Feminists against Palin - shame on you
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The nomination of Sarah Palin for vice president is a big step forward for women, but a long backward step for the movement we have been taught to call feminism.
That is obvious from the anguish, indeed the fury, of feminist commentators. They are so intemperate in their criticism that they are incoherent. Men who are clueless about feminism naively think all women should be cheering. Sarah Palin is a woman who has done it all; she has a successful and even more promising career, five children and a supportive husband.
She crashed through the ultimate layer of the feminist fiction -the "glass ceiling" - and she joined those very few women destined to be known only by their first names. What more could any woman want?
The denunciations of Sarah can't be only because she appears to be a conservative Republican, and the feminists want only liberal Democrats to win. In this era of independent voters and respect for a maverick, surely the milk of bipartisanship should soften feminist angst about Sarah.
But, no. Feminist anger against Sarah has exposed the fact that feminism is not about women's success and achievement. If it were, feminists would have been bragging for years about self-made women who are truly remarkable achievers, such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, or former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, or Sen. Elizabeth Dole, or even Margaret Thatcher. Feminists never boast about these women because feminism's basic doctrine is victimology. Feminism preaches that women can never succeed because they are the sorry victims of an oppressive patriarchy. No matter how smart or accomplished a woman may be, she's told that success and happiness are beyond her grasp because institutional sexism and discrimination hold her down.
When Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to get the Democratic nomination for president or vice president, she and her allies rained a torrent of tears all over the media about the injustice of it all, ranting that rampant sexism denied her the nomination she was due. The aging Gloria Steinem opined on CNN that it is "clear that there is profound sexism." She whined that Hillary couldn't crack the "glass ceiling" because there are "still barriers and biases out there."
Oh, the unfairness of it all! Steinem bemoaned that women find it so "difficult to be competent and successful and be liked." Au contraire, Hillary and women like her are not disliked because they are competent and successful, but because they are chip-on-the-shoulder feminists, living in an unhappy world of their own making and spreading their discontent like a virus. Feminists convey a notion of entitlement, as though they deserve special privileges today because of wrongs in past years that no one any longer can remember, such as women not having the right to vote. The bad attitude of victimhood is indoctrinated in students by the bitter feminist faculty in university women's studies courses and even in some law schools. Victimhood is nurtured and exaggerated by feminist organizations using their tactic called "consciousness raising," i.e., retelling horror stories about how badly some women have been treated until small personal annoyances grow into societal grievances. The feminists resent Sarah because she's the exact opposite of Hillary Clinton. When the liberal media sharpened their knives against Sarah, some chivalrous McCainiacs cried foul about media unfairness, but we didn't hear any whining from Sarah. Sarah has been successful because of hard work and perseverance, not because she's a woman, and she's not going to pull any crybaby act now. Sarah didn't need any Equal Rights Amendment, which Hillary is still promoting even though it was declared dead by the Supreme Court 26 years ago.
The feminist tirades against Sarah are mostly so tiresome, but one line of their complaints is really funny. After 40 years of telling wives and mothers to get out of the home (which Betty Friedan called "a comfortable concentration camp"), put their children in day care (tax-funded, of course) and join the workforce, these same feminists now tell Sarah to stay home with her children.
Sarah doesn't need feminist approval for her lifestyle; the only person whose OK she needs for her double career as mother and politician is her husband's, and he seems very happy with Sarah.
Sarah Palin is an exemplar of a successful, can-do woman, and the feminists simply don't know how to deal with her. I hope she will usher in a new era where conventional wisdom recognizes that feminist negativism is ancient history and American women are so fortunate to live in the greatest country on Earth.
Phyllis Schlafly is president of Eagle Forum, an attorney, and the author of 20 books, including "Feminist Fantasies." Contact us at email@example.com.
This article appeared on page G - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle