Sexism in Contemporary American Politics: The Sarah Palin Series

Greetings readers! I am a new author to the site and as such I would like to take a few minutes to introduce myself. I am a junior at Gonzaga University and as you probably have noticed from the feminine spelling of my first name I am a woman. Because of the nature of my gender and my politics I am highly sensitive to all forms of sexism. Whether that be bias toward men or women. Before delving to deeply into this topic I would like to provide a clear definition of sexism. The Oxford University Dictionary defines sexism as: the assumption that one sex is superior to the other and the resultant discrimination practiced against members of the supposed inferior sex, esp. by men against women; also conformity with the traditional stereotyping of social roles on the basis of sex. Sexism is a means of justifying social, professional, and sexual limits on individuals because of their gender and this applies to both men and women.

Before the introduction of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket it seemed that questions about race and ethnicity would take front and center in the minds of Americans as they cast their vote this November. The choice by John McCain of Palin to run on his ticket as the Republican pick for VP has done much to reinvigorate the 2008 campaign with questions about sexism in America after the exit of Hilary Clinton on the Democratic side. To many members of the GOP Palin’s personal life has been under fire primarily because she is a woman. Headlines about her unmarried 17-year-old daughter Bristol’s pregnancy have marked the pages of newspapers across the country. Since the articles about Palin’s daughter hit the print Republicans have time and time again said that the pregnancy was a “family issue” and would not even be questioned in the media were Palin a man. Republicans are also quick to blame the Obama camp for stories about Palin’s daughter despite the fact that recently Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for VP, was quoted as saying “children are off limits.”

What the GOP is neglecting to do is take hits on Palin as a result of her policy decisions and ultra conservative social views. Instead of fighting back and emphasizing Palin’s qualifications attacks are being rebutted by the Republican camp with accusations of sexism toward Palin by the liberal media. Ironically enough, during a Newsweek Women & Leadership event in Los Angeles last March Palin said this about Hilary Clinton and accusations of sexism: “I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton…but when I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or you know maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think you know that doesn’t do us any good – women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country.” In no way am I suggesting that Palin is “whining” about sexism in American politics because it certainly exists however, as a serious candidate for VP, Palin should be silencing critics on the left and right with clear answers about why her policies are better for the United States of America.

Palin should be explaining to the American people why she believes that abortion should be out-lawed completely in this country, why the war in Iraq is part of “gods plan,” why in the air hunting of wolves is a positive thing for the environment, why tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans stimulates the economy, why health care should not be socialized to cover all Americans, and finally why she is more qualified than Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden to be in one of the most powerful offices in the world.

I truly hope that the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket succeeds in pushing women in politics forward and not backward in the spirit of Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer. My challenge to Governor Sarah Palin, my fellow woman and American, is to show me what you got girl. Show us all.

One thought on “Sexism in Contemporary American Politics: The Sarah Palin Series

  1. Excellent post! And Welcome. :)

    And it’s entirely possible that McCain choose her because she’s a woman and thus they can accuse any attacks against her policies as sexism instead of actual policy attacks. I wouldn’t put that behind the Republicans.

    Anyone else with her views who is a man (Like Romney) would just be attacked because of their policies and skewered in the press. But Palin can deflect that with charges of picking on her, and be a hypocrite in the process.

    She needs to be like Hillary. Ignore the extra attacks, and refute each one with policy, and not accusing the media of any bias either way.


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