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Sexism? Really? September 8, 2008

Posted by Kate Ryan in National Politics, Sarah Palin, Women's Issues.
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This past weekend was opening week of NFL football.  In my house, this is an event on par with Christmas and the Fourth of July for excitement.  My husband and I are into fantasy football and weeks are spent prepping for the season.  Our daughter rolls her eyes and bears with it.  The normal household obsession is the news – so football is one step up from that.

This year, however, my beloved fall tradition will probably be overshadowed by politics.  That’s as it should be when there is an election as important as this one, but I wish I had gotten through opening weekend!  Instead, this weekend I was focusing on questions of sexism.  Apparently, it is sexist to want to ask Governor Palin questions about her record and qualifications.

I will grant that some of the comments I heard were snarkily sexist right after she was announced.  The most obvious was the talk of the Governor’s ability to raise her family and make this run for the White house.  Nobody would have ever asked that of Barack Obama and his family.  I don’t know who first said it, but I bet it was another woman.  Women tend to take the “mommy wars” way too seriously.  Really, whether you’re a mom working inside your home or outside your home, it is always a balancing act.  We all need to respect that in each other.

What I can’t understand is why it is sexist to confront Governor Palin over here little half-truths, obvious untruths, lightweight qualifications, and extremist public policy beliefs.  This is a person who is running as a reformer who will stand up to special interests and strike out earmarks in the budget when she hired a lobbyist as mayor of Wasila to get as many goodies from the federal government as possible.  She sat in the laps of big oil (she also conducted secret meetings with them) and took the money anyway for the bridge to nowhere when she was against it after she was for it.  To say that the media is sexist and can not confront her on this stuff is ridiculous.  This campaign is one big job interview and if I were interviewing someone that knee-jerk yelled sexism and refused to answer my questions – she wouldn’t get the job.

What bothers me most about all this is that I bet Governor Palin has been victimized by REAL sexism.  Most women have.  As a woman working in a predominantly male field, I have had to listen to the commentary and “jokes”.  I have been passed over for jobs and promotions in favor of lesser-qualified males throughout my career.  My ability to provide for myself and my family has been impacted by the subtle and not so subtle sexism that all us women face all the time.  I find it insulting to me and all women victimized by sexism that the party on the right is crying foul over perfectly appropriate questions.

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