Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Female

I am not going to discuss the debate.

The way I see it, John McCain could have stepped on that stage, sat at that desk, and pulled out the solution for World Peace from his back pocket, and yet the mainstream media and 50 % of the population would have said, “Yeah, well, he didn’t look presidential.”

But what I have spent that last day considering is why this whole Palin thing has really pissed me off.

It’s crazy, because, while my economics are conservatives, my social beliefs are liberal, and thus, I don’t even really agree with a lot of what Palin represents.

So why do I feel so defensive when I see so many degrading personal attacks?

Because I feel like I have spent the last three months in the basement of a frat house around 3am, when the air is rich with judgment, superficiality, and gender degradation.

Since the announcement of Palin's VP candidate status, the Internet, television broadcast, and office conversations have been overwhelmed with inappropriate behavior towards her – slamming her feminism under the guise of attacking her intellect or policy.

It's crazy that those who are the first to stand up and scream about the government “keeping your hands off my ovaries!” are also the first to giggle about and email YouTube videos of Palin in a beauty pageant.

The hypocrisy of this is that (for those guilty of Palin slurs), on one hand, you turn to your daughters/sisters/nieces/student and tell them, “You can do ANYTHING in the world you want! You can even be President!” But on the other hand, you turn around and post videos of busty girls imitating Palin’s life, call her “dolt” or a "twat," say she's had the IQ of a house plant, or suggest that men would only vote for her based on the size of her breasts.

(This “dolt” slam, by the way, is even more ironic considering the fact that, point-by-point, Palin outspoke Biden during that debate, with Biden making significantly more mistakes, inaccurate statements, and outright lies – while Palin only got credit for “not fucking up as bad as we thought” and a couple random comments of her high heels – yeah, and Palin’s the dolt).

Because what you are really saying to the female youth is, “Yeah, you caaaan be anything you want, but just as long you believe and follow the popular thought....aaaaaand, even then you should expect to be degraded, ridiculed and dragged through the mud.”

I mean, we are basically reversing everything our mothers taught us when we went through high school – we are teaching our girls that it’s more important to follow the crowd, to be popular, to say the right things, as opposed to standing up for what you really believe in, having principles and speaking out, even if it means the popular group won’t accept you.

We are teaching them that, by doing the unpopular, you should EXPECT maltreatment.

And the worst offenders seem to be females. It’s truly unbelievable that in an effort to support one side, you have actually encouraged the backslide of a gender. Think back to every slam you make against Palin personally – I mean, ANYTHING not associated with her actual politics. And think about whether or not you would/did say that in front of a ten-year-old girl, or how you would respond if that had been said ABOUT your ten-year-old daughter/sister/niece/student.

You call yourself feminist, but then you lower yourself to the level of that basement frat boy with these antics. You ride the gender equality train as it roars into the station, but then you question whether or not Palin can have a family and hold office. You scream about equal education, but then riducle the schools where she earned her degrees. You yell, "Equality! Diversity!" but then make fun of her accent, choice of words, and hobbies.

So basically, you believe a woman CAN be President (or Vice President), but just as long as she's liberal, only moderately attractive, and of immaculate educational/geographical background.

I’ve said it a million times – you don’t like her, don’t vote for her. But take a second to think about the words that come out of your mouth, think about the emails you forward, think about ears of the young girls that surround you. Think about what it was like for you in high school, and how insecure you felt under the superficial judging eyes and hurtful words of the jocks and popular kids - and then ask yourself how your own behaviors are any different.

I was told once by a blogger that I "shouldn't take it so personally" when people engage in this behavior against Palin. But why shouldn't I? More importantly, why don't you, female blogger? Because, as a young female in a supervisory position, I hear way too often insinuations regarding my ability given my age and gender.

I sit at meetings where I am dismissed, but my male supervisor is acknowledged.

I AM offended because my I am a daughter of a family - of a mother - who worked her life to ensure that I had and took advantage of opportunities to succeed that she din't have as a female growing up in the 50s.

And here we are, in 2008, ensuring that we "keep the woman in her place."

So again - why aren't you offended?

38 comments:

Andra Sue said...

Well, personally I *am* offended by the personal slurs...not only on Palin, but on any of the candidates. There's no place for it in politics, IMHO, and all it does is reflect poorly on whoever is perpetrating it.

That being said, what rankles me most about Palin is how she panders to the lowest common denominator of voters, not just women. (Although I admit, she talks way too much about her family, which I think is designed to resonate with most women, but irritates me greatly.) Hell, I don't want my candidates to be "folksy" or to have the "gee whiz, I'm just a normal citizen who fell into this" attitude. I honestly want the people leading my country to be smarter than me, better spoken than I am, to have a better education than I do and to have more in-depth knowledge of all pertinent matters to this election than I could ever aspire to have.

And democrat or republican, I frankly don't find Palin to fit that bill.

19 days and this mess is over, yo!

M said...

A- So is that a suggestion that Palin is less smarter than you, less better spoken, has a lesser education, and a less in-depth knowledge of pertinent matters?

No offense to you (I know you won't take any), but I actually wondered if any of these people that insult her intellegence could have actually handled that debate as she did. And frankly, I don't think anyone could have. What exactly is it that makes you beleive she is less smart than you?

I mean, I am not asking that to be mean, but rather I know this is a common thought, and I want to know why. Becuase Katie Curic asked her a question that Joe Biden couldn't answer either?

This is exactly what I am talking about - that because of how she talks or looks or what school is on her resume, that we deem her as less intellegent as the other candidates, and frankly, I don't buy it. I haven't seen anything from Biden that would suggest that he is any smarter or more well-spoken then Palin. Has he been in the federal government longer? Yes, but then one might exepct him to almost be SMARTER then he has come off. But yet, we dismiss his mistakes, we refrain from the personal attacks on him, we don't seem to think its a problem when he talks about his family.

And while Palin might talk like "Gee Whiz," I have never gotten the impression that she considers herself a citizen that "has fallen into this."

Andra Sue said...

Don't worry--I don't take any offense. It's all in good fun. To your first point...well, yeah kinda! (My MBA and I could take her on an IQ test any day!!! Bring on the verbal essay questions even! Ha ha.) Anyway, I suppose instead of the term "me" I could have used the term "average American" and meant the same thing. Bottom line is don't give me the folksy crap. Don't pander to "Joe Beer Keg" (???) or "Joe Plumber" or whatever is the catchphrase of the day. IF YOU'RE SHARP AND WITH IT--ACT THAT WAY.

I often feel Palin and others in the R party dumb themselves down in an effort to connect with whatever they consider to be middle America. And I find it insulting.

As far as why I find her not to be "smart"...it's a function of how she speaks, how she answers questions, the things upon which she chooses to focus during her talks, how her demeanor comes across (or how her party chooses it should come across), her strict adherence to rhetoric instead of providing a direct and well thought out answer when asked a specific question--that last one's a big deal for me. (All the candidates do it to some extent. Drives me nuts.)

Honestly, I've been more impressed with Michele Obama's public speaking engagements than Sarah Palin's. It's just an opinion--not based on who "lies" about what or who's been accused of whatever or who answered which question the "right" or "wrong" way. And it's not a comparison to Biden either. That's all spin as far as I'm concerned. It's my impression of a candidate and nothing more.

You know, to some degree, I feel like the P/VP picks are nothing more than a party figurehead anyway...so I'll be glad when this is all done and we can move on. I don't have time for this shit--I've got dollar cost averaging to engage in so I can hurry up and retire in 20 years. :)

21stCenturyMom said...

Why Sarah Palin being a VP contender pisses me off:

1). She said the Alaska Pipeline was God's will and that the Iraq war is a task from God. How does she know? It is not fitting for a US politician to make those statements. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/02/palins-church-may-have-sh_n_123205.html

2). She thinks that if you got grabbed in the parking lot on your way home and forcibly raped and impregnated you should not be able to get a safe, clean, legal abortion. I think it's not her business to decide how a woman deals with her own pregnancy, particularly not under those circumstance.

3). She incited her constituents saying that Obama pals around with terrorist and questioned his patriotism. So wrong in so many ways.

4). She was pronounced guilty of an ethics violation for abusing her power as governor and she stood up and said no ethics violation was found - a blatant lie.

5). Her performance at the debate was appalling. She was supposed to be speaking extemporaneously and letting us know what she thinks and how she functions under fire and yet she kept referring to crib notes on her podium and changing the subject to one of the few things she was supposed to address. She went so far as to cheerily refuse to answer the question. It galled me.

6). She believes in abstinence only sex education and thinks it works in spite of some pretty obvious evidence to the contrary.

7). She keeps touting the way she got this $40M pipeline, "the biggest infrastructure in North America" when the thing hasn't been approved and there is actually no signed deal for it's creation http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/090608dnpolpalinpipes.1a0b928.html
It simply isn't true and yet she repeats that every chance she gets.


8). She compared herself to a bitpull to emphasis how uncomfortably tenacious and possibly vicious she can be.

I could go on but I think that's enough to make my point.


She's easy to make fun of because she's in way over her head, she isn't very smart and she has an amusing background. It isn't right but she is hardly alone in being made the butt end of jokes. Public figures get ridiculed routinely. It may not be right but it is by no means unique to Sarah Palin.

