Why Sarah Palin Is A Better Feminist Than Nancy Pelosi
On the Daily Beast today, Amy Siskind decries Nancy Pelosi as a "feminist nightmare." Why so serious? Because "the House Speaker pushed the Stupak amendment through—then moved to block the woman bidding for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat."
That first point makes sense—feminist women were thrown under the bus in order to pass the health care bill, and they're right to be pissed about it. But what's this business about forcing us to vote for lady politicians? "A major element in our battle for equality is getting women into positions of power," Siskind explains. "The hope is that these leaders, once in place, would promote women’s issues and encourage the next generation of women leaders. Speaker Pelosi reveals a flaw in feminist thinking: There are exceptions. A powerful woman can in fact be an enemy to women."
Speaker Pelosi has taught Siskind a very important lesson: Supporting female politicians is not the same as supporting women. If only Siskind had figured that out sooner, before she wrote a big 'ol article entitled "Should Women Back Palin in 2012?"
The obvious answer to that piece's titular question, of course, is "fuck no." Sarah Palin is, officially, the worst. But Siskind defies feminist conventional wisdom by throwing out this compelling argument: "Here's the difference: Sarah Palin played women's basketball."
Barring the possibility Siskind believes that sinking sweet jump shots is now a requirement for President of the United States (at this point, I wouldn't put anything past her)—I'm going to guess that Siskind supports Palin for President because she is a lady. Siskind is willing to support a woman who definitely opposes abortion rights, is totally a firm believer in teen abstinence, and is most certainly opposed to sensible rape policy—but is a lady. Why, again? Oh yeah: Because "the hope is that these leaders, once in place, would promote women’s issues and encourage the next generation of women leaders."
That is a really dumb thing to hope, Amy Siskind. And that false hope becomes—forgive me for borrowing the terminology here—a nightmare when you learn of the wide variety of women Siskind is willing to support as her leader, just because they are women:
We should embrace what the current Newsmax cover describes as The Newer Feminism, which has a home for leaders regardless of political affiliation: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Suzy Welch, and Kathy Ireland, among others.
So, in the next presidential election, I'm going to vote for Sarah Palin and hope she suddenly starts caring about women's issues. I'm going to vote for Kathy Ireland and hope she suddenly turns into someone qualified to lead the nation in more than just underwear sales. And I'm going to vote for Hillary Clinton and hope she turns into a hippopotamus.
I kid. But just in case you weren't convinced that Siskind doesn't base her faith in female politicians on blind hope, consider this argument: "I know I'll hear from critics who claim that Palin would not share my policy views," Siskind writes. "But what makes them so sure?"
We aren't stuck with Stupak because we have lifted an anti-woman woman to the Speaker of the House. We're stuck with Stupak because we have elected plenty of representatives—male and female—who are really, actually anti-women in their policies. I'll take a pro-woman man over Siskind's theory of spontaneous feminist conversion any day. Besides, women are not the only group who need more representation in the U.S. government. It's worth noting that Siskind converted from a lifelong Democrat to a McCain supporter because he chose a woman as his running-mate. On the one hand, that says a lot about Siskind's eagerness to support women in government. On the other hand, I guess that means she doesn't think it's important for African-Americans to gain representation.
The most troubling thing about Siskind's aggressive campaign to put more women in office—even if their policy positions directly oppose women—is its one caveat. Why support Palin and not Pelosi? To Siskind, we must always support female politicians, no matter what—unless that female politician does not aggressively campaign to put more women in office. Keep in mind—we don't even know if Sarah Palin would support more women in government—that's just another of Siskind's "hopes." If representation is going to be our one-and-only issue, we should all be supporting Amy Siskind for president. And that's a very scary thought indeed.