The role of gender, first bandied about this year with the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, is back in full swing with Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. As usual, Susan Estrich was out of the gate with a column about it before I could post my wit and wisdom. So after you get done with my more humorous words, go read a lib say essentially the same thing.
First of all, let's state the obvious: Men and women are different. Every other -ism (racism the other one being bandied about in this election) is irrelevant by comparison. So naturally, we have different expectations and conversations when a woman appears on the national scene to fill a role traditionally held by men. Jokes about Hillary's pantsuits abound, and even Hillary has embraced that. Crying from the pressure of the campaign, which would be the instant end of a man's career, garnered a certain amount of sympathy from women who understood and men who wrote it off as "womanhood" rearing its head. And now we have Sarah Palin, whose resume enhancement of beauty queen calls for many a joke. For example, the day after her speech, as they were rebuilding the GOP stage into a catwalk for the McCain speech, I imagined her on the catwalk instead. And she wasn't wearing the conservative outfit she wore for her speech. Boioioioioioioing!
Now, here's the question: Is this sexist, or just how differently we all perceive women?
(I have to answer perception here, or I'll look like a total dick.)
The fact is, no matter what the feminazis say, no matter what the current pc ideas are about equality between the sexes, we still have different perceptions and expectations of our public figures, depending on their genetalia. For example, when a man fires off an angry opinion, he's just beeing foreceful, or he's just pissed (in either the American or British meaning of the word). A woman who does the same thing is usually called a bitch.
Which brings us to the Susan Estrich article and my fellow blooger, Beth, who was less impressed with Sarah Palin after the pregnant teen story broke, though she did reconsider. Susan's column began thus:
Should a mother with five children, one of them a pregnant teen and another an infant with special needs, be running for vice president?Now, is expecting the VP candidate to drop out because she is a woman with family issues a sexist attitude?
The question is being much debated, in newspaper stories and columns, on blogs and Web sites, and, yes, around kitchen tables across the country.
No would be asking these questions if she were a man.
Let's look at the other side of the ticket, Senator Joe Biden. He lost his wife and daughter and had his two sons seriously injured after he was first elected, but before he took office. He was not persuaded to quit. He became a commuter into Washington so that he could raise his sons. But no one questioned this arrangement because he was a man. And what's more, he did this as a single father for a few years.
It's the Democrats falling for the stereotype, partially because it's to their political advantage, but also because we happen to be wired this way.
Being a single father myself, I know and expect the question, "Are you babysitting the kids today?", to which I respond "No." Mothers don't babysit kids, why would fathers? Oh yeah, because we expect the women to take care of the kids and house while the man earns a living. So since Sarah is a woman, she's expected to take care of her family first while her husband gets conveniently forgotten. Had he been the governor of Alaska and been added to the McCain ticket, the question would have never been asked, because his wife would have handled the kids.
In the end, we all have family lives. And unless our politicians are doing something that is either illegal, publicly immoral and dishonest, or patently hypocritical, then I'm willing to say that they're going to do their best for their families and what they believe is best for their country. And that means laying off the ladies when it wouldn't otherwise be asked of the men. Otherwise you may be acting sexist.