If there is one thing I hate, it’s defending the less defensible of my gender from sexism. In the wake of the apparent upcoming tug of war for the hearts and minds of conservative leaning voters that pundits feel certain that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann will wage, the stereotypes fly about in the thick and annoying manner of mosquitos on an Alberta late May evening.
The Huffington Post referenced it as “the battle of the Snooki’s” and I stumbled across a blog whose author believes that both Sarah and Michele are hot enough to settle their differences in bikinis and a mud pit.
A friend posted a reference to their combined, and supposed, brainlessness to her Facebook status that elicited a lot of yuks, but I just cringe and sigh.
Because even though there are easily just as many male politicians with batshit crazy ideas in the GOP, they are seldom the butt of jokes that infer that their gender is to blame.
It’s a given that women in the public spotlight, and especially those that dare to seek political office, can be taken down via their appearance, attacks on their single, married, mother or not choices, and by insinuating that their extra X exerts a difficult for them to control influence over emotions and their ability to think. Men are seldom, if ever, held to such stringent accounts. And so even if Palin and Bachmann are intellectually deficient, and I don’t believe that based on their levels of success, unless the same measures of fitness are applied to male candidates as well, this is not a good plan of attack for those opposed to either woman making a showing in the coming 2012 primary season.
The reason I feel this way is simple. Whatever modus operandi is sanctioned for use against them will be used again and again in the future. It will deter women from entering politics and marginalize or sink those that do.
And Palin and Bachmann are credible threats even if you don’t think much of them, their politics or the religious, conservative and very white-power oriented views they represent. What they are pushing sells and given the dire straits of many Americans – particularly the white working class which feels increasingly left behind and victimized – allowing them, Palin especially, a legitimate access to playing the victim role, is bad strategy.
Underestimating women seeking power roles, in my experience, nearly always bites back hard. Make no mistake that both Palin and Bachmann are in politics for what it brings them and not what they can do for their country, and people like that should be taken seriously.
- Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann – room enough for both? (politico.com)