Palin Twenty-Never

7 Oct

You’ve heard by now.  Huge shocker–Sarah Palin will not be running for president.  Phew.

Actually, I did breathe a tiny sigh of relief when I read about it.  Not that I ever really believed we would someday see Palin as commander-in-chief, but every once in a while I would engage in the horrifying “what if?” thought exercise.  My second reaction was–and I quote–WTF?  Specifically, that was my reaction to Libby Copeland’s recent Slate article about what “we [meaning women] might owe Palin.”

Excuse me?  I don’t owe her anything.

Copeland’s point is that Palin serves as an excellent example of self-promotion, a skill many women to their detriment lack.  She’s right–women need to be more assertive in all spheres of life.  We need to go ask that guy to dance.  To tell our server that our dish is wrong.  To speak up when we’re leered at on the T.  To clarify that we’re a research assistant, not a personal assistant.  To ask for a raise.  Etc, etc, etc.  We are socialized to be diffident, and do not hear enough  “We Can Do It!”’s to fully break away from that.

But is Palin really our best role model?  According to Copeland, we should laud Palin for that fact that her “unselfconscious brashness is a good thing for women because it is so needed and so exceptional.”  I take major issue with that.  Palin has what to show for her political career?  Anti-feminist policies enacted as governor and a failed vice presidential campaign?  No thanks.  While we do need determination and assertiveness, simple braggadocio and fame-grabbing get us nowhere.  Except maybe on reality TV.

courtesy TLC

Okay, so self-delusion can get you somewhere.  But anywhere closer to true gender equality?   I don’t think so.

Instead, we need to shine the spotlight on women who achieve success because of their substance, not their media savvy.  We need to celebrate those who model an authentically strong womanhood, not simply settle for lipstick on a pig.    Oh, I’m sorry- bulldog.

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