Gov. Palin, McCain’s choice for running mate, is a woman of many accomplishments. Some of them, such as her being a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and a hunter, along with her winning “Miss Congeniality” in a “Miss Alaska” beauty contest, are ones that one might see as negative. And, of course, she has the conservative agenda that gets called “pro-life” which McCain advocates. Even all taken together, they do not amount to adequate qualifications for the job, Democratic commentators are claiming. Nonetheless, she looks to be very bright, assertive and an excellent debater.
Among the questions her candidacy raises are some that do not bear directly on her ability to take over the presidency of the US, should McCain win but not fill out his term. One we can think about here is what will be its impact on discourse about professional female politicians in the United States. Having seen the outrageous misogyny that Hillary Clinton faced, and that many, many people deny, I think the discourse about Palin may be revealing. Some random observations/questions:
- Does anyone have any ideas about what to predict regarding the appearance of sexism in the press? Of course, we can expect conservative commentators not to go after her with such glee, can’t we?
- I’m not expecting all those guys in the press, along with Maureen Dowd and some other women, will necessarily indulge themselves. In fact, I’m betting that they’ll have seen that the country has had a lesson in what is sexist and, despite the wide-spread denials by the public, people are ready to play “gotcha” this time around. This view might be wildly optimistic.
- Nonetheless, understanding what is sexist really involves confronting such things as gender schemas and implicit associations. How much failure to understand them will show up this time?
- Was she chosen in significant part because she’s an attractive young woman? If so, is it different from all the ways in which being an attractive young man have gotten men all sort of places?
- Finally, What Do You Think?