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.