the Republican Party since Reagan has been to abandon qualifications in favor of ideological purity, particularly when it comes to abortion. I don't know why the religious Right continues to be fooled on this; Karl Rove never stopped an abortion and never will, but figuring out Republicans is, as Obama once said about when life begins (stupidest thing he ever said) above my pay grade.

Sarah Palin's prominence within the Republican party is a direct beneficiary of that trend. Her pure conservative ideology trumps her lack of qualifications/knowledge with the party base. Notice this is true of many male politicians in the GOP as well. Tom Tancredo, Kit Bond, the entire staff of the National Review Online: intellectual lightweights who gain prominence in conservative circles solely because of their ideological 'purity'.

No one should be surprised when David Letterman or Chris Matthews makes a sexist comment about Palin. Consider the source, call them out as sexist bastards, and move on. And if Letterman ever flies a commercial airline again, I hope some non-slutty flight attendant spills bad coffee right on his testosterone also too.

But it's hard to know what to do when MSM (and it's high time to include Huffpo in that category) points its laser beam eye onto Sarah Palin's toenails.

Which is worse, that the media is focused on such nonsense, or that a person who is clearly planning on running for the highest office in the land paints her toenails to look like Minnie Mouse on acid?

Dear Governor Palin, as the mother of two very young girls I get it if little Piper did your toes. But mom to mom? Wipe off the polka dots before you do the Autism fundraiser. And you probably already know this, but your red shoe fetish often distracts from everything else about you. Dear gawd, of course you know that. Nevermind.

On topic and in Sarah Palin's defense, I also think every party's Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees should be given a clothing/grooming budget for themselves and their families by the national party apparatus for their campaign appearances. All pundits should simply STFU about that. Let's agree that after the conventions, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama and Joe Biden alike can do their hair and buy their suits on their party's dime (and on a budget, please) without criticism.

Of course, when the budget includes white nail polish for the toe polka dots, let alone suits from Neimans during an economic crash, we won't be able to resist. We'll also pay attention to the candidate's recall of Supreme Court decisions and basic world geography. That's not sexism. That's politics.


  1. Terrific post, BG.

    As you know, I get called out peridically about sexism at MPS, which I firmly try to quash.

    The thing is, I pick on everyone, and I think equally. There are some news cycles where female pols are more prominent and on those days I usually get at least one accusation of sexism. But I try to stay focused on issues, not gender, but I slip now and then.

    It's good of you to post a wake-up call. I need reminders to check myself. I endeavor to do better.



  2. It's not so much that the Republicans are trying to attract intellectual lightweights, it's just that the level of ideological purity they want is only found in intellectual lightweights. Anyone who actually thinks through any issue is unlikely to maintain an extreme position, left or right.

  3. I believe sexism exists, I know it for a fact. You have to admit though that it is really hard to take any woman seriously who paints polka dots on her toe nails and has the gall to wear open toed shoes to show em off. Seems to me that she has gotta be asking for it.

    That said, I love women, really I do, my best friends are women. I am a gay man and I LOVE women.

    Sarah Palin and most republican women ask for it when they denigrate themselves by accepting the "roles" that they are allowed to play in the republican party.

    Seriously, do you think Hillary would ever have had painted polka dots on her toes? I think not.

    Just sayin...and does that make me sexist? Maybe, I am.

    The greater problem is that women who want to be taken seriously need to stop acting like a 12 year old and when you see a woman acting like a 12 year old call her on it.

    Go ahead, slam me with it...I can take it. Any woman who runs for office has to "be" strong and act like it, in order to get elected. Is it fair? No. Is it the truth? Yes.

    All of that said, I would vote for a woman 10 times over before I vote for a man, especially for a judge, but they better have closed toed shoes and no polka dots.

  4. geek_guy6:50 AM

    Is it sexist to say between Palin and Sotomayor, who I want to see in a bikini and who I want to see in Supreme Court robes?

  5. Huffington Post may be, in my opinion, one of the most sexist sites on the web. Just scroll down the features on that right-hand sidebar sometime.

    Today's chestnuts:

    "Megan Fox Dons Sheer Dress in South Korea."

    "The Sarkozys Make Voting Look Sexy" (guess which one they mean)

    "Michelle's Flamboyant London Fashion..."


  6. "'s just that the level of ideological purity they want is only found in intellectual lightweights."

    The same can be said for the press who continues to flaunt this elementary junk. QuakerDave is right - Huff Post wins the award for sexism, but the rest are not far behind.

    Keep focusing on Say-ruh's toes, press. Keep Newty in the limelight full front and center and kiss Rush right on the lips. The more they're exposed, the harder they'll fall in 2010 & 2012 and beyond.

  7. Anonymous3:39 PM

    I have to disagree with you. By courting the crazy, insane, violent right wingers Karl Rove has stopped many abortions. The killings of doctors, attacks on clinics etc has eliminated the availability of the procedure in most states. Its terrorism, but terrorism sadly works.

  8. Anonymous11:51 PM


    David Letterman's hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
    Speaking of anti-Semitism, it's Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who've gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
    Wrong! It's the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that'll outdo even Hitler's by stating that "Judah hath dealt treacherously" and "the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this" and asks "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?"
    Haven't evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and Jewish persons? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard) against a leading evangelical named Sarah Palin, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin's continuing "crucifixion"!
    While David and Sandra are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
    (For even more stunning information, visit MSN and type in "Separation of Raunch and State" and "Bible Verses Obama Avoids.")

  9. Anybody happen to catch all those hot Iranian women protesting the stolen election? OMG!!!!


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