M said...

Alright, listen - This post wasn't to argue why you should like her or vote for her. Like I very clearly stated, I don't necessarily agree with all she beleives. The post was about how to conduct oneself like an adult, and realize the impact of one's actions on the greater society, particularly in regards to the younger female generation and the message that is being sent to them.

Your statement "she's easy to make fun of," spoke to exactly to that- that somewhere along the line, instead of simply disagreeing with her stances, people have found it acceptable to "make fun of her," and not just through things like SNL, but really shitty inapproriate things.

SO you don't agree with her - great. But do you need to call names like "twat," (holy fuck is that offensive - the last time I checked that meant vagina, and I guess it begs the question - Why are you calling her a vagina? It doesn't even make sense).

Again, the whole point it to hold yourself accountable for the shit that comes out of your mouth. If that were your daughter standing up there, would you use those same words? Or if your daughter sat next to you during the debate, would you use those words? And if you would, what message do you think that sends?

kritta said...

I will hold myself accountable for calling her a twat. Hell yes I think a woman can be president, but does that mean that just because one is running for VP, and because I'M a woman, I have to bow down? Hell no. Hillary Clinton was actually running for PRESIDENT, and I didn't want to touch that with a 40-foot pole.

And if I ever get raped, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for my own rape kit at the hospital.

kritta said...

And, no, if it were my daughter/niece/mother standing up there, I would not call her a twat, because I would respect my daughter/niece/mother. Further, I think it insults the intelligence of women to assume that just because we are women, we need to appreciate Palin for her efforts. I don't care if she were a man, I don't appreciate what she stands for.

Kathleen said...

Palin shouldn't be degraded for being a woman. No one would dare make degratory comments about Obama for being 1/2 black... that would be racism. Same thing, in my mind.

Mommymeepa said...

M,

Great post. I agree with you totally and I'm not saying I like her or not. Just agree with what your saying as I have a 10 year old daughter and do not like what I am seeing from people in regards to how they talk and make fun of her.

The (IRON) Clyde said...

I really wish we could get you and the over the shoulder one in a room sometime, you would destroy her.

On a side note, J and I met in a dirty fraternity basement at 3 A.M., no shitting you on that one.

Erin said...

I am definitely offended by the sexism launched toward Palin: the laughing at her beauty pageant (haven't watched it myself, as I don't care), the t-shirts with "C$%t" on them. Those things have no place in politics, or civil discourse as far as I'm concerned.

But honestly, in people I've talked to, and in the news reports I've watched, these things have not been overtly evident to me. They haven't come up.

What has, though, are questions about her competency. And I think those are fair.

More than anything, I am offended -- no, outraged -- at the notion that just because anyone CAN be president means that "anyone" SHOULD BE president. I want the top two people in the country to be smarter than me, more intellectually curious than me, and more into policy matters than I am...and I'm better educated than a lot of "average" Americans. This isn't true of Palin. She herself has said she's "average" -- a "hockey mom" who didn't get a passport until last year b/c she wasn't privileged. And a woman whom her own staff has said "isn't all that interested in policy" but is more interested in public appearances.

I am also outraged at Palin's treatment of the press. This is not a good precedent to set. Slam the msm. Fine. Everyone does it. But when you deamonize the press to such an extent that the supporters at your rally throw things at the media there and tell an African American cameraman, "Sit down, boy," that signifies a problem to me.

I'm outraged that she was found guilty of violating Alaska state ethics laws, and has two other separate violations under pending investigation, and then lied about being found guilty of it.

As a woman, I'm outraged about her stance on reproductive rights, abstinence-only sex ed, and making victims pay for their own rape kits.

As an American, I'm outraged at either her inability or her refusal to discuss one other Supreme Court decision that she disagreed with. This is important. It matters. And either refusing or not knowing is not good enough for me when the next administration could recommend two SC justices for confirmation.

But most of all, I am totally and completely outraged at her behavior in the past two weeks. She has driven an agenda of fear, hate, and race-mongering that has resulted in people at rallies yelling things like "Kill him" and "terrorist" about Obama. She has painted him as "not one of us" and someone who "doesn't see the country like you and I do." I'm outraged about this because I thought, as a country, we were moving forward on these issues, and she has single-handedly brought them front-and-center. These things go far beyond the normal character attacks in politics and have absolutely no place in an election at this -- or any -- level. It makes me sad for all of us that this happened. That's it's still happening.

And as you can see, none of these things have anything to do with the fact that she's a woman at all. And every one of them I'd say in the presence of any of my young, female cousins.

More to the point, this isn't just a liberal or "liberal elite media" point of view. In the past few weeks more die-hard conservatives than you could count on two hands have come out stating the same thing -- from Republican strategists, to Senators/Reps, to columnists and journalists (George Will, Kathleen Parker, and Christopher Buckley are three that come immediately to mind).

This isn't about her being a woman, or even about her experience. It's about her not being ready, or fully capable, of serving in this role. Plain and simple.

M said...

Kritta - when Hillary ran, I by no means was going to jump ship to vote for her because she a woman, and have never suggested that you or anyone else should vote for Palin because she is a woman (just as I would never suggest that people should vote for Barak because he is a man or Black). Moreover, I NEVER suggested that one bow down to or agree with Palin. And before it's even brought up (because it will be), I ABSOLUTELY never said we should handle her with kid gloves, or give her a break, or not challenge her because she is a woman and we need to take a softer approach. In fact, I absolutely AGREE with treating like the other candidates.

Again, this is not an issue of whether or not you like her. You know, there are a ton of people I don't respect - Obama being one of them, and mostly because I think he is compeltely dishonest with the American people (but this is not the post to argue that), but I honestly can't ever remember making a racial slur, or calling him a penis, or suggesting that he is any less intellegent because of either of those two factors.

And that's not me saying, "Oh look at me and how approriate I am," but rather a counterpoint to how people justify personal attacks on Palin.

WADE COOPER said...

Meg great post. I think if you do not like someone's policies then DONT vote for them. The question is "why the name calling/degrading insults??"
We should all be doing our own research not relying on the "Huffington post or Fox news..." to get our facts.

WADE
The conservative Social Worker.

21stCenturyMom said...

Megan - it will be a very cold day in hell before I ever call any woman or man a twat. I hate that word. I reserve the "c" word in instances of truly mean, viscious behavior and generally don't use it at all.

The nastiness goes both ways (how about that money in an Obama hat the guy called "Little Hussein"?) but you are razor focused on the stuff that gets said about Palin.

Most of what I see is nothing near the level of vitriol you're talking about. Mostly it's done with humor.

Once again - I don't see that Sarah Palin is getting any worse treatment than Barack Obama. I really don't. That doesn't make it right - I'm just making a point.

21stCenturyMom said...

Erin is my hero - well said! And when Lewis called Palin out on the violent bahvior she is inciting McCain whined about it in the debate. The denial of reality in the McCain camp scare the bejabbers out of me.

Erica Ortiz said...

You don't have to agree or disagree with her points to feel that the way she is openly berated in the media is wrong.

It doesn't stop in politics, it happens in any position that women aren't typically accustomed to holding. Executive positions, sports, etc.

You can tell me all day long that women are equal today, but I've lived the experience of trying to be somewhere that's still a men's playfield, and KNOW that the underhanded comments and the scruntiny are FAR worse regardless of how well suited you are to perform the task.

And worse, you are 100% right that females are the worst against other women. I do not understand this at all!

M said...

Erin - and that's exactly what I mean - disagree with her, dislike her, but do so without be degrading, as your comment did.

Why is that so hard for people to understand?

And while I certainly am not going to try to repute your points about her beliefs, I find it intersting how easy it is for people to blame Palin for the words of idiots in a crowd, and suggest that these idots actually represent her. Was Palin screaming "Kill him?" Did Palin say, "Sit down boy?" There's plenty of footage about poor behavior on the Obama rallies and the DNC (hell, Whoopi Goldberg has the audacity to ask McCain is he were going to make her a slave again! What the fuck is that?), but I would never look at that and say, "Oh, that man is acting like an ass - that must be what Obama stands for."

For example, last night I was comepltely name called and insulted during a disucssion on taxes by someone who had no idea what she was talking about, but instead fell back on ridicule to make a point (not you, Pamela - that other woman). Do I think she represent Obama, or what Democrats think or beleive? No, I just think she was inapproriate or misguided or just a little over-the-top emotional.

As for MSM - many of those comment I referred to (not all, as Kritta pointed out) were actually made by news broadcasters. And I know you say stuff about Palin not making herself available, but honestly, if I were Plain, I would be like "Fuck you" to the media - because the truth of the matter is that, no matter what she says, she'll get slammed (like McCain last night - if he came out swinger, he'd be reamed for being "angry" but if he didn't attack, he'd be a "wimp." It's a no -win). Like I said in the post, Biden fucks up exponentially more than she ever has, but where are you insults on his intellegence? Where is your stand against him, and wanting someone smart to lead the country?

Outraged at how SHE treats the media?

Finally, as for statements about "not one of us" and "not seeing the country as we do" - Obama's entire campaign is about McCain not being like/undrestanding/relating to the American people, not being like the middle class American, not being in touch. To suggest that Palin's comments were somehow inapproriate but Obama's are not doesn't seem fair.

