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October 10, 2008

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vbp

There are bigger fish to fry in this world right now than the extremely un-democratic notion of "solidarity of thought" and making sure that Sarah Palin's feelings aren't hurt (after all, I see few Obama supporters questioning Sarah Palin's fundemantal "American-ness", a charge which, as a person of color, I find extremely vile). Like everybody in the body politic, she has to account for her views, her positions, and, yes, her politics, and I refuse to allow her gender to validate any of what she stands for.

Hillary understood this. With Palin, it is not only yet to be seen, but it is being argued that we should vote for her solely on that basis alone. I realize that there are lots of conservative women out there. Fine, make it above conservative women. I realize there are alot of pro-life women out there. Terrific, I think men should be barred from any discussion on abortion whether for or against. I realize there are lots of women out there who believe in creationism, and prayer in schools, and packing heat in church, and banning books at public libaries. All fine, but lay it out on the table, and argue for her on those merits. Show me how you agree with them and why her gender should trump all of these issues. But as they say in Texas, don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining!

Feminism is about the right to make choices. You totalitarianize it by saying it is about the advancement of all women in all instances.

xax

VBP,

Politics do matter. However, they are not so important as to allow people to disrespect each other. You disagree with Palin's politics- fine. You think McCain is a neocon- fine. I do not agree because both have given me examples to the contrary.

Your previous arguments indicate that you think political philosophy is indicative of the individual nature. There will always be an element of group thought when it comes to the parties- both the Democrats and Republicans have their platforms. However, just because one person subscribes to the party on paper, does not mean that they will agree 100%. Individuality is very important. I like McCain but I will not put all my faith in him.

Politics is the gloss; there has to be more substance. Politicians will tell you what you want to hear. It's the ulitmate mind game. You can see a car on the side of the road and it looks like a lamborghini. You can assume that it's a wonderful piece of machinery until you realize it's missing an engine.

You have a problem with conservativism, so you demonize it and anyone else associated with it. Although for me, I look at the politics and the individual. Are McCain/Palin conservatives? Yes they are. However, both of them are willing to challenge their party. And in all honesty, I respect Clinton, but I do not think she's capable of going against the will of the party. So on that issue McCain/Palin wins with me, despite their conservative beliefs. For me it's more important to have a politician who is willing to challenge the system than one who will simply "go along to get along". That is one example of their individual nature that is important to me. However, that is a matter of opinion and I'm sure yours will differ.

The crux of the argument is this:

Some people who feel the same way you do, will express their opinions in succint and respectful terms. The problem is that you have those who will take those same feelings and instead of writing what you have, will descend into comments such as "Spit on her." This is the ugliest form of groupthink, where you no longer engage in thoughtful dicussion. Instead ideology seems to take over to the point where people will give such knee jerk responses without contemplating why they feel that way. For me, should anyone give such a response, I would want to know why would you want to do that? What has Palin done to you to invoke such a deeply personal response? And how do you know Palin? Where have you met her? But I'm sure there are absolutely no real life examples.

When someone says they want to spit on someone, when they call that person a bitch or a cunt, when someone calls someone a nigger, spic, kyke, dyke, fag etc it all stems from hatred. (feel free to edit those moderator) They have become so convinced that the way in which they think and believe is correct that reality does not matter anymore. And if anyone thought that such entrenched feelings and bigotry only existed on the conservative side of the aisle- you are sadly mistaken. It does not matter that they have never come across Palin in real life, it doesn't matter that they have never met a black, spanish or jewish person, and it doesn't matter that the same people they dispise have accomplished many good things in this world.

No. The only thing that matters is the solidarity of thought. My thought is right. My belief is right. All others are wrong. In my opinion the same group think has taken over the feminist movement. And when it comes to feminism if women are going to truely progess, we all must learn to respect each other. I think C. Paglia has a piece where she said there should be no ideological litmus test to belong to the feminist movement.

The fact is that there are conservative women. There are women who love guns and there are women who dislike guns. That's a personal issue, but we all have central issues that cross such divides. There are women who believe in family, religion and self determination. Liberal and Conservative women feel the same way. Interestingly enough, Palin has been attacked under these general tenets. People need to start realizing that conservativism does not have a lock on issues of family and religion, just like liberalism does not have a lock on the working woman or reproductive rights.

Feminism does not equal ideology.

Feminism means advancement of women- all women.

vbp

Folks, I don't know how deep your heads have to be in the sand to think that politics "doesn't matter" here. This is a presidential election, in arguably the most difficult period this country has faced in a generation. Of course, politics matters, and until you can establish for me just how the politics of Sarah Palin provides any logical extension to the politics of Hillary Clinton, the you reduce feminism to the level of bratty indulgence, and not a coherent philosophy. There's no value in and of having a "chance to vote for a female vice president" when that chance is an objectively bad choice. None of you have to like Obama, and I'm sure several of your are openly hoping for his defeat to set the state for Hillary in 2012. But be honest with yourselves and anyone else, and stop pretending that Sarah Palin bears any meaningful correlation to Hillary Clinton. This ain't 2000 any more, and Sarah Palin only wishes she was Ralph Nader.

Bob

This piece is very powerful! As a husband and father of two young girls this piece has resonated with me. Ms. Otero has gone to the heart of why women are not at higher places in this country when we know they are beyond qualified. This piece is clearly not about politics it is about sister hood. I hope I live to see the day that my two young daughters will not experience what Ms. Otero unfortunately has.

DARRELL REED

Ladies I'm a man and I firmly believe this election is yours to win or lose,you had a chance for a woman President,and blew it.Now you have a chance at a woman Vice President,and your blowing that one too!Wake up vote country not party.

