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Category: Feminism, Politics

Moose, Mousse, and Spalinism

| October 31, 2008

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Robin Morgan

Here, Robin Morgan takes aim at a few “feminists” who have taken to the blogways lately to support John McCain and Sarah Palin. Their reasoning is flawed, says Morgan, to say the least.

You might have noticed a recent media burp—gassy, though blissfully short—about a handful of faux “feminists” backing the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket. I won’t name these women out of concern that feeding their misplaced sense of self-importance may risk them bursting into shriveled balloon ribbons of overextended ego.  If you’re addicted to surreal humor you can find such SP supporters (I call them Spalinists) via Google—if you lack an excuse to put off, say, cleaning the garbage pail, and if you can manage it without bladder-challenging fits of hilarity at the cognitive dissonance invoked by juxtaposing words like “feminism” and “Palin.”

But if any actual feminists are concerned about the effect on Women’s Movement institutions and energy of this clutch of “formers” (a former chapter official of a national feminist organization, a former editor of a feminist publication, former Democratic funders, former Hillary supporters, and so forth), let me reassure you. The “trust date” had already long expired on these women, who’d been voted off feminist leadership posts, or fired, or quietly asked to resign. Some are confessed consultants to the campaign whose candidates they now—surprise!—endorse. I never imagined I’d see a “feminist” mercenary. But then I never heard of rats climbing onto a sinking ship, either.

Spalinists traipse around with their candidate, grinning and applauding her, sometimes getting paraded out to take a bow at a rally. They sound off about how she’s the target of sexism. (She is. D’uh. But being a victim of misogyny does not necessarily a feminist make—or we’d never have had Liddy Dole. Or Britney Spears.)

Spalinists claim they support the GOP ticket (while conveniently ignoring McCain) because: A) Palin is secretly brilliant, B) she is a feminist who only differs with the Women’s Movement in opposing abortion; C) us “elitist” Women’s Movement types who supported HRC but disavow SP are “anti-working-class women,” and—here it comes—D) Spalinists want to “teach the Democratic Party not to take women for granted.”

Oh, as Joe the senator says, lord love ya.

A) Anyone who hazards arguing that Palin is brilliant is herselfmorethana few watts short of a bulb. Palin is calculating (you betcha’!), or McCain wouldn’t be hemorrhaging from her stab-him-when-he’s-down wounds as she hypes her 2012 campaign before his is formally pronounced dead. But any real intelligence remotely attached to Palin gleams in Tina Fey’s eye.
B) If you still need a list of all the feminist agenda items (in addition to abortion rights) supported by the vast majority of U.S. women—but opposed by Palin—see When Sisterhood Is Suicide, or check Palin’s positions vs. the to-do list on any honestly feminist website: Feminist.com, Feministing.com, NOW.org, Feminist.org, Vday.org, EqualityNow.
C) Don’t you love it when wealthy nouveau-Republican women (confusing moose with mousse?) know best what working-class women need and want—better than working-class women who are actually feminist activists? Oh please.
D) If Spalinist women wanted to waste our hard-won suffrage, and truly cared about punishing the Dems for not taking women seriously enough, why didn’t they endorse the Green Party ticket: two women, both people of color (Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente), whose candidacies, though symbolic, at least share a pro-feminist platform? (See “The Other Nominees,” by Nida Khan, on the Women’s Media Center site.) If you claim you want to drive a party toward feminism, strategically you’d pressure from the left, not the right. But “teaching the Democratic leadership a lesson” brings us to the heart of it: Since when do feminists sacrifice women’s basic survival needs in order to impress men?

Still, here’s the good news. Their 15 minutes of infamy now over, even Spalinists must know they’ve blown whatever wobbly “former” creds they might’ve once had in the Women’s Movement. Their only hope lies in becoming guests on some future tacky talk show hosted by Palin—on Fox News, no doubt.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC. WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.

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