M said...

21CM -I am sorry, but how exactly did Palin incite that? I didn't see any reports that she was the one saying those things. And of the millions of peopel that attend rallies (on either side) you hold Palin accountable for what a group of yahoos in the audiance do? That's what McCain was referring to, not whining about.

Give me a break.

M said...

21CM- You say you would never think to use that word, but an Obama supporter actually did. So considering the standard at which you hold Palin (making her responsbilble for what some crazies at a rally say), should I then assume that you too would actually use this word or "twat" represents what you beleive?

See the point?

Moreover, I am voting for MCCain - do you feel that I too am responsible for the peole the yell "Kill him" or that those poeple who said that represents what I think?

Ah, but according to you, it MUST be what Palin beleives too.

IM Able said...

Wow.

I couldn't disagree with you more. Seriously. I really couldn't.

Let me tell you what I am not.

I am not someone who watches Youtube for my satire. I am not someone who acknowledges or "giggles" at grossly misplaced "humor" that ridicules Palin based on her looks or body. I did not form my opinion of her based on her gender, nor do I ignore the contribution her gender may bring to the office. I don't get my opinions from media and I don't talk about politics like a frat boy.

What I AM is a woman who is concerned with placing someone who is woefully under qualified for this position in the running SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN. She is not qualified for the position. She has no education in any of the relevant fields (policy, law, history, etc.) and she has not shown even a rudimentary grasp of issues of importance to the country. Even the things about her that I do find compelling (her approach to family, for example) has never found its way into her work. She has never, in my opinion, made a difference in anything that I find important. Even when in a position of power, she did not use that power to move her state forward.

This doesn't degrade her as a person or a politician. She has many important and valuable qualities. She has a bright future in politics. But this is not the right job for her right now. I don't come to this conclusion because of her colloquial speech or her winks. I come to the conclusion because I have read her record and listened to what she has to say.

But more importantly to me, as a friend and a woman, is that I say this:

I have no problem whatsoever looking my nieces in the eye and telling them that they can be anyone or anything that they want in life, including the President.

But in order for them to achieve exceptional things -- which they can and, I suspect, will -- they have to put the hard work in first place. They have to learn about our history, our laws, and our world in school. They have to try new ideas and fail and pick themselves up again and try something new. They have to work hard in the workplace to translate what they have learned in school into something meaningful for the world. They have to develop judgment. They have to build and stay true to a strong set of morals that guides their decisions, regardless of application. Put simply, they have to work for success.

Just because I don't think Palin has put this work in, doesn't mean I can't say these things to my nieces. I want them to know that it is what they DO and how they treat others that will define them, NOT their gender. Just because I am unwilling to give this woman my approval doesn't mean I degrade what my own mother fought for. It is BECAUSE generations of women before us insisted on equality that I CAN say "no, just any woman is not good enough."

Eric said...

Preach on soul sister!!! It's interesting that people want something like a female VP or a "normal" person in politics and once they get it, they don't want it anymore.

It annoys me that people don't want to give Palin any recognition even on the simplest things like "historic" significance.

Think back to June of this year before there was a clear cut Democratic nominee. All we heard was "history will be made no matter what"......."it's historic, we will either have a black nominee or a woman nominee for the first time in history". It was a huge deal, blah, blah, blah.

Ok, fast forward to today. History is still going to be made......we will either have a black president or a woman vice president. Notice how no one talks about that though. It doesn't seem to be "historic" anymore.

21stCenturyMom said...

Megan - there is no way you can say that Palin's efforts to paint Obama as 'other than us' and 'palling around with terrorists' did not incite people to scream about how he's an Arab and 'kill him'. No way. Please, dont' belittle me with your sweeping generalities. What Palin did was intentionally meant to make people see Obama as evil and what she said were lies. Obama does not 'pal around with terrorists'. Furthermore - it totally backfired and McCain had to intervene and say the Obama was a decent man and a good citizen thereby shooting Palin's whole schtick to crap.

Go ahead and vote for McCain - it's your right. As for your righteous indignation at the way Palin, a woman who should be able to deal with press openly, is being treated by them is just baffeling. She has no business running for VP - she isn't qualified and she's in a fire of her choosing in which she can't take the heat. The thought of her negotiating peace treaties or trade agreements should something happen to McCain scares the crap out of me. She is simply not capable. The best McCain could come up for regarding her suitability to be President is that she is a government reformer (arguable) and gave some tax money back to citizens, she is role model for women and she understand special need children. Pretty thin credentials to be in a position of global influence.

Erin said...

I love this debate we're having, and take it that it's all in the spirit of good, honest discussion.

