Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

The Palin Factor

No matter what most of this think of this past election and the players involved, it cannot be denied that Sarah Palin has made quite a splash.

Even though I'm not a Palin fan politically, I have to confess I am quite captivated by her. The area of feminism is quite complicated, therefore not black and white. I think it's important that as a website dedicated to empowering women, we do our best to unpack the Palin factor, and develop an objective opinion on what she really has brought to this past election.

The women who spoke at the Women's Leadership Conference have given some excellent food for thought.

Wendy

http://www.newsweek.com/id/163031#?l=1842745782&t=1844687333

Comments

JMKELLAM's picture

Palin

Thanks for the clips, Wendy. The biggest effect of Palin is that her candidacy has highlighted America's sexism. We have been so preoccupied by her gender (her looks, her mothering skills, how Biden will look debating a woman) that we have not looked at her qualifications.

Feminism will win and all of our goals will be accomplished when a candidate's gender never comes up in conversation, when researches don't even think about comparing male wages verse women wages, and when the term "glass ceiling" refers only to a skylight.

With hope,

Jenna Kellam

Dave Alexander's picture

Feminine or Masculine Spirit?

Hello Wendy,

Political positions notwithstanding, Palin is having an affect on this country that is important. I am with you that we should unpack the Palin Factor. Thank you for your post, your sense of import, and the Newsweek link.

What I very much appreciate about Palin is that she has made glaringly obvious that “female” is not synonymous with liberal, democrat, environmentalist, or human rights advocate. She has come forward with an ultra-conservative view that challenges our more passive thinking about women. I am here on PulseWire because I believe that the Voice of the Feminine Spirit must equally inform decision-making, bar none. But, I do not believe that feminine voice can only come from women. There are many men who embody the feminine spirit. Palin, especially when compared with Obama, is revealing over and over again at a national level that men are not the sole messengers of the masculine spirit any more than women are the sole messengers of the feminine spirit. Indeed, she is challenging us to look at our ideas about feminine and masculine.

For the feminine voice to truly inform all decision-making, we must recognize and honor it whenever and from whomever it comes. We cannot quietly assume that because a woman said it, it represents the feminine voice; we cannot quietly assume that because a man said it; that it represents the masculine voice. These are illusions. I think Palin is doing a magnificent job of reminding us of this illusion and, in a way, demanding that we take a closer look at our beliefs, behaviors, and generalizations.

What saddens me is that I believe the Republican Party is taking advantage of her in a way that she would find objectionable if she could see the truth of it. She is woefully unprepared for the position of vice president, and they know it. I feel confidant that they chose her more for her gender than her qualifications, and this saddens me. The sadness comes both for her as a person, and that we continue to have a top-tier of government officials with invisible agendas. It greatly concerns me that the presidential office contains “placeholders” while the life-impacting political and corporate decisions are effectively hidden from public vote or scrutiny. I would say that both McCain and Palin would make great placeholders, garnering lots of public attention while the power brokers do their get-richer-thing behind the scenes. A very sad situation if it happens.

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Wendy's picture

Thoughtful Post

Dave,

I appreciate your thoughtful post! I agree with you about Palin challenging our view of feminism. It's great how she doesn't fit into the traditional box. But what is true is true, she is clearly not prepared to be VP, I honestly think she shouldn't have accepted the gig.

On the other side, I think she has been demonized by the media. Even though I loathe her stance on most issues, I find myself having a lot of empathy for her.

In Friendship,

Wendy

louana's picture

Palin ready for such a job?

Wendy and Dave,
While I want to see all goodness in all people I also want to see intelligence and thoughtful understanding in the leaders of the world. In that sense the choice of Sara Palin transcends feminism, traditional roles, and woman's voice because she doesn't represent anything that comes close to knowledge of the larger picture and the intellectual capacity for searching out larger truths. This is the part that galls me the most about her choice. I don't think the media has treated her unfairly. As one reporter said, "We must dig into her history and know who she is if she is going to be the second in command." I agree. We must know who we are being asked to vote for and the media has the rightful job of helping us with that information.
Louana

Dave Alexander's picture

Missing Depth

Hello Louana,

I concur completely. Many years ago I met a woman who my boss warned me was an empty politician. I like to form my own opinions, so I agreed to have lunch with her. It was among the most amazing lunches I had ever had; we spoke about so many things. Her breadth of knowledge was enormous and had me hungry for a second lunch and deeper conversation. The second lunch happened, but the conversation did not. She could not go deeply on any topic, ANY! I had never experienced such a thing. It was like she could assimilate published breadth, but could not get her heart or soul involved in embracing, understanding, experiencing, or forming her own opinions on literally anything. It creeped me out completely. In a sense my supervisor was right, she was an empty politician.

Two years later, I met a man with a similar dysfunction and coping mechanism -- very broad and charismatic with nothing going on behind the scene. This man was my supervisor and we both wanted very much to "get along" better. He agreed to meet with me, one on one, for as long as it took for me to have faith in him as a leader. Eight hours later, a whole work day, I left the room completely creeped out again. In a whole day I could not find one core value on which he would stand in his personal truth. Apparently there was no personal truth. Not his family, not honesty, not integrity, not kindness, nothing! My mind still reels a bit.

Perhaps Palin is more like this any of us want to believe.

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

louana's picture

Tonight will tell

Dave,
Some good thoughts and observations. So sad to think thee are actually people in position of leadership who missed the boat on personal integrity.

Waiting for the results :)
Louana

I feel as though I've been holding my breath for far too many years waiting for a leader with a global and human perspective on political positions. WOW! Of course there is work to be done. but now I don't have to wonder if good action will happen, it's a simple matter of the right time for all of us to act and have our good work mean something!
Louana

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative