Women voters just like hating women

Time magazine has figured out that women don’t all love Sarah Palin. But instead of asking women who oppose her for their reasons, their reporter reaches back into her high school memories of how much females love to hate. Apparently it’s all about her prettiness, her confidence and our fear of embarrassment. Issues? Genuine disagreements? Worries about competence? What are those? Ooh, let’s talk skinny jeans (which somehow get a mention in the final paragraph). One the most vapid, shallow, and insulting things I’ve read in some time. It ends, by the way, by insinuating that the reason we keep getting male leaders is that women hate each other so much. Could it possibly be because the belittling of women’s intellects is so socially acceptable that Time publishes dreck like this without a second thought? Nah.

Thanks, NFAH, for passing this on and starting my day with a big jolt of annoyance!

14 thoughts on “Women voters just like hating women

  1. As a liberal, I’m embarrassed by Palin’s selection as a VP candidate, and deeply frightened by the prospect of her actually becoming the VP. However, as a male I’m continually struck by how much more vitriolic and personalized the opposition to Palin is from females than from males. I make no claim to generalization based on my own personal experience, but would note the graphic on the screen of the CNN broadcast of the VP debate: women appear to have been generally more responsive — both positively and negatively — to Palin than men were.

    My tentative personal view is that liberal women are perhaps regarding Palin more exclusively in terms of what can be inferred about her stance towards reproductive rights issues than men are.

  2. ACM,

    I think a lot of women are insulted by the thought that she would give us what we want solely by being female. So some of the anger is about those who chose her and the very low opinion they clearly have of women’s reasoning abilities.

    But also, it makes sense that there might be a bit more anger among women about e.g. making women pay for rape kits. Women are after all more likely to be raped. (Not that men can’t and don’t get angry about this, just that it wouldn’t be surprising if more women got angrier about it.)

    NFAH– thanks for sending it, despite the pain.

  3. 1. Feministing pointed out this line, stated apparently without irony*:
    “No matter how seemingly benign, every attribute becomes an affront: the hair, the voice, the husband, the moose-shooting, the glasses, the big family, the making rape victims pay for their own rape test kits.” Um, yeah. Benign.

    2. Couldn’t we also explain the apparent “extreme hatred” in terms of high school women being frustrated, early on, that women who use their looks, are confident without reason (because they don’t have evidence, argumentation etc) are embarrassing to women who aren’t trying to use gender schemas to get ahead?


    *I’m still holding out hope that this was an unskilled attempt at irony, like the recent Roger Ebert evolution fiasco.

  4. Frankly, the only nice thing I have to say about Palin is about her looks. After the debate, both my mother and I agreed that her highlights were quite attractive.

    Why am I so angry? Well, yeah, it’s the reproductive issues and the f’ing rape kits. It’s the fact that McCain and his team think I’m stupid enough to vote for anything with ovaries. And it’s the idea that there is a chance that Republican will take the White House again after eight years of unmitigated stupidity and downright wickedness.

  5. Its very sad to see another woman writing such an article. Perhaps she doesn’t realize that her article reduces women to petty creatures who have no intellectual thoughts or ideas. It reduces women to a 17th century Victorian. Instead of women having thoughts such as: “I don’t like Palin for her political views” or “I don’t like Palin because she doesn’t know any American political history, such as Supreme Court cases”; women are having thoughts such as “I don’t like Palin because she is too pretty!”.

  6. “Women are weapons-grade haters.” I have at least two issues with this assumption that women hate women because we’re just “naturally” jealous of other women. (1) Historically, the societal disapproval of close ties between women is a very recent thing. It emerged with the development of matrimania in the late 1800s. Before that women had there own sphere and women’s friendships weren’t stigmatized or labeled unhealthy (and a lot of friendships had at least sexual overtones). With the emphasis on marriage, women were raised to be jealous of other women because they might “steal away” a (potential) husband. So by simply blaming the woman, this societal context is completely ignored (and thus reinforced). (2) And then there is the assumption that there is somehow something wrong with our reaction! Why the heck are we not allowed to hate Palin? She stands for everything that is working against women: From disrespect about our violations and bodies, to undermining our right to be treated like an equal. There is something very disturbing about Palin being picked as a VP candidate not only because of her politics. It seems to suggest that women can only advance in this society if they are inexperienced but pretty. Hard-working and intelligent doesn’t cut it. She is an insult to what feminists stand for and what we’ve fought for. And we’re not allowed to be angry about that? And, yes, that anger might be a bit stronger because she is a woman. Because I just don’t get it that a woman can be so stupid and undermine her own rights. It’s like putting on your own prison chains.

    (I did like the first couple of sentences… Maybe many of the women who initially were excited about Palin are walking up to reality and realize just who she is and what she stand for…)

  7. i reluctantly accepted an invitation to a “palin party.” i was reluctant because in my experience people really do love to attack the candidates personally, pretend everything they say is stupid and look for personal and intellectual fault where there is really a difference of values and opinion. both males and females really do seem to take this stuff personally and and their criticisms are often not aimed at imagined weakness in argument rather than real ones. what the times author is concluding is ridiculous but dont’ we all have to chill out a little? let’s all take a step back and instead of calling the country stupid, lets figure out why the republicans do so well if their ideas are so bad. (is it really all voter fruad?) the party comments were as i expected them to be. made by women these comments will be called catty; that is sexism. but still, more integrity is required of all.

  8. I feel about Palin the way I feel about anyone, male or female, who is a totally unethical liar, intent on grasping power at all cost – including throwing mentors under the bus when their usefulness is past, abusing power, accepting funds that should not be theirs and using their own children to further their own gains – regardless of the consequences. And sadly we know what some of those consequences can be….

  9. dk, I agree with you that we should seriously consider why the republican ideas can attract voters and not just dismiss their proponents as stupid. I’d be surprised if many people on this blog wouldn’t agree.

    I think one of the most plausible ideas I’ve heard is that a lot of people are not fond of the unstructured, ‘morality is just what you make of it’ approached, that gets attributed to democrats. This suggests the liberal element has conceded moral discourse to the conservatives, and I think part (maybe a large part) of Obama’s appeal is that he is trying to restore a moral discourse that reflects democratic values. JFK, of course, famously was seen in a similar way.

  10. I think Jonathan Haidt’s work on the divergent moral psychologies of liberals and conservatives is a useful check on liberals’ proclivity for dismissing conservatives’ outlook as merely stupid or ignorant. Don’t get me wrong: as someone currently residing in a region dominated by precisely the demographic the selection of Palin was intended to galvanize (rural white evangelicals), I can daily attest to a dismaying abundance of stupidity and ignorance at work, but this hardly exhausts the sources of their outlook, and Haidt’s work is, I think, helpful in illuminating liberals’ difficulty in fully appreciating their differences with conservatives. (Anyone, by the way, versed in Nietzsche will find the thrust of Haidt’s work quite familiar.)

    If anyone’s interested:


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