Thursday, 9 October 2008

N.O.W takes unusual step of endorsing a ticket in the US elections

I received an interesting email from a friend today, about the National Organisation of Women (N.O.W) officially endorsing two men for the US elections:
FYI, the National Organization for Women has endorsed the Obamba-Biden ticket for just the reasons listed below. They usually do not endorse, but in this case believed it was absolutely necessary to take a stand. if you agree, please pass this on.

Subject: Women and Sarah Palin

We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate that has a real possibility of becoming fact.

Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech, gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears. To say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-(and possibly first)-most-powerful person on the planet.

We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and altogether devastating choice for Vice President. Ms. Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and from which we've so demonstrably benefited.

First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly.

If you agree that Palin is an irresponsible, even dangerous, choice for VP, please consider participating in this drive. Gentlemen, send this to the women you know and care for. I know it's tough to understand the way this choice is impacting women, but I have never seen so many women so outraged, angry and distraught in my entire life. We'd like our voices heard. If you agree, PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY! If you send this to 20 women in the next hour,you could be blessed with a country that takes your concerns seriously.Stranger things have happened.
We've posted a little bit about The Palin Question here before, but I really don't think it can be put much better than Kim Gandy in her media statement announcing N.O.W's decision to endorse Obama-Biden.

N.O.W's announcement seems to me to be less about saying Palin's sex doesn't automatically mean she is pro-woman, or feminist, and more about recognising that Obama and Biden both have a stronger record on supporting women's issues than Palin or McCain. No doubt they're going to get a fair bit of flack for their stance, and for making it official. Hopefully N.O.W's unusual move will mean that any P.A.N.T.H.E.R.S that might be out there (if they aren't just a myth) have another think before November 4th comes around.


Anna said...

Interesting ... as I understand it, NOW aren't a particularly radical organisation, so this is quite a bold move.

Hopefully it'll put an end to the idea that feminists believe in putting women forward for everything at any cost.

Sarah Palin's views literally would not be out of place in the Taliban, except that they don't have a problem with polar bears than I know of.

Deborah said...

Here's a great piece about why Sarah Palin is not a feminist.

It's by Linda Martin-Alcoff (yes, that Linda Martin-Alcoff), and Sarah K. Miraglia, who I think must be one of her students.

Lucyna Maria said...

You ladies might like to have a read of Camille Paglia on Sarah Palin. Camille is not voting for her, but thinks that:

Even if she disappears from the scene forever after a McCain defeat, Palin will still have made an enormous and lasting contribution to feminism. As I said in my last column, Palin has made the biggest step forward in reshaping the persona of female authority since Madonna danced her dominatrix way through the shattered puritan barricades of the feminist establishment. In 1990, in a highly controversial New York Times op-ed that attacked old-guard feminist ideology, I declared that "Madonna is the future of feminism"—a prophecy that was ridiculed at the time but that turned out to be quite true. Madonna put pro-sex feminism on the international map.

But it is now 18 years later—the span of an entire generation. The instabilities and diminishments for young women raised in an increasingly shallow media environment have become all too obvious. I had grown up in a vibrant pop culture with glorious women stars of voluptuous sensuality—above all Elizabeth Taylor, sewn into that silky white slip as the vixen Manhattan call girl of "Butterfield 8." In college, I feasted on foreign films starring sexual sophisticates like Jeanne Moreau, Anouk Aimée and Catherine Deneuve. Sex today, however, has become brittle and superficial. Except for the occasional diverting flash of Lindsay Lohan’s borrowed bosom, I see nothing whatever that is worth a second glance. Pro-sex feminism has worked itself out and, like all movements, has degenerated into clichés. And even Madonna, with her skeletal megalomania, looks like a refugee from a horror movie.

The next phase of feminism must circle back and reappropriate the ancient persona of the mother—without losing career ambition or power of assertion. Betty Friedan, who had first attacked the cult of postwar domesticity, had long warned second-wave feminists such as Gloria Steinem about the damaging exclusion of homemakers from their value system. The animus of liberal feminists toward religion must also end (I am speaking as an atheist). Feminism must reexamine all of its assumptions, including its death grip on abortion, if it wishes to survive.

Danielle said...

All Camille Paglia columns contain three things:

1. Mention of Madonna.
2. Characterisation of herself as a brave attacker of feminist orthodoxy.
3. The I Told You So: 'You all ridiculed me back in the day but I was *totally* right.'

Optional extras in each piece include 'peeps back in the day when I was young were so much hotter and knew how to have better sex'; glancing references to Ancient Rome and/or modern Italy; a moment where you, as a reader, want to fly to the USA and stab her in the eye with a fork. :)

Deborah said...

You ladies

I'm not a lady. I don't aspire to being a lady.

There's one hell of a takedown of the Paglia piece here.

ms poinsettia said...

Danielle - that's a spot-on assessment of Paglia. I actually attempted to read a collection of her writing once and found exactly what you described. I gave up a couple of pieces in, once I realised she was perpetually tapdancing on the same spot.

"Feminism must reexamine all of its assumptions, including its death grip on abortion, if it wishes to survive"

So Paglia envisions feminism as a endlessly mutable ideology that must change in order for the label 'feminism' to survive, rather than an ideology that works towards ensuring women's cultural, economic, political and social equality? The principles are more valuable than the label.

Which is precisely the problem with presenting Palin as a feminist. While her personal life may embody some of the gains women have made thanks to feminism, her political life seems to be based on ensuring women are not politically, culturally and socially equal, such as charging rape victims for rape kits, opposing the Lily Ledbetter law regarding equal pay etc.

Anna said...

That Camille Paglia piece deliberately confuses the issues of sex as a fun activity and women's control over their reproductive lives. These issues are related, but they're not the same thing.

Being open about matters of sexuality in the style of Madonna might be liberating for some women, but it's a pretty empty achievement for others. I suspect my mother would have liked access to better contraception (she had two accidental children!) but I couldn't see her dancing about in a pointy bra.

Paglia is using the limitations of Madonna-style 'feminism' to attack women's right to bodily autonomy. Sneaky. And I don't like the way she counterposes the idea of sexy against the idea of motherhood either.

Hugh said...

Apparently the 'charging women for rape kits' thing isn't true. Just sayin'.

Deborah said...

No, that's not correct, Hugh. Try this post at Shakesville, and the piece it links to on the Huffington Post.

Hugh said...

I'll see your Huffington Post and Shakesville and raise you a

Brett Dale said...

Palin, is the most dangerous person in politics, its scary that that she could be one step away from having her finger on the button.

It was a very smart move but very cynical move by McCain to choose her, they republicans can sell her to their base like they did Reagan but this Politician will turn back the rights of woman.

Her views border on being like Jerry Falwell or Fred Phelps.

Steve Crow is more of a feminist than her.

Anna said...

I largely agree Brett - I think one of the rationales for her selection is that as a woman, she can get away with saying more anti-woman things than a man in that position could. Her selection was certainly cynical, but it remains to be seen how smart it was - she seems to be alienating people all over the place!

Hugh said...

You see, this is why I just can't work up the ardour to condemn the Nats for only having 25% (or whatever) of their caucus as women. Even if this issue were to energise the country, it could be totally negated by merely finding 25 anti-feminist women - not exactly a difficult task.