Claims that Palin has killed feminism over-exaggerated
Published: Monday, February 8, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 11:02
The name Sarah Palin is synonymous with many things: shotguns, Russia, teen pregnancy, and now feminism. Palin and her contributions to the alleged death of feminism have been hot button topics ever since we found out she could see Russia from her backyard.
As a liberal and a feminist, my first instinct is to agree that Palin set women back a century with her antics. It's obvious that she's not a feminist and probably never will be, but I don't think I could agree that she "killed" feminism. Some can argue that she represents many of the things that feminists fought for.
Betty Friedan once said, "A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, ‘Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children." The basis of feminism is the idea of women being able to make their own choices and having their own voices.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wanted women to have the basic rights that were supposed to be guaranteed to American citizens. Friedan and her peers wanted women to see that there was life outside of popping out babies and scrubbing floors. Feminism, to me, is about women having the right to choose what they want to do with their lives.
Although most of Palin's views differ from my own and I don't believe she is the sharpest knife in the drawer, I'm willing to admit that Palin, along with Hillary Clinton, did something that was once thought to be impossible for a woman to do.
She had a fifty percent chance of holding the second highest office in the nation. If McCain was elected and he happened to die in office, she would have been the President of the United States. There are even murmurs that she could run for president in 2012. If someone had told me that it was possible for a woman to do any of this a few years ago, I wouldn't have believed it. She made history.
I also find the "Palin killed feminism" idea problematic because that very phrase implies that feminism is dead. Although feminism is not as publicized as it used to be, it is far from dead, even if there are people trying to kill the movement. Though women have made many advances since winning suffrage, there is still work to be done.
Women are still getting paid less than their male colleagues, especially minority women. Women are still largely objectified in the media and being fed impossible body standards. There are women in other countries being oppressed because of the same archaic ideals that helped inspire the creation of feminism.
Not to mention that there are so many different types of feminists on the frontlines of other movements like environmentalism and human rights. Feminism isn't dead. It is just evolving. Most movements undergo transformation as time progresses. A movement does not die until there is nothing to fight for anymore.
Even though a black man is the President of the United States and I've never been forced to the back of one of the Panther shuttles, I know that black people and other minorities are still being oppressed and the work started by the civil rights movement isn't done. The same can be said of feminism. There are still women in this world that are being oppressed because of their gender. There is still work to be done.