So I googled myself today (yes, I ego-surf) and came across this piece on the Slate blog, The XX Factor, eviscerating a feature in More magazine (a glossy targeting 40+ women) in which three writers, including yours truly, comment on the Sarah Palin phenomenon. Slate ladyblogger Susannah Breslin snarks that the magazine ran the feature “in a blatant, desperate, and misguided bid for page-views and newsstand sales.” Which is pretty … misguided, because the Palin forum is not on the cover of the magazine and, as far as I can tell, not on its website either.
Breslin then comments:
Lisa Schiffren writes: “Knowing that conservative, evangelical Christian women want their daughters to see such a role model [as Palin] tells us that feminism, in its best sense, has won its central battle.” Eh? What? I can’t even figure out what that means.
Now, I’m not a huge Lisa Schiffren fan, but is it really that hard to figure out what she means? (You know, like … even conservative, evangelical Christians now admire women who are strong leaders and achievers in the public sphere?)
And then there’s this:
Finally, we hear from Cathy Young. Young’s bite-sized take on America’s hate-hate relationship with Palin is that liberal women were wanting Hillary in the White House, Palin came along and messed that up, but everything worked out fine in the end because we have a new face of feminism, and that face is attached to Sarah Palin’s head. “If nothing else, she has given feminism a new face, with profound appeal to women of different ages and walks of life.” No regrets for those who got Palin tattoos, then.
I’m not quite sure why Breslin thinks my take on Palin is “bite-sized.” It’s actually the longest of the three pieces. But, beyond that, to say that her summary is a distortion of my article is an understatement. Maybe she never got past the single line she quotes, which is in the first paragraph and which I’m sure she found appalling. She never mentions the part where I say that I found Palin a disappointment because “her candidacy began to look more like the merit-free affirmative action that conservatives have always deplored” and because of “her lack of ideas and her divisiveness.” Or the part where I talk about why I think the Palin phenomenon will have some positive effects on the right (exorcising the prejudice against working mothers) and on feminist discourse (opening up more debate on conservative/libertarian feminist ideas). Or the part where I say that conservative feminism is still probably waiting for its true star.
In any case, see for yourselves.
I am by no means a Sarah Palin fan, but the demonization of Palin to the point where any positive word spoken about anything Palin-related is viewed as an automatic invitation to abuse is pretty ludicrous. The election is over, but the Palin Derangement Syndrome lives.