October 13, 2008
I first declared myself a feminist at the age of 14. In reality, I knew very little about feminism, but the ideal resonated with my strong sentiments about personal freedom. My activist English teacher discovered my interest in feminism and guided me to books by all of the popular feminist authors of the day. It was a lot for a young girl to absorb and understand. My teacher urged me to join the Student Senate, so that I could endorse her class on activism in our high school. At that time, I didn’t understand her motivation; I was just barely in my teens and still quite naive.
Today, my personal definition of feminism is very similar to what I believed in my youth; it simply means that a woman should be able to choose her own life path, work in a profession of her choosing and receive fair and equal compensation. A woman shouldn’t encounter or accept discrimination because of her gender.
So, why are feminists and others (still) alarmed by the popularity and respect so many have for Governor Palin? I find it baffling because I view Governor Palin as an example of my definition of a true feminist: she’s smart, savvy, ambitious, courageous and patriotic. She sought the highest office in her state and won. She is a mother, a Christian, a governor, a reformer and the first Republican woman nominated for the Vice Presidency.
My point is that she chose her own life path; she’s a mother and has a career. I thought that’s what feminism was all about – to be free, without discrimination, to choose our lifestyles, professions and interests. I believe Sarah Palin is one of the best feminist role models we have in public life.
While reading various blogs and message board posts, I am surprised by the comments and slurs by some posters. You don’t have to like her, agree with her or vote for her. You certainly don’t have to accept or even understand my endorsement of Governor Palin on the basis of feminism, politics or qualifications (and, yes, I thought she was very qualified) for the vice presidency. However, a little cool-headed discussion and/or disagreement would be more appropriate in your forums.
Let’s be honest – very few people are swayed by radical, epithet-ridden pointless diatribes. Just reading these puerile posts is depressing: are these messages representative of the collective American political mindset? Aren’t we capable of exchanging thoughts and disagreeing in principle without resorting to schoolyard bullying and name-calling?
If you’re one of the hatemongers, please feel free to disagree with me, but tell me why – what is your position on my message? If you’re not bright enough to come up with some intelligent dialogue, well, I guess the only appropriate response, one that you’ll understand is: sticks and stones may …