Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin the Feminist

The article dad had me read is exactly why I love Palin so much. Why, when my sisters called and asked me what I thought I of Sarah Palin I exclaimed, "Vote for her? I want to be her!" I am a feminist. I am excited about the possibility of a woman in the white house, and was excited even as I cringed at the idea of it being Hillary Clinton. I thought it would take much longer than this. My nieces will not remember a time when this glass ceiling did not have a million cracks in it. I am excited by the kind of woman Palin is; the kind of feminist Palin is. She is strong and confident. She does what needs to she needs to do in order to complete the tasks at hand. Like the pioneer women, the women who went to work in the factories during war time, my grandmother who told off doctors as a labor and delivery nurse when they weren't doing right by their patience, or the woman down the hall from me who as a single mother put her self through college and now teaches ninth grade that is so feared by the entire community even the bus drivers respect her name Palin is good at her job. She has children she loves deeply and a husband that is "her guy" and has been since high school. That does not mean that she isn't a feminist. It means the traditional life worked in a lot of ways for her. Why shouldn't it? Why can't she have a family and a career? So many women in this life do now. They have a career and a family, get promotions as they join the PTA, or like my Grammy tell of doctors and then come home and cook dinner. Why are we afraid of this in the white house?

Competent women make up the majority of the people educating American children, manning hospitals as nurses, and as of last year graduating from law school. There is no reason one cannot also run the country. But the double standard comes out so obviously in the press. Bristol is not the only white house kid who didn't live up to the expectations of her parents. But because it is her mother running, it is an issue. There were suggestions that her political success will lead to her failing as a mother to a special needs child. She is a feminist, and she is fighting for the cause with everything she has.

Palin believes in the sanctity of the life of an unborn child. That does not make her anti-woman. It makes her against abortion. There are thousands of ways that women are being kept down every single day. The most blatant of which is the sexual abuse statistics in this country. One in four college women is sexually abused during their college careers, nearly a third of the women returning from Iraq have been raped. My male students think it is okay to refer to a classmate as a ho, or cat call them in the hallway. Almost everyone teen I know uses "girl" or a derogatory word for the vagina as an insult. I am adamantly opposed to all of this and am fighting for things to change. I make feminism a priority in my classroom. And I believe that a fetus is a life and needs to be protected. This does not disqualify me from being a feminist. It just makes me a different kind; a Sarah Palin kind of feminist.