Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Am I sexist?

I've been asking myself this question since my previous post about Sarah Palin, when I said, regarding young Bristol, "I'm sorry, but if I were her mother, I hope I would not put my daughter through that." I had the rather unnerving experience of hearing a (male) Republican campaigner on the radio saying, "That's sexism, pure and simple!" Well, is it?

I did appreciate what Peggy Noonan wrote today in the Wall Street Journal: "I'll tell you how powerful Mrs. Palin already is: she reignited the culture wars just by showing up. She scrambled the battle lines, too. The crustiest old Republican men are shouting "Sexism!" when she's slammed. Pro-woman Democrats are saying she must be a bad mother to be all ambitious with kids in the house." And I have to say, I appreciate that. I appreciate it that she's made it not so simple to say one way is right and another is wrong.

I dunno. I'm very torn about this. I can certainly see the point, especially when my reaction has to do with how could she make this choice as a mother. I certainly don't think that being a woman or being a mother makes a person unfit for high office. My reaction had more to do with the timing of her choice to pursue this; perhaps there is no good time, but I would think having an infant (with or without Downs Syndrome) and a teenage daughter dealing with a pregnancy would make me think twice about taking a huge promotion that would require me to spend much more time away from my family.

At the same time, it annoyed me during Hillary's campaign that I constantly heard implications that if I voted against her, it was due to sexism. Can it not be due to differences in policy, style, issues, approach? I saw red (not politically) when a female commentator on CNN told me that "women like Obama because women are attracted to new, shiny things." Now, that sounded sexist to me.

I wonder if my own reaction is, in part, classist as much as sexist: that women need to stay at home with and for their kids. Nice work if you can afford it.

Much to think about, but it certainly has gotten me in a moither. No more easy divisions or definitions.

1 comment:

qoe said...

Because of the hollowing out of American politics, the redaction of our history to fit the needs of each new crop of political thieves that comes along, and the decreased literacy and thoughtfulness of a nation, what you see playing out before you is quite literally an innane circus.

Critical thinking is rarely taught anymore, unless as an arcane topic. But if one were to sit down and analyse the type of logic being employed, one would find it to be falacious to the matter at hand, which is simply, does the person have the experience necessary to ride shotgun on running the country?

Mostly argumentum ad hominem is being employed. Should a nation make a decision based on that?

Well, you know the answer to that question is a resounding NO. But, you see, the culture has been drawn in to ad hominem by little and little, starting with Judge Wappner's "People's Court" program--he sought to distinguish for the audience when this type of thing occurred, but then the whole thing spun out of control into all the talk-show programs where people in conflict are allowed to bash each other with invective.

Gotta love it.