Gov. Sarah Palin

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?

Toys for Boys

I know someone whose SISTER thought that she was Percy the train. I know several little girls who are wild about Thomas. And the Thomas people know this– that’s why they actually have lots of trains with girls’ names. So WHY, WHY call them “toys for boys”? I mean, it doesn’t even make good economic sense, since it may make people less likely buy them for their girls. And then who’s gonna buy Rosie or the other girl trains? (Other than the “we don’t care about your gender stereotypes” market, which sadly isn’t huge.)

A Clinton Supporter Endorses Obama

Susie Tompkins Buell writes:

Over the past two months I have become the poster-child, in the press, for the so-called Hillary holdouts; Hillary Clinton supporters who were angry and frustrated with the way she was treated in the primary and post-primary and weren’t ready for unity….
The turning point for me was the Democratic Convention in Denver this week. I saw how Hillary was treated by the Obama campaign and his supporters and I saw how President Clinton was greeted as a hero in our party and our country….
I know that Hillary’s most important work is yet to come and I know with a President Obama, her dream of Universal Health Care for all Americans will come true. Senator Obama has done the right thing; he has honored her and her policies in the way they deserve to be honored. Do I wish she were at least Vice-President? Absolutely, but that’s water under the bridge. We live in dark times and we need the kind of leadership that can take on our problems head-on and I know Senators Obama and Biden will do just that. So I hope everyone will join me and Hillary in saying, NO WAY, NO HOW, NO MCCAIN.

She has founded an organisation which is now devoted to fighting media misogyny, Women Count. Hurrah!

For more of Buell’s statement, go here