Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton: Men are the Bystanders Now

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Cripes! Suzette

Barack Obama was right when he said that we are the ones we've been waiting for, but it we turns out that "we" are the women. And as fast as that, the men are bystanders in the national drama and it's all about the women.

What is is about Sarah Palin that has people so agitated? I don't mean the laundry list of of the details of her God-fearing, gun-toting, social conservatism that we've all been discovering over the weekend - I mean the absolutely visceral reaction to her very presence.

It's because she doesn't seek permission and she doesn't apologize.

These are the traits that you are used to seeing in defeminized women - those who are past the reproductive years, like Golda Mier and Margaret Thatcher and those who fall into the virile female category such as Janet Reno. That bumper sticker that says "I'm Out of Estrogen And I've Got A Gun" is no joke. It's also reason that women were declared witches, hunted and executed in the most vile and extreme manner possible to imagine - the fear of that power necessitated a response equal in intensity. But to recognize the audacity of a woman's non-dependence combined with the power of a fertility requires a different mindset altogether. And America - you're not doing very well with that.

In between the outrageous rumor-mongering on the left side of the net this weekend, one commenter laid it bare and stated that he could not wrap his mind around the thought of a lactating vice president. Imagine that fear: confronting the idea of a fertile, life-producing, life-sustaining woman. We already have the power of life - it may be too much to contemplate the potential risk of relinquishing other types of power. Who knows to what uncomfortable place that might take us all. And how are we supposed to act once we get there?

It's not the men who are solely responsible for this attitude. Some of us cannot bear the anxiety of reinventing ourselves in our own image but fight to keep our comfortable and traditional place in the world - at the grace of others. Those mouthpieces who shout loudest about racism have the most to gain by perpetuating it; likewise those who express such grave concern about Palin's mothering choices and the impact her decision to seek office will have on her family have a self-preserving interest in keeping things just as they are.

The womanization - different from the feminization - of the political conversation is an awesome thing and apparently a thing to be feared for so many. Compare Palin's presence with that of Hillary Clinton. Hillary, who did what she could with what she had, rode the coattails of her husband along her own career path. I have no doubt whatsoever that she was the mastermind of his career and the success that he had was due in large part to her efforts, both private and public. But her approach to her own public career is based on being allowed to have it. She got the pity vote in NY state for her traditional reaction to the humiliation at the hands of that husband, and as I write this, she is smarting from the refusal of permission by her party to attain her lifelong goal.

This is a turning point indeed. While others were intent on staring at the their own individual impenetrable ceilings, something happened. We turned around and a woman is standing not on the threshold but is already halfway in the door and she got there without seeking permission from the doorman. So many voices raised now, not in recognition of the primal nature that got her to that point, but to remind her in the most dismissive and condescending terms that the world would really be better off if she would just politely get back to her place because no one gave her permission to be where or who she is now.

It's a message to us all, born of fear and spoken on behalf of safety for the greater pack. I will not listen.

WANT More Suzette?
Try these recent offerings from Cripes! Suzette:

* A Brief Break From Political Blogging Before Sarah-cuda Churns Up The Waters Tonight
* "How Does My Ass Taste Now, Barry?"
* Just Kidding! I Would Never Do That.
* Me and Mrs. Palin

by Suzette
Source: Roar
Image: flickr

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