If Defending Neocons Against Sexism is Right, Do We Want to Be Wrong?
There is some buzz going around the blogosphere this week (and in the Bitch comments section) about sexism and conservative women. What with David Letterman making jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, Playboy listing the conservative women they'd like to "hate f_ck", and former Miss California's anatomy being discussed all over the place, it does seem like conservative women have been the target of more sexism than usual lately. It's no wonder, then, that Amy Siskind called people out on today's Huffington Post blog for selective sexism.
I agree with Siskind that sexism is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances, but should anti-feminists like Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean have their misogynist cake and eat their equal rights too? And can they wash the cake down with the supportive milk of the feminists they're so quick to condemn? (Okay, enough with the weird cake analogies, I promise.)
Now again, I don't condone sexism in any form. It's bullshit that Sarah Palin's 14-year old daughter is being objectified on national television, and that Playboy says they'd like to "hate fuck" Michelle Bachmann because they think she looks like she'd be "a screamer." I guess it's just that situations like these make me question the depths of my own feminist politics, because there is a part of me that just doesn't want to defend the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Prejean, or any of these other neo-con ladies. They certainly wouldn't defend me if the circumstances were reversed, would they? (No, they wouldn't.)
That part of me, the petty part, wants to tell these women to take their victimization and shove it up their anti-feminist a-holes. If they are going to openly speak out against a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, comprehensive sex education, and the other billion civil rights they'd like to abolish, then why should I defend them when someone says they've got a nice rack? That part of me wants to call them up and say, "Guess what lady? Remember how you said you didn't like feminism? Well it doesn't like you either. So I guess you're on your own with the whole 'hate fuck' thing."
Unfortunately, though, sometimes being a feminist means shoving that petty part of you down into the bottom drawer where you keep those letters from your ex and that embarrassing fanzine you made for Richard Marx when you were in middle school.
Since I am a feminist, after all is said and done, I have to try and forget that all of the women who have come under the fire of sexism this past week (except for poor, adolescent Willow Palin) are sexists themselves who have spoken out against feminism and for "traditional family values." Because being a feminist means, to me, rejecting sex and gender-based inequality in all its forms, even when the targets of said inequalities are people whom I'd rather choke down a handful of live bees than spend an afternoon with.
Of course, that doesn't mean that I like these women's politics; it only means that I think they should be criticized for their bullshit opinions and not for their gender. Why target them for being women when we can target them for being idiots instead? And I still don't think that Palin, or Prejean, or Hasselbeck would stand up for me if they thought I was the victim of sexism (they haven't so far, anyway), but that's okay. Maybe someday they'll realize that feminists and feminism were there for them when Playboy magazine and Donald Trump weren't, and they'll change their minds and start writing witty feminist blogs. A girl can dream, anyway.
What do you think? Should we defend these neocons, or let them fend for themselves?
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Eliza A. Kent (not verified)