Ok, this is a response to J's post, which itself was a commentary to Emily Bazelon's article on Slate.
Here's the question. Do I, by virtue of having girly bits, feel some kinship with Sarah Palin? Do I, deep down inside, secretly want her to win (or at least do well) because she's one of us? Am I conflicted by the fact that I don't share a single personal value with this candidate, but want to vote for a woman? Am I anti-feminist if I don't applaud her ascent to power? Do I feel sorry for her because she isn't doing well?
Oh it's not that I don't want to see a woman succeed. It's just that I don't believe in a vagina network. My version of feminism isn't that women are pulling for one another, working as a group to overcome. Save the kum-ba-ya crap for church camp. Hey! I didn't contribute one of those 18 million cracks in Hillary's glass ceiling. IMO, that's not the purpose of feminism. The objective of feminism is to create a world where what's inside my pants ceases to matter unless I am actually using it at the time. This means that no woman should get a free pass to the front of the line. That means that if a woman gets to the highest level in her field, they shouldn't move the goalposts so she can, you know, serve as a role model. When everyone is allowed access to the same opportunities, how far we go is an individual endeavor. I'm not a feminist, per se. I just believe in equal opportunity.
Call me cold. Call me an anti-feminist. (You'd be dead wrong, but give it a go anyway.) I don't believe in double standards. There is one standard. If you are a woman and want to enter a traditionally male field, don't expect a paradigm shift to accommodate you. First woman entering the field? Little head's up for you. You are probably going to suck at it. You are probably going to be put down, second guessed, and judged more harshly than they'd ever judge one of their own. Is it worth it to you?
Ask Hillary Clinton that one. I think she'd say yes.
Maybe I'm insufficiently sentimental, but I have, without even knowing or understanding it, approached my entire life based on the idea that my gender doesn't limit me, excuse me, or condemn me. The only thing that truly limits me is me. I have met exceedingly few obstacles in my life that couldn't be driven over, around, or a detour found. Oh, I have experienced sexism. I just haven't allowed it to make a victim of me. I consider myself successful. Not a blazing light in the wilderness, but a little more than a bic lighter. A sea of bic lighters might make it easier to see, but it isn't the same as being the blazing light.
I know I'm going to hear it. The old "you're harder on women than other minorities."
Not really. Because I think the same should be true of all irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, place of birth, yadda, yadda, yadda. I didn't grow up in this "let's give all the kids a trophy so they feel good" era. I grew up where accomlishment and recognition were earned. And not everybody made it. Sometimes I failed. Sometimes I succeeded.
I do not want to be judged by a woman's standard in a man's world. I don't want special accommodation. I want to know when I make it that I made it on my own merits. If I had to work harder, my accomplishment is all the more satisfying. And I don't mind that other women have to work as hard. Intelligence, competence, ambition, hard work, and a little luck. You have to have drive to achieve. You have to want it and never say die.
I didn't buy into Clinton's "I'm doing this for Chelsea" bologna, and I don't feel sorry for Sarah Palin because she bit off more than she could chew. I remember once I found myself in the finals at a summer swim meet. THE FINALS. Ok, so I was in the far outside lane indicating that I made the finals by the skin of my teeth, but there I was. And I swam my heart out. And when I finished and looked up, everyone else was already done. More than one girl was already out of the pool. I came in dead last. Embarrassingly last. Slinking out of the pool and hoping no one asks my name last.
Welcome to my world, Sarah Palin. Sometimes the competition is vastly superior to you. And you have to learn to be okay with that. And not because you are a woman, but because that's how it is. America is a tough town. You can believe in yourself all you want, but sometimes you just come up lacking.
Sarah Palin isn't getting my vote...not because I don't want to see women succeed. She won't get my vote because she took an end run around to the front of the line. She didn't earn it. Ok, so she's also a neanderthal in her thinking and grossly unsuited and unqualified for the job. That's just gravy.