Just another reason that Sarah Palin is NOT a feminist

13 04 2009

Let’s hark back to the lovely Sunday Stupidity post this week and the ridiculous idea that some people have about Sarah Palin being a feminist.  Now, It’s cool for feminists to have differing opinions (differing opinions can make feminist debates interesting), but Palin is most certainly not simply a feminist with a different opinion.  And here’s another reason why she is definitely NOT a feminist.  We can add this to the list right next to charging rape victims for evidence collection kits, censoring her family members, her anti-choice political stance (even in cases of rape and incest), the abstinence-only sex education bullshit, and so much more.

What is it that Palin has done this time?  Palin seems to be gearing up for her likely presidential run in 2012, and in March she nominated for attorney general…Wayne Anthony Ross, a man sure to even make many Palin supporters cringe.  Though the nomination (although awful) truly is not surprising, it has recently begun to spark a controversy over supposedly racist, homophobic, rape-apologist, anti-environmentalist, and otherwise offensive remarks made by Ross.  As The Daily Beast details, Ross’s opponents have presented evidence that he “called homosexuals “degenerates,” hailed the “courage” of a student who lionized the Ku Klux Klan, vowed to undermine the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and allegedly defended men who rape their wives.”  In light of the allegations, it has been rumored that Palin may ask Ross to withdraw before his appointment is voted upon.

On April 10th, Leah Burton (a lobbyist on domestic violence and children’s issues) wrote a letter to the Alaska State Judiciary Committee claiming that Ross had allegedly made offensive statements about spousal rape at a 1991 gathering of the “father’s rights” group Dads Against Discrimination.  Supposedly, Ross posed the question “If a guy can’t rape his wife, who’s he gonna rape?”  Ross has wholeheartedly denied that he ever made the remark.

Burton’s claims against Ross include the assertion that he stated during a debate on the Equal Rights Amendment “If a woman would keep her mouth shut, there wouldn’t be an issue with domestic violence.”  She also claims that Ross has made offensive statements to a number of domestic violence victims, but these victims are too intimidated to speak out for fear of retribution.

Many of Palin and Ross’ defenders are claiming that Burton is lying, and Ross has said that she is even an anti-Christian “fringe nutcase.”  But as it turns out, Ross’s op-eds from the 1980s and 1990s are turning up to back up her claims.

In 1993, Ross published a piece called “KKK ‘art’ project gets ‘A’ for courage,” in which he praised a college student for the creation of a sculpture of a Klansman with a cross in one hand and a flag in the other.  Ross replied to one African-American student’s outrage about the display by stating that (as quoted in The Daily Beast):

It might have been fun to see [the African-American student] try to remove the display.  Then she could have been arrested and her future as a student of the university could have been resolved through the university disciplinary proceedings.

According to Don Tanner, an Alaskan music professor and activist, in the 1980s, Ross repeatedly attacked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a communist subversive.  In his records, it can also be seen that Ross labeled homosexuals “degenerates,” taunted environmentalists, and proclaimed that his dying wish was to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Native American tribes have also expressed outrage at Ross’ opposition to their subsistence rights.  His records show that he has also claimed that animal rights activists are the “real enemy.”  “Make no mistake about it,” he warned in a 1990 article, “these people are fanatics in their beliefs.  Vowing: ‘no compromise on animal rights,’ animal rights individuals and groups have committed acts of terrorism and violence to achieve their goals.”

To bring this back to Sarah Palin:  no, Sarah Palin is not a feminist just because she has a vagina.  In this most recent presidential election (which thank goodness was won by President Obama) Palin was on the ballot with John McCain, who (amongst other un-feminist decisions) voted against the Violence Against Women Act (twice), opposed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, was rated by the Children’s Defense Fund Action Council as “America’s worst senator for children,” and attempted to weaken the Family and Medical Leave Act.  You might ask why McCain and Ross’ records necessarily reflect poorly on Palin.  She has knowingly positioned herself in alliance with these people, and thus at least partially implies concordance with their views.   Ross is obviously a jerk-off, but Palin nominated him for goodness sakes, and now she is going to have to deal with the decision of whether or not to drop his nomination before the shit really hits the fan.  Will she try to save herself from another scandal by withdrawing his nomination, or will she follow through with his appointment?  Only time will tell.  One thing I do know for sure.  The next person who in passing casually asks me if Sarah Palin is a feminist will be met solely with a blank stare.  Feminism is about challenging oppression in its various forms.  This is something I have yet to see Sarah Palin participate in.  Her political success may be partially evidence of her benefitting from feminism, but her views and policies are far from feminist material.  Sorry, Ms. Palin, but calling yourself a feminist simply doesn’t cut it.



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