That said, Palin didn't shout things like "kill him" and "terrorist" at her rallies. But what she did was raise those issues in the first place. You don't think it's a coincidence that these things started soon after her stump speech recitation of Obama "palling around with terrorists? I'm sorry, but this issue seems ridiculous to me. Ayers was named "Man of the Year" by Chicago more than a decade back. A good friend of mine and CoS's, who is doing amazing things nationwide (based in Chicago) on interfaith youth issues publicly credits Ayers as being one of his mentors. This man is kind, ridiculously intelligent, and thoughtful. He is also a Muslim. And as a result of all of this nonsense, I'd be lying if I said that sometimes I didn't fear for his safety.

Comparing Obama's preaching to the middle class and as such, discluding those who don't fit that group (like McCain, who simply doesn't. Obama openly says he doesn't either, though), is so completely and fundamentally different from saying someone has close personal connections with terrorists, and then saying that person just doesn't see America the same way as everyone else does, it's not even funny. That is a wholly different message altogether. Worse, it is a dangerous message meant to incite fear and hatred of an "other."

I don't buy that the Palin camp didn't have anything to do with her being introduced by people who emphasized Obama's middle name (at the same rallies where she, herself, was emphasizing his "terrorist" ties). I have worked for enough politicians to know that everything...and I mean EVERYTHING is carefully scripted, right down to the very last detail -- even the signs that you see at rallies are often made by and handed out by the campaigns. As such, I've never, ever sent anyone I work for to even speak to the local knitting club without providing the head of said club with a suggested introduction. It's just not done.

So yes, she is responsible for brining this stuff up, for orchestrating it. And as such, I hold her responsible for at the very least, not denouncing those things when they were shouted by members of the crowd at her rallies, and at most, for the fact that those things were shouted in the first place. These were not random shout-outs by "fringe crazies". They were directly related to exactly what she was emphasizing in her stump speech. And if she didn't have the forethought to read that speech and understand the social lay of the land that she was looking at -- terrorism being a major fear in the US today, Obama having the same last name as one of the largest terrorists of modern times in whose country the US is still waging a war, and throwing the word "terrorism" around in conjunction with Obama -- then she is completely ignorant, and not someone who I would want leading this country.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: attacks like those have absolutely no place in our politics, or our country.

One more thing -- if I were Palin, I'd probably want to say "f-you" to the media, too. She's been skewered, and at times not for the fairest of reasons. But a lot of the coverage she has brought on herself, both through her seclusion and a lot of her policies that have been discussed here in these comments (mine and others). However, she is running for public office. And as a candidate for that office -- one of the highest offices in the land, and someone who we only heard of less than 2 months ago -- she has a duty and obligation to the American people to make herself available, and to answer each and every reasonable question thrown at her. Every single other candidate in this race has done just that. I don't see any reason why she shouldn't be held to the exact same standard.

As for Biden, I'm not sure what you want me to say. Has he made mistakes? Misspoken? Screwed up? Sure. Absolutely. Without a doubt. But he is also a known commodity who has been under national media scrutiny for nearly three decades. He has a proven record so that we know these gaffes are just that -- gaffes. When he makes them, and the press makes fun of him, he keeps coming back for more. Case in point? He has appeared on Meet the Press nearly 100 times. He answers questions and makes himself available. He has been thoroughly vetted and as such, with all that's out there on Biden, people can decide for themselves if he is for them. This just isn't true of Palin.

So, I guess we'll agree on the fundamental focus of your original post, and just agree to disagree on the rest.

Amy said...

This is an interesting discussion and one that will raise a lot of hackles and nasty responses from people. Politics always does. Like questions about religion, it makes people have to step up and really think about and question themselves. And in my experience no one is really ready to do that. You can be as open minded as you like, but if someone is going to question you on your core beliefs and values, you will be defencive. I hope that this discussion doesn't turn into a shit flinging blood bath that a lot of political discussions turn into.

That being said. I sat down (as a Canuck) and looked at my reaction to Sarah Palin (because like it or not the American politics reaches us up here and does influence our politics). We had our election a few days ago... after 5 weeks of campaigning... effiency... it's a Canadian thing maybe :) And the man I don't like got voted in. And I will attack him for his clothing choice (come on! Sweater vests??!!), for the commercials, for his trying to convince us that he's just like us. I will call him names to express my distaste for him. Is it professional? No. Is it adult? No. Am I acting like a kid in a play ground? Yup. And like kids our behaviour is taught to us by something or someone we see as an authority figure. And in the case of adults I see that figure as the people who teach us and who provide us with the barest of facts. Be that media, politicians, religious figures, our peers. We want to fit in with those around us. We still long for people to pat us on the head and be accepted into the cool kids club so we say the things that we know will get us that attention. Like the first kid on the play ground that learns to swear, or sneaks in a cigarette.

