CFP: The Palin Factor

An Edited Collection by Demeter Press

The Palin Factor:
Political Mothers and Public Motherhood in the 21st Century

Please see link for more informaiton

Editors: Andrea O’Reilly and Deirdre M. Condit

The nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican party VicePresidential nominee in the 2008 U.S. president election has initiated a public conversation about the meaning and depiction of Sarah Palin and her role as a publicly elected, working “hockey mom.”

Despite Palin’s active embrace of her “hockey mom” image, her public motherhood remains enigmatic. The election of women to public office has been a central goal of the women’s movement precisely because the voices and experiences of women and mothers have been, from the outset of our democracies, simply absent. Whether or not Sarah Palin continues in national public life following the 2008 election, she is a breakthrough figure for public women who mother small children. Moreover, Palin’s national candidacy offers an opportunity for public and academic discourse about what it means to be an elected, and thus public, representative of other women and wage earning
mothers. This edited collection seeks to inaugurate a timely, interdisciplinary, theoretical and critical discussion of the Palin phenomenon as an iconic representation of public motherhood. Topics include but are not limited to:

Media representations, interpretations or responses to Palin’s motherhood; Public discourse on Palin balancing her work as Governor or Vice Presidential candidate and being a mother; Her role as a public mother of a child with disabilities; The impact of her as a wage working mother on voters; Her status as a policy making mother on disability policy; Palin as an icon for conservative, Christian-identified non-wage working mothers; The evident conflict between Palin’s self-identification as a Christian Conservative, whose values include “traditional gender roles,” and the juxtaposition of her evident work and family life style; The sexualization of Palin among white, conservative, working men and its impact on their discourses about mothers and motherhood; Her transformational role as the “head of the family,” and her husband’s public transformation as the “little man” at home; Discussions of public or party rhetoric about “working mothers”; The conflicting responses among liberal women’s groups concerning Palin’s status as a working-mother feminist; The commodification of the “hockey” mom identity in politics; Palin’s public/private mothering conflicts; Public displays and deployment of the motherhood trope; Racialized responses to Palin’s mothering style and messages;
Public life and the possibilities of “intensive mothering”; Palin and political motherhood and the politics of Motherhood; The transparency of public mothering; in the Palin case; Feminist discourse on
Palin; Sexism, Mother Blame in Politics; Mothers in Politics/Mothers as Politicians; Public representation of and responses to Palin as the mother of a teen mom; Political tokenism and mothers; Sexuality, motherhood and politics; Gendered responses to Palin as mother and as politician; Progressive versus conservative positioning of mother politicians; The Republican deployment, use and misuses of Palin (Palin as a sacrificial lamb); Palin and Mothers’ Rights;
(Mis) readings of Palin as Pro-Mother; Palin and the (new?) conservative/religious right feminism; Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

Please submit a 250 word abstract and 50 word bio February 1, 2009 to
(Accepted chapters (of 15-18 pages in length) due July 1 2009)

Brison on Palin

Feminist philosopher Susan Brison on Sarah Palin:

Palin’s candidacy puts an ironic twist on the 80s slogan about Ginger Rogers being able to do everything Fred Astaire could do and then some. Sure, Palin could, as his second-in-command or–gasp!–his replacement, do everything McCain could do: continue Bush’s devastating domestic fiscal and social policies, further erode our global economic, political, and moral standing, pack the Supreme Court with justices who would devastate our individual rights–and then some: drill in ANWR, make rape victims pay for their own rape kits and deny them emergency contraception, prohibit schools from teaching sex education, but make them teach creationism. There’s no doubt Palin could take us where McCain wants us to go, but do women really want to go there–backwards, in high heels?

For more, go here. (Thanks to the FEAST list for this one!)

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!

Palin and Planned Parenthood: Big Success!

H/T to Rogue Rebel Ridiculous for letting me know what a big success the Palin/Planned Parenthood Donation Campaign has been. According to the New York Times,

So far, the scheme seems to be getting a strong response. As of Friday, Planned Parenthood had taken in $802,678 in donations from 31,313 people, said a spokesman for the organization, Tait Sye. More than two-thirds of the individuals are first-time donors to Planned Parenthood, Mr. Sye said, and money came in from all 50 states.

So, congratulations to all of you who have helped make this such a success!

White Privilege and the Election

From Tim Wise at Buzzflash (Thanks Rebecca):

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

For more, go here.

And I might also add, white privilege means your pastor can say nutty things (like affirming a belief in witchcraft, in your presence, on camera, while blessing you) without it running round the clock on the news.

Help Sarah Palin support Planned Parenthood!

Sort of. Actually, not really at all. But a very fun idea, passed on by Den Bro in comments and Andrew in an email.

Instead of (in addition to?) us all complaining about how horrible she
is, let’s all make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin’s
name for reminding us of the importance of protecting our rights for
birth control, women’s health and reproductive choice. This is a
brilliant idea for $10, or even $5.

And here’s the good part: when you make a donation to PP in her name,
they’ll send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in
her honor. Use this link.

You’ll need to fill in the address to let Planned Parenthood know
where to send the “in Sarah Palin’s honor” card. I suggest you use the
address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:

McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street
1st Floor
Arlington , VA 22202

PS: make sure you use that link above or choose the pulldown of
Donate–Honorary or Memorial Donations, not the regular “Donate

Testimony, Credibility, Manipulation?

Over the last many years, we’ve seen Rovian political tactics in action: a key one of these has been to release a readily discredited anti-Republican bit of ‘evidence’, let the media get hold of it publicly, then discredit it. We may be starting to see this in action with the “list of books Palin banned“. The list is wholly fictitious (some of the books had not even been published when Palin was supposedly banning them), and in fact Palin never succeeded in banning any books. Why do I think there’s something Rovian going on? Well, a few days ago, someone sent me this Eve Ensler article, which I decided not to post as I’m trying to not talk about Palin all the time. Then a couple days later, someone sent me another version they’d received which had the list of banned books as a part of it. Rovian manipulation, trying to get us leftists touting a false list of banned books? Or just someone over-reaching in their enthusiasm to bash Palin? Either way, it’s important not to fall for it, since anyone citing that list will seriously undermine their own credibility.