Faux feminists and the Palin obsession
Say what you will, but Robin Morgan is a funny lady, and is so even when I’m disagreeing, I’m laughing. Her latest target is the minority of self-described feminists who are either wildly racist or just have lost their minds known as PUMAs, though Morgan redubs them as Spalinists, probably because they’re spazzing. (Or because it sounds like “Stalinist”, as a commenter notes. Which does make a lot more sense, since I don’t think Robin Morgan is of the generation that tends to say that someone is spazzing.) As I’ve written before—and believe me, I was sad to write a post that’s the equivalent of writing, “Grass is green. Ducks can swim. Birds can fly.”—the only ticket that’s a feminist ticket is Obama/Biden. One ticket supports equal pay, reproductive rights, economic policies to help people trying to scrape by (who are more likely to be women), and taking measures to reduce violence against women. One ticket is indifferent to openly hostile to feminist goals, even the supposedly uncontroversial goal of reducing battering and rape. But a handful of so-called feminists see that Sarah Palin has managed to hold a job while raising children and think that makes her the new goddess of feminism, because they see themselves in her. Which I find interesting, because it’s hard for me to believe that someone who supports McCain/Palin and calls that “feminist” has the baseline intelligence to hold a job, or even remember how to get to your job every day. But even Elaine Lafferty, who was intelligent enough to run a magazine, has bought into the Palin hype, writing a pro-Palin essay that all but praised her as a genius because her subjects and verbs generally agree even when she’s off the teleprompter.
Morgan eviscerates these women.
You might have noticed a recent media burp—gassy, though blissfully short—about a handful of faux “feminists” backing the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket. I won’t name these women out of concern that feeding their misplaced sense of self-importance may risk them bursting into shriveled balloon ribbons of overextended ego. If you’re addicted to surreal humor you can find such SP supporters (I call them Spalinists) via Google—if you lack an excuse to put off, say, cleaning the garbage pail, and if you can manage it without bladder-challenging fits of hilarity at the cognitive dissonance invoked by juxtaposing words like “feminism” and “Palin.”
But if any actual feminists are concerned about the effect on Women’s Movement institutions and energy of this clutch of “formers” (a former chapter official of a national feminist organization, a former editor of a feminist publication, former Democratic funders, former Hillary supporters, and so forth), let me reassure you.
I like the diagnosing of the problem as a matter of egocentricity, which answers a lot of questions I’ve had when I see “feminists” defending Sarah Palin. You just have to sell your soul for an opportunity to irritate feminists and get attention. Needless to say, Gloria Feldt’s blog (where this is posted) got swarmed by the moron patrol. Examples:
As a 57 year old woman who experienced sexism first hand in the workplace and at home, I can’t help but wonder what your definition of “feminist” is today. Reading your post, it sounds to me as if you define a feminist as someone who agrees with you on every issue relating to women. It seems that you now define feminism by the issues rather than the right to choose what you believe about those issues.
Thus, if you believe that bitches ain’t shit, that actually makes you a feminist, because you chose to believe that. We all knew that “choice feminism” would reach this point, I suppose. It’s just a matter of time before Palin defends her desire to ban abortion by using choice—it’s feminist to deprive other women of their choices, because she chose to do it, wouldn’t you know?
Hi, I’m 75 and must admit I’ve never read such silly hogwash in all my life. Ms. Morgan you absolutely ooze jealousy, green over the fact that an intelligent beautiful woman has made it this far without being on the “left.” I’ve certainly and am still experiencing sexism, especially at home.
Sexism such as assuming all disagreements between women go back to our all-consuming desire to be prongable? Sexism like telling a woman that her criticisms of Palin couldn’t have anything to do with policy, but have to be because you’re jealous of her looks?
It continues in this vein, and hilariously, some people accuse Morgan of being jealous of Sarah Palin’s earth-shattering beauty and fertility in one sentence, and then denounce cattiness in the next. I suspect most of them haven’t used the word “feminist” in a positive way until they needed it as a way to shield Palin from legitimate criticism, but there’s a couple genuine-seeming Spalinists in there.
Last night, I took the Sarah Palin costume out for one last ride, going downtown dressed as Palin, bouffant, gun belt, a multitude of flag pins and all. I just wanted to have a fun costume, but what I got was an interesting social experiment. People had strong reactions, wanting to come talk to me, get a picture, talk politics even. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to so many strangers in one night. Love her or hate her, there’s something about Sarah Palin that just provokes really strong reactions, to the point where you get a small taste of it just dressing like her. I confess that I don’t fully understand it, but I also confess to being sucked into the national obsession. Palin has managed to turn herself into a Rorschach test—people see what they need to see in her. For liberals, she’s fascinating because she’s the embodiment of every overconfident asshole who is openly hostile to learning and thinking. To anti-choicers, she’s a saint of fertility, a Good Woman to bash all the Bad Women out there with. To right wing wankers, she’s some sort of proof that the world favors them and gives them hot chicks. And apparently she’s also available for fantasies about strong women who somehow have it all by sheer force of will, and a handful of self-described feminists have gotten lost in that fantasy.