PUMA PAC DEMOCRAT
PartyUnityMyAss---McCain/Palin

Marissa

This made me tear as I read it. Thank you for your words. I could not agree more that the thing that will make women advance in the world is each other, and we must guide each other, hold each others' hands, and always know that we are on the same team. This is not about politics, and that's why it's powerful. Hillary is a woman, Sarah Palin is a woman. They have different beliefs and characteristics, but they are both true feminists in my eyes. vpb, if she is anti-Hillary, then why does Hillary herself exhibit nothing but respect for her? Please leave politics out of this, that is the entire point... you are only doing what Nairoby is talking about in this piece... tearing other women down.

vbp

I'm really very sorry to have to tell you this, but what's happening in our politics is not an abstraction that can merely be explained away by sloppy discursive appeals to "sisterhood". To feminize "solidarity" on the lines that you and your readers seem to have done is the same line of thinking that compels neoconservative thinkers to the view the world as they do: one of zero-sum games and intentional consequences. The consequences of even another four years of GOP rule on both the domestic and world stage is simply unbearable. If you think our standing in the world can sustain McCain's zealous embrace of neoconservative solipsism, than we get what we deserve. If you think our economic livelihood will survive McCain's erratic and ideologically-driven approach to fiscal issues, then our fate is sealed. If you believe that Sarah Palin is anything more than a passive facilitator of these approaches to governance, then you do feminism an extreme disservice by placing her gender identity over the political agonies of the moment.

There is no post-feminism. It doesn't have a logical conclusion, we are living inside of it. And if you think Sarah Palin proposes anything in the light of the challenges facing us today other than who she is, then, in doing so, you have rendered feminism deaf, dumb, and blind. She is the anti-Hillary, and not worthy of a single intellectually honest Hillary supporters respect. Not one iota.

I am sorry.

yttik

Great post, thank you! Your words are great to hear, they give me hope. Sisterhood is powerful, girls need to learn how to hold hands and stick together.

SWPAnnA

A kind gentleman once reassured me: "It's lonely out in front." The first time I did a 10K race, I found myself far behind the field, inexperienced and seemingly alone, until I arrived at a checkpoint to find volunteers offering water and cheering me onward to the finish line. As we break new ground, invent uniquely feminine techniques to succeed, going where women before us hadn't, we must call upon our spiritual mothers to keep faith with us. During moments of disappointment with our sisters, we must accept, rise up in our leadership and go on ahead to lead those who are ready,awaiting us. Down the road we'll again cross paths to be reassured that their course was different, but the lesson learned is the same.

xax

I'm around the same age as you and the definition of "Power envy" is absolutely correct. Whenever my friends talk about Palin, their thought is that they "feel sorry for Hillary." That's the EXACT PHRASE EVERY TIME. I brought up that fact that I identify somewhat with Palin's background, and was told that I'm nothing like her- as if it was some kind of curse. The woman did not just fall off the back of a truck. She had to work her way through college (and I know how tough that can be) and then work her way up the ladder of local politics in Alaska.

She bounced around college and so did I and it took me six years to get through. I was disillusioned with education and the mindset around it. And now I finally understand why. "Academics" always seem to find a way to belittle you if you are not of like mindset. Case in point, I talk about how Palin does have a degree and they'll say:

"but she bounced from school to school" or "she didn't go to an ivy league". And for some reason the only I can think is "neither did I." So, given that fact, do you now question my intelligence? Am I a dummy like her? Forget the fact that you have known me for years, do you now think I'm stupid?

The problem with the faux progressives and faux feminists is "group think". The thought, the ideology is more important than the reality and results. And yet, they do not know that they are a part of this. The ideology is too righteous to be wrong. I am too righteous to be wrong. And you, those who do not subscribe, are the evil ones.

I hope Palin wins not because I want to be "right" about something, but because I think the woman is capable of doing some really good things.

Every time I examine this election, I keep floating back to 1984. The the phrases that pop into my head are "newspeak" and "doublethink". It's weird.

Susan

As part of the baby boomer generation, I noticed this a long time ago. I started working with all women, but it didn't take long for me to move up in the computer world, moving into positions that were usually occupied by men. I did it by doing the job better than the men, and I did face a lot of discrimination because I was female. After all, men had families to support (I was a single parent of 2 kids, who did they think was supporting us?). I worked and was accepted because I made sure that I was good at the job. Most of the men didn't hold it against me. The women did. So, yes, I understand what you're feeling.

Lizzy in CT

Ms. Nairoby Otero ~

Your very eloquent, thoughtful, insightful article made me full of hope! You are a testament to all of the best that the feminist movement has accomplished and inspired. I am 53 and I, too, have mourned the death of what I thought was sisterhood. To witness the sexism leveled at Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin by women is beyond sad.

But, I have been encouraged by TRUE feminists, like Lynette Long and the strong women who blog on this site, www.thenewagenda.net , and others who have decided to stand our ground and say "enough is enough". And, now, when I read your comments - I am thrilled! For surely, other young women feel as you do. N.O.W. is obsolete - very simply, a wing of the Democrat Party. We are joining in a new sisterhood. A sisterhood that includes, respects, and elevates ALL women.

So, please take heart. There are lots of us - out here. Thank you for standing up. You inspire us and make us all proud!!

Texas Anon

You wrote: “Spit on her”, is the cause of our lack of solidarity.


Internalized self hate and misogyny is the cause of our lack of solidarity. The media peddles misogyny in the form of advertising 24/7. Sexism sells. Too fat? Too ugly? Too old? Not successful enough? Not blonde enough? Teeth not white enough? Etc.


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