Sexism is irrelevant?

I just watched the Charlie Gibson interview with Sarah Palin on YouTube, and though there were plenty of things I had an opinion about, one that stuck out in my mind is Palin saying that the question of whether criticism of her trying to raise a family and run for VP is sexist is irrelevant.  The way she framed the issue, talking about being part of the Title IX generation, etc. etc., struck me as saying that sexism is irrelevant, or maybe even non-existent, in this day and age.  Sure, maybe people don’t come right and say “you can’t be the Vice President because you are a woman and a woman with children,” but sexism is extremely pervasive, and I can’t imagine that Palin has never in her life faced sexism.  I’m sure it helps to be on the “right side” of things as far as the way the rich, white, conservative straight men who run the country see it, but I find this interesting.  Is this how she feels personally or only politically?  Does she honestly think she’s never been the victim of sexism?

About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on September 13, 2008, in feminism, law & politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I wonder how she feels about the feminist blogs out there who are conducting Palin sexism watches because they realize that while they do not agree with her politics, sexism exists and hurts all women–Not just “feminist” women, but all women. Maybe we should all stop with all that sexism watch business since she apparently does not think it exists. Sadly, I did not expect much more from her.

  2. Personally, I think she’s making a smart move by not acknowledging sexism to Charlie Gibson. People will say that she’s ”playing the gender card.” Whether or not her politics suck, he treated her so obviously different than any other person I’ve seen him interview. No small talk, no smiling, no personality at all. I don’t know whether or not he interviewed Obama, but I imagine that it would be a bit different. I haven’t seen him grilled on foreign policy like that...ever.

  3. (whoa, text went crazy there)…so I suppose my point is that she can’t win. If she calls it what it is (sexism), she’ll get blamed for playing the “gender card.” If she says nothing, she looks like she’s acting as if it doesn’t exist.

    I think her acknowledgment of the glass ceiling shows that she is well aware of how women are shut out.

    Again, even if you don’t agree with her politics, everyone should be treated similarly…and she clearly wasn’t. Like others before her. I remember reading Shirley Chisholm’s famous speech when she was asked, as an african-american woman, what has been more difficult. She said that people gave her far more trouble over being a woman, than being black.

    She was an african-american woman who ran for president in 1972.

  4. There are a lot of people that feel they have not been a vicitim of sexism. They have so completely embraced the limitations that the world imposes on them that they don’t see them as limitations, but merely reality.

    I don’t know much (and even less from personal experience) about the people of Alaska, but it has always been presented as a place where people can pretty much do what they want as long as they don’t interfere with anyone else.

    Both things that could explain her attitudes.

  5. alesbianandascholar

    kat – Those are good points. I certainly differ with many feminists on the limitations of terms like “harassment,” and part of that is that I’ve found acceptable levels based on actual experience.

  6. alesbianandascholar

    Holly – It is a good question. I imagine she believes in a certain kind of sexism, but “knows it when she sees it” – i.e., when it’s convenient for her.

    Jul – I do think you’re right about interviewers treating Palin differently, and that’s too bad. I don’t think she gives them much to work with, but they do seem to take a different attitude to her than with other candidates. I also do think she’d get the “playing the gender card” comments, and that’s a shame. Women in politics aren’t really allowed to point out sexism, are they? It seems like someone else is required to do it for them, and usually not a feminist, who will just be labelled as crazy. I definitely think that she should be treated like anyone else, and if I suggested otherwise I didn’t intend to. Yeah, I think her points of view are scary and her responses at times ridiculous – but she should be at least given the initial respect that all candidates deserve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: