Though I fully realize that — Bill Whittle’s hopeful “cheering her from the rafters” comment notwithstanding — there are plenty of anti-war, or anti-“conservative”-economic-policy, or otherwise differently ideologically disposed feminists who will not be jumping enthusiastically on the Sarah Palin bandwagon, Phyllis Chesler’s point about the dilemma a few feminists face strikes a definite chord with me:
Do we vote to keep abortion legal and to stop the anti-Choice conservatives from taking over the Supreme Court–or do we vote to make sure that the American military is allowed to stop the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in their tracks? Can we really achieve both goals by voting for one candidate? If not, then what is the more pressing priority? For ourselves, for our country, for the world at this moment in history?
If American women retain the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term–in my view, a prerequisite to female human freedom, what does this mean if the jihadists bomb the country back to the seventh century? If the jihadists triumph, American women will be forced to convert to Islam, to wear veils or burqas (body bags), and risk being stoned to death, hung, or honor murdered if they want to choose their own husbands, attend college, dress like modern American girls do, or convert to another non-Islamic religion.
Mind you: Senator Obama’s eloquence is thrilling and the good old laundry list, beginning with abortion, matters a great deal to me. But jihad is here and here to stay and I would need to be persuaded that Obama and Biden really understand that. Also, since anti-Semitism, disguised as anti-Zionism has arisen today on the Left, not the Right, as has the academic feminist betrayal of a universal vision of human rights for everyone, everywhere, including Muslim women and dissidents, I would need to be assured that voting for abortion does not mean that I end up voting against Israel, against the Jews–and against Muslims who are under Islamic seige.
Camille Paglia has plenty of disagreements of her own with Palin’s positions, but is nonetheless cheering her nomination. As something of an apostate myself in relation to contemporary mainstream feminism, with its strong ties to progressive-left ideas about justice, equality, and economics, I for one find it refreshing and heartening to hear from someone who thoughtfully breaks with the regnant orthodoxy, and is inclined to think about individual issues independently of whether her conclusions fit with a particular party’s monolithic, take-it-or-leave-it platform.
On a related note, Neo-neocon made some interesting observations about the anger Sarah Palin’s nomination has provoked in some conventional feminists:
It’s synergistic; something about Palin’s combination of brains, charm, beauty, conservative viewpoints, and proletarian pastimes has brought out an almost unprecedented verbal viciousness in women who by all rights should be proud of her achievements as the second female Vice-Presidential nominee in history. Is this not a goal for which the woman’s movement has labored for so long? Apparently not—if she’s a conservative, and a charming and beautiful one at that.
This seems to be experienced by some as an almost unbearable dilemma, leading a few of Palin’s critics to deny Palin’s very identity as a woman even as they proclaim and deride it. This makes a certain twisted sense: if a feminist defines herself as being for women, and if Palin is a woman with unacceptable views who nevertheless is on the verge of achieving power, then it solves a knotty problem to declare her to be an unwoman.
Thus we get Wilson’s bizarre opening salvo,”Sarah Palin may be a lady, but she ain’t no woman.” Wilson and her sisters get to define the parameters of womanhood, you see, and to ban those who don’t meet their PC criteria.