2008 Previewing Tonight’s VP Debate: Part 1
posted by October 2 at 13:51 PMon
As Megan noted in her post previewing the liveslogging of tonight’s debate , I’m concerned about sexist attacks on Palin because I think that once you start making sexist (or racist, or ageist) attacks, you lose your moral authority to make legitimate ones. I defend Palin not because I agree with her politics or policies, but because gender-based attacks are always illegitimate—not just when they’re made against women I like.
What constitutes a misogynistic attack? Here are a few examples, many of them from Supposedly Progressive Doodz like Bill Maher.
Calling a candidate for office a “bimbo.”
Implying that she’d be a bad VP because she “failed to become Miss Alaska.”
Referring to the 44-year-old Alaska governor as a “girl.”
Joking that McCain has chosen a “trollop” as his running mate. (I know there’s a double-reverse-backflip irony intended here, but it doesn’t work).
Implying that the her hairstyle has anything to do with how smart she is.
Saying things like “McCain doesn’t pick his women for their brains”—then calling Palin an “airhead.”
Saying that Palin (double sexism alert!) may not “win over the die-hard armpit-hair feminists” who supported Hillary Clinton, but that average Joes like her because she “embraces femininity with open legs,” whatever that means.
I could go on. But I won’t —the point is that sexist attacks don’t constitute arguments. And you can’t get mad at sexism when it’s aimed at Democrats and embrace it when it’s aimed at Republicans. Feminism doesn’t work that way.