Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Women and Sarah Palin

Hey, Stay-at-Home Moms,

You don’t have to hate women who make choices different from yours. Even before Bristol Palin and her K-Fed came to light, there were an incredible number of woman-generated blog comments to the effect of, “Well, she’s decided to ruin her children, whereas I love my children too much to do that to them.”

She didn’t decide to ruin her children. You have no idea what type of arrangement she and her husband have for child-rearing. At the time she became governor, all her children were school-aged and she wasn’t pregnant yet with the most recent. As for any negligence associated with having a baby as governor, I think the words of Lt. Frank Drebin might apply: “Accident? Having a kid at 60: that’s an accident!” While she’s not quite 60, she’s over 40, and from where I stand (barely 30), that’s the same thing.

Personally, I think many stay-at-home moms have an inferiority complex and they feel the need to lash out at anyone who realizes outside-the-home success. This makes as much sense as weekend golfers hating Tiger Woods. Just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you have to explain why you aren’t also doing it. Maybe Sarah Palin really can “do it all.” Why do you feel the need to speculate on her failures? No one is looking at her and then saying to you, “And you couldn’t even manage to clean the living room!”

Now you feel justified in your hatred by Bristol Palin. “See! She was spending time being governor instead of keeping her daughter from getting knocked up!” As if one anecdote makes insurmountable evidence. Plenty of knocked up teenagers have working moms, and plenty have stay-at-home moms. Feeling morally superior to another woman because of decisions her child made seems stupid. Wait until your five- and six-year-olds are teenagers and see if you want to be judged based on their decisions.

Aside from all the questions this selection raises about McCain (and maybe I’ll look into those soon if work stays boring), the near-hatred from stay-at-home moms has been very surprising to me. I figure I can quote anonymous comments on a friend’s blog.

“I am less than impressed with the choice of Sarah Palin and her mothering....If they wanted a woman (which I think they really did) Olympia Snowe would have been far more respectable choice.” [How misogynistic is this, thinking women are exchangeable just because they both lack penises, completely discounting Snowe’s liberal political record and Palin’s conservative political record?]

“...I do not think that she has her priorities in order (families first).... Since Bristol already takes care of her three younger siblings, I wonder who will help her with her own baby,... her parents seem too busy for that.... I am not condemning Sarah Palin for her daughter’s mistake, but I still think that she doesn’t have enough time for her children.” [Says you, Chairwoman of the International Bureau for Adequate Family Time, Political Families Division?]

“Not to judge anybody, but does Palin's baby know that Palin is his/her mommy?” [The baby’s a boy, so he doesn’t have a “his/her mommy,” and he’s four months old, so like most four-month-olds his understanding of relationships doesn’t conform to yours. If we’re just asking unanswerable questions, does Palin’s husband’s gay lover profit from the heroin trade?]

“ are actually raising your children and she delegates that responsibility to someone else while she goes to work.” [Actually, I’d imagine being governor allows for a lot more family time than a typical job. You’ve assumed someone else is the children’s primary care provider. Perhaps it’s Palin, perhaps it’s her husband; you don’t know.]

“I guess if I went out to work too, I'd have A LOT more energy. But, my daughter would pay the price. So, I'll stick with being tired, mothering my daughter and have no regrets :) [emoticon in original].” [Again, where has it been shown that Palin’s choice was between being governor and mothering her daughter?]

I’m awestruck with the amount of sexism in these comments. If Palin is to be condemned for having a public life aside from her family, why do McCain, Obama, and Biden all get passes? People look at Obama and say, “Having kids in the White House would be neat!” but they look at Palin and say, “Having kids in the Naval Observatory would be shameful!” Until Dick Cheney, the vice-presidency was an historically undemanding position. I’d suspect a First Lady Michelle Obama would have more to do than a Vice-President Sarah Palin. But Michelle Obama’s okay with these ladies since her position is an offshoot of her husband’s, while Sarah Palin has the audacity to have outside interests and (gasp!) pursue them with success.

Ladies, come off it. Stop assuming you know what Sarah Palin’s family is like. She’s been married to one man for 20 years, has five kids, and other than that, you know nothing. Unless her family is complaining about her behavior, or her actions constitute legally-recognized negligence (not just “oh, how negligent to allow a three-year-old to watch TV!” negligence), kindly shut up.


Erik said...

I had to come out of happy google reader land and post an Atta Boy for this post.

Cristin said...

Amen to this entire post. I like Sarah Palin, and sadly I am in the minority among Mormon stay at home moms, oh well, I don't really care.

Cristin said...

One more thing about Snowe and Palin. People only vote personalities, they sadly do not look at their records or politics. That is why a Romney supporter is suddenly an Obama supporter... it makes NO sense. People are stupid.

Kathleen Goodrich said...

My favorite oxymoron statement of the campaign so far, goes something like this: "We know nothing about her; she's not qualified."

Shannon said...

I agree with you completely! I am a stay-at-home mom, but do not judge her for having a career while trying to raise her kids, as I've heard many women make comments about her winning the election and turning into a bad mother.

She has a lot of the qualities we all want in a leader.