Thursday, 9 July 2009

More Sarah Palin - Vanity Fair article

I was meaning to put this up earlier in the week but have been away for a few days for work. Seeing stargazer's thought-provoking post made me think it might be interesting to read in conjunction with that.

Some commentators are suggesting that it was this article by Todd Purdum in the August 2009 Vanity Fair that may have pushed Sarah Palin to resign as Governor of Alaska.

In terms of a feminist analysis of Sarah Palin, two quotes from the piece stood out for me:

In Evansville, though, Palin concentrated on the task at hand: an emphatic defense of the anti-abortion cause. But in doing so she made a startling confession about what she thought when she learned she was pregnant at 43 with her youngest child, Trig, who arrived in April 2008, as the world now knows, with Down syndrome. “I had found out that I was pregnant while out of state first,” Palin told the crowd. “While out of state, there just for a fleeting moment, I thought, Nobody knows me here. Nobody would ever know. I thought, Wow, it is easy to think maybe of trying to change the circumstances and no one would know—no one would ever know. Then when my amniocentesis results came back, showing what they called abnormalities—oh, dear God—I knew, I had instantly an understanding, for that fleeting moment, why someone would believe it could seem possible to change those circumstances, just make it all go away, get some normalcy back in life.” It is almost impossible not to be touched by the rawness of her confession, even if it is precisely this choice that Palin believes no other woman should ever have, not even in the case of rape or incest.

Another aspect of the Palin phenomenon bears examination, even if the mere act of raising it invites intimations of sexism: she is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics, the first indisputably fertile female to dare to dance with the big dogs. This pheromonal reality has been a blessing and a curse. It has captivated people who would never have given someone with Palin’s record a second glance if Palin had looked like Susan Boyle. And it has made others reluctant to give her a second chance because she looks like a beauty queen.
Read the full article here.


Moz said...

The second article... Chelsea Clinton springs to mind. I'm sure there's some reason why she doesn't count, though.

The problem with the beauty queen analysis is that it's hard to disentangle from all the other reasons people have for not taking her seriously. And again, Hilary Clinton complicates those sort of counter-attacks because she's also conventionally attractive (albeit too privileged to try the beauty queen game).

My main feminist issue with her was that she gave every indication of being a less-talented follower in Pauline Hanson's footsteps - chasing the dumb bigot vote can be done, but you have to be smart to get away with it for long (Winston Peters or John Howard rather than Pauline Hanson). She never seemed smart. I think it's telling that her most famous line came from a satirical comedian who tapped into peoples expectations all too well...

Anonymous said...

she is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics

I say Nancy Pelosi.