So why can't we be adults and speak our opinions without resulting to slander and name calling? Because that would require a lot of thought and introspection and that takes time and effort. It's much easier to call someone a derogatory word then it does to put together a soliloquy of how their many attributes offend you. In this day and age shock statements unfortunetly work a heck of a lot better. People don't a 5 minute speech when it can be summed up in a word.

OK so that's still not really talk to the point. The point is why do we use the words we use. Or maybe I did sort of say it. Laziness, shock and awe, and repeating what we are told. It's not just with women either: the French up here; Mr. Obama and the accusations of being a terrorist and assuming he is Muslim and that being an issue - because of his name, colour and heritage; McCain for being old. I think that the belittlement of women is just so much more apparent because of the language that is used. To change this we need to stop acting like children on a play ground and start acting like adults... but not the ones we see, but like the ones we'd like to see. And we need to start demanding that of ourselves and of the people and other things around us. That's where you start. And Megan you have started that by this post. Thank you.

M said...

Holy shit. Part of me didn't even want to respond because I feel my point is so far missed that it is unrecoverable at this point. There are plenty of comments, but few that actually suggest that my point is understood.

To that end, let me say, for the last time, I NEVER SAID TO APPROVE OF/AGREE WITH/VOTE FOR/LOVE/ACCEPT Sarah Palin becuase she is a woman, or for any other reason.

NEVER NEVER NEVER.

Able - though you say you disagree, your entire comment was EXACTLY what I was trying to say.

In fact, your words make the point that apparently I have not been as clear about - You clearly state "Hey, I don't agree with her politics, I don't think she is best for me or the country, and this is why. But I can both not agree with her and also not engage in those demaning and devaluing things either." YES! YES! This is what I am saying!!!!

Able, I have NEVER known you to do that do anything but think rationally about this stuff, and I have also never known you to say one nasty comment or negative slur about anyone in this race, and I completely respect that. In fact, you opened your comment with a statement about the things you DON'T do, and this is exactly what I was saying. You are absolutely right - disagreeing with her doesn't degrade her at all.

And I have NEVER encourage anyone TO agree with her - hell, I don't even agree with her. But I am also not going to ridicule or devalue her to make a point.

Was there somewhere in all of this that I suggested otherwise? That I suggested that you should aggree with/vote for/ support/ encourage Palin? Rather, I feel I asked that people that engage in negative behaviors take a look at themselves (and yes, to those that mentioned it, conservatives should as well - but seeing as I am a female, I took the female perspective on this post).

And yet, there is a such a crazy backlash and laundry lists of why not vote for her.

Not the point.

Similarly, I don't support Obama (or Palin, again) but I can leave it at that, without getting into all that nastiness either. But I can also feel offended by the gender biased treatment.

As 21CM says, "It's my right."

Moreover, I have never said that everyone who votes Obama (or against Palin) is guilty of this behavior. I have never made "sweeping generalization" that all Democrats do this. Nor have I made the statement that conservatives are immune to this either. NEVER.

If this post doesn't apply to you - if you have never spoken a degrading comment about her or even Obama for that matter, then what are you freaking out about? This post was about the people that DO do these things.

Just as Able pointed out - you can disagree without the nastiness. You can disagree based on fact, based on policy, based on personal preference - whatever. But why take it that step further? Why call names? Moreover (from the FB issue last night )why call ME names because I disagree?

And finally, Able said, "I want them to know that it is what they DO and how they treat others that will define them, NOT their gender. Just because I am unwilling to give this woman my approval doesn't mean I degrade what my own mother fought for."

Again, I NEVER EVER EVER said to give this woman your approval. NEVER. Nor did I ever suggest that NOT voting for her was degrading to what our mothers fought for. What I did say was that the treatment of her using devaluing and demeaning words and actions is, and that as educated voting adults, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and, as Able pointed out, depend on our intellect, research, and rationale to guide our decisions.

Democrats AND Republicans alike.

Prin said...

No, no, you have it wrong. There's another option for women aside from being popular and hot. There are the options of being hideous or mannish. Of course, à la Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Clinton, you'll still get ridiculed, just in a different way.

As for all the comments, there are way too many words, so I'll just pretend I read them all and add this:

Along with watching our judgments about her as pertains to her physical attributes and womanness, we should also watch that we don't characterize everything as gender bashing just because she's a woman.

If she's a moron, she's a moron. Period. We don't necessarily feel she's a moron because she's a woman. Jumping on that bandwagon is also sending the wrong message to girls everywhere.

Captain Cactus said...

