Monday, March 14, 2011

Sarah Palin and the Fears of Feminists

Barbara Kay's National Post column on how Sarah Palin exposes the hypocrisy and sterility of contemporary, second-wave feminism is a great piece of writing.

The feminist revolution began as a necessary reform movement, but unfortunately evolved into a marxism-imbued, revolutionary one. Second-wave feminism’s focus soon shifted from women’s equal rights (which are limited to those defined by law) to women’s interests (which are limitless), as perceived through a victim’s lens.

For decades, the people that instruct our children; mould our lawyers, social workers, psychologists and health professionals; train our judiciary; control (and misinform) the domestic-violence industry; shape the views of journalists; and counsel politicians: All have been marinating from early youth in feminist correctness.
The consequence has been a culture that, if not overtly man-hating, is always man-blaming — in which, to our collective detriment, the rights of boys and men (especially fathers) are scanted for the sins of a few, and their contributions to the family and society trivialized.
She is right on the money in asserting the contemporary feminism is more about Marxism than about equality for women. It is not reformist and constructive, but revolutionary and destructive. It is not idealistic and gripped by a vision of justice; it is nihilistic and motivated by hate and envy. She then describes the impact Sarah Palin had on feminism:

That changed on September 3, 2008, when Sarah Palin accepted her vice-presidential nomination at the Republican convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Her speech electrified the nation.

Before 39-million viewers, Palin was the first public figure to openly and successfully ridicule the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. She also was the first American woman to campaign for high office by paying homage, but no ideological dues, to the Sisterhood. This Alaskan small-town huntin’, fishin’ God-fearin,’ abortion-hatin’ mom of five showed that a woman can break through any glass ceiling she wants without the imprimatur of the feminist politburo.

Feminists watching Palin’s stunning performance knew a stake was being driven through their movement’s heart. They went ballistic. Feminist blogger Jessica Grose wrote on her Jezebel web site: “When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded … What I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay murderous, rage.” Judith Warner wrote in The New York Times that Palin was an “insult to women.” Comedian Sandra Bernhard riffed on YouTube: “Turncoat bitch! You whore in your cheap f***ing … cheap-ass plastic glasses.” Academic Wendy Doniger opined, “Palin’s greatest hypocrisy is her pretense that she is a woman.”

The reason so many ordinary, middle-class women resonate with Palin is because they are angry and resentful that "official feminism" imposes cultural Marxism on them and says you can't be liberated unless you toe the revolutionary line. They reject the revolutionary line and they love their families, their country and God. And they don't think that makes them oppressed or stupid. In fact, they think contemporary feminism is a joke. Hence, for them, watching Sarah Palin make feminist heads explode is a refreshing change.

Kay is especially insightful when she shows that the Palin phenomenon is one of a series of corrections to Utopianism that arise from time to time in American society. This is one of the ways we see the inherent dynamism and strength in America that keeps that country from sliding down the chute of nihilism and despair that currently grips Europe.

No wonder feminists mired in the superannuated shibboleths of revolutionary feminism are shocked. As always happens with utopian revolutions, its pendulum, propelled outward by theories and ideology, can only swing so far from human nature’s permanent verities, and cause so much social damage, before corrective populist movements force it back to the middle.

What the revolutionary new leftists who came of age in the 1960s and 70s are finding it difficult to come to grips with is their justified fear that if the Revolution has not happened yet in America, it may never happen. In fact, it may die with the baby boomer generation. Aging hippies find themselves co-opted by capitalism and the only sign of rebellion they have left is their sexual bohemianism. Take that away and there is no way to fool oneself into believing that the Revolution is not a failure. Maybe they fought the Law (i.e. Reality) and the Law (i.e. Reality) won.

So when a woman with five children and a handsome husband, who espouses traditional beliefs and is a proud Christian, rises to prominence, you can see how she would be a threat to the carefully nurtured illusion that people who sleep around and encourage their children to do so as well are truly the vanguard of the Revolution. She is the incarnation of their deepest fears and insecurities.

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