I agree with the majority of your argument, even while disagreeing with Palin as a VP candidate. Your concern over the degrading tone taken towards her is significant and valid, but no different than the degrading tone taken towards Biden for also not being that bright, or McCain for being too old, or Obama for being too haughty. All of the personal criticism is appalling frankly and is a sad statement of how unfocused the candidates are on the real issues.

Where I have to diverge from you is on the issue of the statements coming out of the crowds at her rallies. Her statements trying to link Obama with terrorism are most certainly designed by her speech writers and strategists to incite exactly the feelings that are coming out of the crowd (such as yelling "Kill him"). Whether she agrees or disagrees with the strategy, I believe that anyone in her position has the responsibility to at least make some attempt to correct the fool in the audience yelling such things. Even John McCain had the balls to stand up for Obama and take the microphone back from a woman when the audience member said that she doesn't like Obama because he's a Muslim. McCain correctly told the woman that she was absolutely wrong and the example that he set should be carried through by the rest of his ticket. I admire that he had that strength.

This problem is certainly not confined to the US election unfortunately. I was disappointed that in our Canadian election this week, the issues took a back burner to personal attacks. What I wonder, is whether or not anyone has a suggestion of how we might move politicians as well as the media and the general public to shift away from the playground name calling and actually discuss real problems? Obviously it won't happen in this election and I know it can't possibly happen overnight, but in today's new media world where anyone with an internet connection can be heard, is it even possible for us to move forward? Is it possible for us to act like the grown ups we're supposed to be to be allowed to vote?

Heather said...

Great post. My big frustration with the comments about Palin during the election is that people overlook that anytime we make degrading comments about one individual that reference a characteristic like gender (or race, or whatever), you make those comments against all people who share that characteristic because you put that on the table. So I don't feel that I can call Sarah Palin (or anyone) a "stupid twat" without also calling my one-year old daughter the same thing. And really, we, as the intelligent, voting public, should be able to criticize candidates and their views without resorting to such unintelligent and immature labels.

Heather said...

Great post. My big frustration with the comments about Palin during the election is that people overlook that anytime we make degrading comments about one individual that reference a characteristic like gender (or race, or whatever), you make those comments against all people who share that characteristic because you put that on the table. So I don't feel that I can call Sarah Palin (or anyone) a "stupid twat" without also calling my one-year old daughter the same thing. And really, we, as the intelligent, voting public, should be able to criticize candidates and their views without resorting to such unintelligent and immature labels.

Speed Racer said...

Anything that I would have to say would be framed by the assumption that you could see that Sarah Palin is a dolt (this based on her actions/words, not her cup size or the shape of her legs). You don't seem to see that, so let's move on. Will you at least agree with me that John McCain's neck is a little scary? Call me sexist, but it is not an attractive neck. I'm not saying that a sexy neck is necessarily what one NEEDS to be "presidential", but I kind of think it makes him look like an eel. Call me a dolt for basing my vote on necks/jowels, but I just don't want to be looking at that neck for 4 years. And I don't want to be listening to that horrible Palin accent either for four years if he croaks. Why does she sound like that lady in Fargo?

21stCenturyMom said...

Speedracer wins this whole thing, hands down and since Meg is on vacation I get to declare!

Hope you're having fun, Meg

the fire said...

wait a second....I didn't know that women could vote...how can a women be vice president if she can't even vote...huuuuueeee bbbbbooooooyyyyyyy!!!

The Lazy Triathlete said...

I applaud your position. There are not many people today who have the courage to say that I disagree with someone, but I support their right to be heard only on the issues. BRAVO.

21stCenturyMom said...

Welcome back from vacation and I hope you see that although people may say inappropriate and horrible things about Sarah Palin she has kept her sense of humor. She did SNL! And it was great.

http://gaysocialites.com/2008/10/sarah_palin_on_snl_weekend_upd.html

21stCenturyMom said...

This one's even better. Never mind that last link (sorry! I didn't pay attention to what website I was on - it was the first one that came up in a search of SNL Weekend Update)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/18/sarah-palin-on-snl-with-t_n_135887.html

thea said...

I was so moved by your blog on this topic that I copied and pasted it to my aunt, sister, BF sister, and mother. My aunt has been emailing me posts about NOW joining with Obama and how we should not let Palin be classified as "one of us". I am very opposed to overly feminist views and this was the PERFECT rebuttal to her comments to me. Thanks Megan. I couldn't have said it better. Keep on writing.

Prin said...

You really wrote this whole post to tell me to vote for Sarah Palin?

Well, I won't.

Because I'm Canadian.

teeheehee, just messing. ;)

Kevin said...

http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/01/24/roger_stone/